Petrópolis, also known as the Imperial City, is about an hour and a half bus ride from Rio de Janeiro and is not to be confused with propolis, the throat spray, as I have a tendency to do. I also have a tendency to overreact to the prospect of sitting on a bus for over an hour, but in spite of the steady drive into the mountains, it wasn’t nearly as terrible as I expected.
- Museu Imperial: The summer residence of Emperor Pedro II. The best part of the museum is that to maintain the integrity of the floors, they give you little slippers to put over your shoes to walk around in. The architecture and art is, of course, extremely rich, European, and full of detail. There’s also a delicious restaurant over to the left of the museum entrance, Duetto’s Cafe, that had an amazing chocolate cake (Torta Marquesa).
- Casa de Santos Dumont: Okay, I did not know that in Brazil the going theory is that Alberto Santos-Dumont (namesake of the airport with which I have a, er, tense history) is the inventor of the airplane. If you Google “Who invented the airplane?” vs. “Quem inventou o avião?” you actually get two different results, with the Wright Brothers for the Americans, and Santos-Dumont for the Brazilians. Regardless, the house museum is a neat glimpse into the life of a great inventor who was extremely focused on his research and work. In the tiny house, upstairs, his desk actually doubled as his bed at night.
- Cervejeria Bohemia: Founded in 1853, the Bohemia brewery is still going strong (though it’s now owned by the largest beer company in the world). The brewery is both very large, very old, and very conveniently located near the historic center. The brewery tour is part-guided, part-self-guided and includes tasting, a look into how beers are made, and a variety of hands-on experiences. Really, though, the brewery restaurant was the highlight for me. They had one of the most amazing veggie burgers I ever tasted.
After coming back from Petrópolis (where I saw my first capybara, by the way!), Gustavo and I made plans to spend some time at the beach since, even though I’ve been here for almost two months, I haven’t gone at all, though I have been to a wide variety of cartórios. So earlier today, we went for a run all along Copacabana down to the end of Ipanema because winter in Rio is basically the same as summer in New Jersey. In the process, I got to see Arpoador, which I can finally check off my “must see” list.
It was such a nice, relaxing weekend without any lists or schedules (which are self-imposed, I know). I loved having the chance to spend so much time outside, exploring new places and, most of all, getting way too excited about saguí and capybara. THEY’RE SO CUTE.