Vista Chinesa

Chinese View is an excellent look off in the Tijuca Forest. It is called Vista Chinesa (portuguese for Chinese View) because in the 1900’s when Chinese immigrants came to Brazil to start tea growing, they developed this road and view area in the Tijuca Forest between the Botanical Garden and Boa Vista. They put a Pagoda( temple) so visitors could appreciate and contemplate this amazing view. The Pagoda that is there today has stone dragon heads with water spouts and is similar to the Pagoda that was there in 1903. We really enjoyed the look off and climbing on old stairs and paths in the Tijuca Forest.

Just for interest: Tijuca Forest is a mountainous hand-planted rainforest. It is the world’s largest urban forest, covering  32 km². After all the original forest had been destroyed to make way for coffee farms, Tijuca was replanted in the second half of the 19th century in a successful effort to protect Rio’s water supply.

On our way to Vista Chinesa
On our way to Vista Chinesa



We’re back from our weekend in Rio! It was WONDERFUL!! Sightseeing, great food, beach time and of course shopping…lots of shopping! We are back earlier than later today because David works nights, the first of a week of 12-8’s, and he needs to have some sleep before he goes in. It was just so great to get to Rio, I love that city…so much fun!

On of our sight seeing adventures…

Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Penha sits high on a cliff in a Favela in Rio. You see it when you fly in to Rio airport. We see it every time we go to Rio. David ALWAYS comments he wants to go there, It’s on his Brazil bucket list!

This is where we went on Friday!

Penha in the distance
Penha in the distance

Huge Favela in the background
Huge Favela in the background

Such a HUGE city!
Such a HUGE city!

300 + steps to the top…it was worth it…AMAZING view!

Nossa Senhora de Aparecida Holiday

Today is the Nossa Senhora de Aparecida (Our Lady of Aparecida also known as our Lady who appeared) Holiday in Brazil.

As you know Brazil is the largest Roman Catholic Country in the World. There is an account as to how this holiday came in to being. What makes this really cool is that it all happened only about an hour drive from where we live in Brazil in a city known as Aparecida.


This is how the story goes according to sources…

In October of 1717, Dom Pedro de Almedida, Count of Assumar, was on his way to the state of Minas Gerais from Sao Paulo. He would have to pass by Guarantinqueta, a small city in the Paraiba river valley. The people of Guarantinqueta decided to hold a great feast to honor the Count, and a lot of fish would be needed.  Among the fishermen were three men who always prayed to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception — Domingos Garcia, Joco Alves, and Felipe Pedroso. Before going out to fish, they asked God to help then in this difficult task, to find enough fish at this time when no fish were available. Felipe knelt and prayed, along with his companions, “Mother of God and our Mother, we need to find fish!” After many hours of catching nothing, the fishermen were very depressed. Joco cast his net once more near the Port of Itaguagu, but instead of fish, he hauled in the body of a statue. The three cast their net again, and brought up the statue’s head. After cleaning the statue they found that it was Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Naming their find Our Lady Aparecida, they wrapped it in cloth and continued to fish; now their nets were full. They very carefully washed the statue and saw that it was Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. They wrapped her in some cloths and continued to fish. This was the first miracle of Our Lady of Aparecida. Felipe Pedroso, partner of Joao Alves, took the statue to his house and started the veneration of Our Lady with his family and neighbours. In 1732, he moved to Porto Itaguassu and took the statue to its first shrine, which was built by his son Atanasio. Travelers spread out the fame of Our Lady Aparecida and the pilgrims started to come. The people decided to build a bigger church in the top of a hill near Porto Itaguassu to shelter the statue. The church was opened in 1745 when the statue was brought in from its former site and the village of Aparecida was born, as a district of Guaratingueta.

The city of Aparecida is yearly visited by more than 5 million pilgrims. Our Lady Aparecida is in the heart of every Brazilian. Many people are named Aparecida or Aparecido, alone or combined with Maria, Jose and other names. The name is also part of the Brazilian colloquial vocabulary, as an exclamation of surprise.

Well I am not Catholic, and not a worshiper of Our Lady Aparecida. I am a Christian ( a Christ- follower). I do however, find this interesting because it is a National Holiday in Brazil and so much a part of Brazilian culture. And just because we only live an hour from the area, we decided to go and get some pictures of this very important town in Brazilian culture. ( Actually if you remember, I first saw this city on our first trip to Sao Paulo to pick up James and said I would like to go back)

Aparecida is a Brazilian city in the state of Sao Paulo. It is located in the fertile valley of the River Pariba do Sol. It is home to and named after the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida, the patron saint of Brazil, declared so by Pope Pius XI in 1929. Pope Benedict XVI delivered a speech here in May, 2007. Aparecida depends exclusively on tourism generated by the devotees of the statue of the Virgin, and Aparecida receives more than 7 million tourists a year making it the most popular religious pilgrimage site in Latin America.

Here are some pics from our visit…

Happy Nossa Senhora de Aparecida Holiday! Actually, I am just happy it is a holiday so David is off work because this morning we are off to Rio to catch a flight to Salvador, Bahia for the weekend! Stay tuned for details about our weekend!

10 Days To Show James The Place We Call HOME in Brazil: DAY 6

TODAYS HIGHLIGHTS: THE FAMOUS SIGHTS OF RIO…Cinelândia, Lapa, Centro and the Waterfront and all the places down under…

well from the METRO I mean. We took the METRO to get some of these places because it is so much easier than taking the car. The Rio subway is pretty cool and James commented he thinks it is one of the nicest he’s been in, and he’s been in a few.

Cinelândia…The idea of ​​turning the new square, surrounded by buildings of the National Library, Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, the Town Hall (Palacio Pedro Ernesto), the former Supreme Court, Monroe Palace and the Municipal Theater in a Brazilian version of Times Square came from businessman Francisco Serrador, a Spanish settled in Brazil and owner of casinos, cinemas, theaters and hotels.

Cinelândia… The name became popular from the 30s. Dozens of theaters, nightclubs, bars and restaurants have settled in the region, making it the benchmark for popular entertainment. It was also the scene of some of the most important political events in Brazil’s history.

Lapa, known as the birthplace of bohemian Rio, is also famous for its architecture, beginning with the Carioca Aqueduct, its primary geographical reference. The aqueduct was built to function as aqueduct in the times of Colonial Brazil and, since 1896, serves as a way for the tram that connects the city center to the Hill of Santa Teresa. Lapa is the party district and a great place to go for great food and music! Selaron’s famous stairs is in this part of the city.

Centro is a district of the Central Region of  of Rio de Janeiro. It houses the city’s financial heart. The area is predominantly commercial. It has many historic buildings as well as modern skyscrapers.

We had a lot of fun exploring these areas with James…

After a quick stop for coffee and dessert, we decided to take a different way home, past Barra beach out to Guaratiba beach.

Today was our last day in Rio with James. I know he will miss all the amazing views…especially chasing after a perfect sunset!! Tonight’s sunset was AMAZING!!

* I’ve gotta get to bed because it is so late but I promise to get the previous two days caught up now that we are back in Resende!

Boa Noite!

10 Days To Show James The Place We Call HOME in Brazil: DAY 4

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTS:THE FAMOUS SIGHTS OF RIO … Christ The Redeemer Statue, Sugar Loaf

This morning we were up early and on our way to Rio by 7:15am. We are spending the next 3 days in Rio de Janeiro to show James the famous sights. These are the places that you think of when you think of Brazil…Christ the Redeemer Statue and Sugar Loaf. We only have 3 days, and there is just so much to see in and do in Rio. In case you didn’t already know I love Rio!

It was fun to be in the car with James as we went through the mountain pass, to see his expression. I enjoy watching as people see this for the first time! We just had to stop for a few pics…

When you are in to photography like James is, you know that certain times of the day are better for pictures. It’s so hard to be in all these places at just the “right” time for lighting and see all the things we wanted to. So…First stop was Christ Statue. We decided to do these tours by ourselves this time rather than hire Exotic tours since we might like to spend longer for pictures. This time we did the Trem to Corcovado!

As always, the view and the statue is AMAZING! While we were waiting for the trem down the mountain, we were even fortunate enough to see a cute little monkey waiting for some food!

On our way back to the car, we came across a really cool building. Might have been a hotel in it’s day…a great place for a photo shoot!

Our next stop was the famous Sugar Loaf. We wanted to wait until later in the day so we could take advantage of seeing this amazing view at sunset. Unfortunately we had a HUGE disappointment. As we were going through the line to go up, security asked James to go to the reception area where they took a look at his camera and tripod and said that they didn’t allow “professional gear” such as his and that he wasn’t allowed to take his camera. They thought he was going to take professional pictures to sell! We were so upset, you can’t even imagine how James was feeling…only time in Brazil…Sugar Loaf, a place with an amazing view of Rio…and NO camera! What made it even worse was when we got to the top, we saw a few people with better equipment than James’. No tripods, but better cameras. Because James wanted to capture some sunset views while in Rio, we only spent a short time here so we could chase a sunset!

We were able to get through traffic quick enough and decided to go to Copacabana Fort. There is a nice view of Copacabana beach, a Favela behind it and Sugar Loaf off to the side. We decided we would have a bite to eat and enjoy the sun setting over the beach…

Now off to bed…We’ve got a full day tomorrow!

10 Days To Show James The Place We Call HOME in Brazil: DAY 2

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTS: Meet the “Resende Girls” , Explore Resende Historic District and Eat At A Por Kilo Restaurante.

The “Girls” and I get together most days of the week and go for a walk and explore some area of Resende, and sometimes we go out for lunch. When they heard James was coming they wanted to meet him and thought we could go for a walk to the Historic District to see if there was anything interesting there to photograph, knowing he likes to do that sort of thing. James wasn’t too sure about being the only man with a group of ladies but I told him it would be OK and they really wanted to meet him. David had a Portuguese class and we said we would be back in time for a late lunch date with him.

I have been to the Historic District before and I think the buildings are really interesting. I have never been as far as the cemetery and we decided to go there today too.

James and I met Pam downstairs at 9:20.

and walked to a meeting spot where we caught up to Stacey and Marlene.

The Historic District is not far from where I live but it is mainly up hill so we decided to fore go our walk in the park this morning.

There are a lot of interesting buildings and the view is pretty good in some places but not quite the kind of stuff James goes for when looking for just the right photo. Besides he says a bright sunny, not a cloud in the sky kinda day isn’t always the best for what he likes. BUT,  Something caught his eye a few times and he went off in search of a way to capture it…

This time we went to the cemetery and I found this so interesting…

James & I thought it was interesting to walk through the rows of crypts some very new, some old, some very expensive and some very simple. There were places for in ground burial ( all Finnish people) and some boxes that were only to be used for 20 years…well then what? Hmm? We thought Papa would enjoy walking through a place like this…

We had a fun morning with the girls and then it was time to meet David for lunch. We went to another popular type of restaurant here, a por kilo restuarant. It is buffet and you weigh your plate of food. You only pay for what you are gonna eat. I think it is a great way to do buffet!

After lunch we went for a drive and then David had to go to work. And…like all good Brazilians James & I came home and had an afternoon siesta.

This evening we have been working on projects, James made smoothies for Dinner, and we are gonna watch a movie.

Love spending time with my boy!

The Amazing Buildings of Centro

From Copacabana, it’s pretty easy to hop on the metro and head down to Centro. Actually it is much quicker than taking the car and you don’t have to worry about parking. We drove by here on our Day in Rio tour and the buildings were so amazing that we decided to go back and explore a few.

Central Rio de Janeiro is generally referred to as Centro and incorporates the Santa Teresa area. Centro is an important business district and the actual original spot of the earliest settlement. This is the museum district. Museums, Art Galleries, Opera House, Government and Historical Churches are found in Centro. While David & I aren’t big on spending hours on Museum tours, we loved looking around, and the architecture of these buildings were fabulous!