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Posted by on Jan 10, 2012 | 10 comments

Brazil’s Dusty Azure: Day 2 (Scene 4)

Some sights in Rio de Janeiro have to be seen in the correct perspective or time of the year.  Even though some of them are world famous.

After spending the day overdosing with magnificent views of the city (from the top of Sugarloaf and Corcovado), we continued our tour of some other famous, must see places.

There was a problem. They were nothing like I pictured them inside my head.

Case 1

I am going to let you see what I mean.  For example, take a look at the following two photos.  What do you see?

What is this famous site?


Take a better look


I see a dilapidated building.  Tons of rubber lay inside and it is in the desperate need of a new coat of paint.  Oh, and its surrounding are not necessarily pleasant.

But here comes the big surprise.  This is the famous Maracana Stadium!!! Yes, this is the place thousands have consecrated as the temple of soccer.  The stadium where World Cups and other crucial matches have been played.

So, where was all this glory when I visited?  First, the stadium is going thru an intensive remodelation phase in preparation for the next World Cup. Second, I didn’t see the inside. Then, an empty stadium is not the same as a stadium full of excited fans.  That is why I mentioned the perspective fact.  A place like this cannot be enjoyed in the incorrect setting. Because you will not feel its real

At least, my husband can say he saw the Maracana Stadium.

Case 2

I want to show you another let down sight (at least for me).  This time I am referring to the Sambodromo.  I thought the Sambodromo was a large stadium like building.  Men, I was wrong.  In reality, it consists of a series of bleachers.  That is it.  I am not kidding.  In front of the bleachers there is a narrow street and across them there are some abandoned and old buildings.  Take a look.



Sambodromo Seats


Now, during Carnaval this is where everybody wants to be.  Remember that narrow street I mentioned?  That is where all the samba schools gather and organize before starting theirs parades thru the city.  If you want to score a seat in one of the bleachers, be prepared to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars.

I tried to imagine how different is this place when is full of people cheering for its favorite samba schools.  I imagine the screams, the laughs, the music, the heat and the ambient.  Wow, that is a scenario completely different than the one I saw.

Here is how the Sambodromo looks on all of its glory.

Sambodromo during Carnaval (from Wikipedia)


In conclusion, it is not worth to see some sights, even though they are famous, in the incorrect setting.  Time can be used better in other experiences.


Now, changing the somber tone, there was a sight I enjoyed visiting.  I am referring to the Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro.  I feel this is an original piece of architecture.

It was built from 1964 to 1979. It has a conical shape and has room for 20,000 people (standing). The interior contain four interesting pieces of stained glass (ceiling to floor). It is located close to downtown (in case you want to take a look).

Rio de Janeiro Cathedral


Another view of the cathedral


Inside the catedral


Cathedral's Roof


Catedral reflected in one of downtown's glass buildings


The irony is that I liked far better this “obscure” sight of Rio de Janeiro.

Have you visited a place in the incorrect setting or at the incorrect time of the year? Let me know in the comments section below.


  1. What a fresh take on a travel article, Ruth. You’re totally right—at the “wrong” time of year some places seem totally mundane. I love the cathedral though. I missed it when I was in Rio but it is gorgeous!
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