Happy 50th Birthday Brasilia!
Brasilia Travel Blog› entry 5 of 45 › view all entries
It seems that lady luck is playing games with me on this trip, first floods in Rio the worst they've seen in 30 years but I met some great people, crappy weather to start in Salvador but I ended up having a great time and meeting more great people and then there was my start to Brasilia...
So I'm standing there in the airport and I hear an English voice 'excuse me were you in this restaurant in Salvador last night?'....and that is how I met my friend Erica, who as it turns out went to school with one of my very top friends Zoe....the world is shrinking....
So then after a brief chat we agree to share a cab and then also split a hotel room (which Erica had already booked) as the youth hostel is full for ALL of April, lucky for me as I was going to just take a cab there as I figured as it was low season it shouldn't be a problem.
Even though I was barely three weeks into my trip the idea of a hotel just sounded like heaven, if a bit extravagent, a decent nights sleep, some thing different and vaguely similar to what I'd usually eat for breakfast all sounded rather appealing.
Where to start with Brasilia? Well apart from it being Brazil's capital it is a pre-designed city that took the Brazilian government 150 years to deicide if it was going to build then only three years to actually build it when they finally made their minds up, it looks like an airplane when viewed from the air and it was designed by the last of the great Modernist Architect's, who at 103 is still going strong and working...as much as I love architecture I don't want to be alive at that age let alone working! Other than it's clean and well seems to work rather well, there are no favelas and it appears to be a model for cities for the future, if slightly pedestrian unfriendly.
On day one we covered a fair bit of ground and went to see the buildings in the area locals refer to as 'the cockpit' which includes the cathedral, national library, museum of modern art, presidents palace, ministry of justice and the senate. Now you'd think that a city that would be celebrating it's 50th birthday would have finished it's rennovation work by the time the big birthday bash rolls round? Nope, the cathedral and presidents palace were still being rennovated and they decided to close the library and museum while the celebrations were on...genius! Whatever plonker planned that I hope to god is kept well away from having anything to do with the Rio Olympic bid otherwise the stadiums will be finished after the event.
That small iritation aside, the outsides of the buildings were pretty spectacular so it wasn't all bad.
Day two saw the start of the celebrations (annoyingly we hadn't known it had all kicked off at midnight with Swatch projecting a Neimeyer inspired clock face onto the dome of the Modern Art Museum) with parades in the mornng as well as free concerts later in the day.
We then headed up to check out the momument to the president who made Brasilia happen, Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, or JK for short (not to be confused with JFK of course), as with most things in Brasilia it was a bit of a trek but as per the previous day it was a worthwhile one.
We managed to time it so that after leaving JK's memorial we made sunset atop the TV tower which gives spectacular panaorama's across the city, my Flickr uploads show the sun going down in varying degress and the various monuments being lit up against the night sky, the cathedral always seeming to be the most prominent.
We hit the hotel for a bit of r'n'r before going out to enjoy the free concerts, street food (mmmmmm chicken kebab's) and cheap booze. The whole thing had kicked off early on, around 6pm, and it seemed all of Brasilia was half cut by the time we ventured out, although can't say as I blame them, your city is only 50 once and when you throw in a city holiday hell I'd party...oh I did, how can I forget? Even though the concerts were all in Portuguese we still enjoyed them, the hip-hop and big beats with the massive drums were particularly impressive but then some Celine Dion-esque wench came on and killed the party and we hit our wall after walking for hours on end, so after all of our talk our a big night think we made it until about 1am - lightweights! I think drinking a tube of canchaca may not have helped my cause either.
Brasilia was just such a great experience, made even better by the fact that I had someone else of a like-minded nature to share the experience with (thanks again Erica) and if you fancy a little trip away from the Gringo trail in Brazil and want to experience a city that is out of this world give it a try, you never know you might just like it.
..."BRASILIA!!!!!!" Love it!