Brasília - As Vanilla as Manila

Well after the Amazon, what could possibly be next?! We went from the real jungle to what turned out to be a concrete jungle - Brasília. The political capital of Brazil, it was founded in the middle of the country in 1960, and houses the parliament, taking the focal point away from Rio and southern Brazil. With Brazil’s current political climate, it feels slightly like they've bundled a huge amount of corruption in one place. The centre of the city doesn't feel very Brazilian, nor did the route from the airport. It seemed to be affluent everywhere we went, full of museums and architecture (by Lúcio Costa, Roberto Burle Marx and Oscar Niemeyer). Brasília wasn't on our short-list of places to visit, but we spent just over 24 hours in the city, since we had to change planes there anyway. This turned out to be the perfect length of time to explore and see the main sights.

I would recommend using BikeBrasília, even though we didn't, as there is a lot of emptiness between sights. There seems to just be areas of empty space and maybe in 50 years that will change, but to me it looked like how I imagine these new purpose-built Arabic cities in the desert to be. The must-sees are doable in a few hours and we actually pretty much walked everywhere, which was good exercise. That said, Brazilian cities often aren't very pedestrian friendly, with paths often ending for no good reason and this seemed especially true in Brasília.

One thing that will stay with me me was the experience we had at the central bus station, trying to find our bus. There was very little information about how to get the bus or where to queue once you found the right place. This wasn't a gringo not understanding Portuguese either, it was just as clear as mud for everyone involved. Sometimes I wonder whether people do things just to add chaos and confusion to everyone else’s life. We eventually found the bus and spent our evening at Pontão do Lago Sul, from which we got a view of the JK bridge. It was a lovely area to end the day and we got a taxi back to the hotel to save some time and not have to figure out the bus again.

Our main thoughts on the city are that it is affluent and very spacious, almost too much so! In hindsight walking wasn't the best idea for such a big place. There are lots of interesting buildings and taxis are expensive even for an adopted Carioca like me. It was a short, interesting stay that exceeded expectations mainly because we didn't really have any. It’s worth mentioning that the hotel we stayed at served breakfast in their rooftop restaurant, which gave us some decent views of the city. It was a nice touch, turning a standard hotel into a lovely one.

Anyway just a short one today with some photos below for you to enjoy!