5 tips for a visit to the urban dream of Brasilia

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The apostles statues at the cathedral metropolitana of Brasília

Brasilia is often overlooked as an option while planning your travels through Brazil. Let me explain you why I think you should go to the capital of Brazil.

Still very early in the morning I arrive at Brasília after yet another bus ride. My friend Cleane, who I haven’t seen for 13 years, picks me up. She’s still in her army outfit, because that’s where she works and she didn’t finish her shift yet when I arrive. We have to go to the army base first so that she can finish her army business and then we’ll head for lunch in Brasilia.

1. Food and drinks

Brasilia has many restaurants and bars. Right across my friend’s apartment there is a barbecue buffet (you’ll find plently of these places) where you can ‘design’ your own plate and afterwords pay per kilogram. A salad, some fruits, rice, beans and lots of meat are there to choose from.

In the evening there’s normally not that much of activity on the streets of Brasília, but if you bring the right company you can have a great night out in this city.

2. Three powers square

A nice visit for anyone who visits the capital of Brazil is the heart of the “pilot-plan,” also known as the political center. The Presidential Palace, the Congress and the STF were built in front of each other, in the Praça dos Três Poderes (Three Powers Square). Many institutions are open for the public. If you would like to see where the presidents meet each other and where some tough decisions are being made you might want to enter the Supremo Tribunal Federal. There guided tours (in Portuguese) are available between 10am and 4pm. I would recommend you to go for the free tour which takes about 30 minutes, because when I walked into the building, just to have a look, I stumbled upon one of these guided tours and it was quite interesting. They let you have a look at all of the important rooms and the guide explains exactly who and what goes on where.

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The guide at STF

Sessions hall of STF

A wannabe at the sessions hall of STF

Noble hall of STF

Noble hall of STF

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My Brazilian friends at the Three Powers Square

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Some Ice cream guy relaxing at the Three Powers Square

3. modernist Religious center

Then there is the famous cathedral of Brasília, also known as one of the master pieces of architect Oscar Niemeyer. When we drive towards it I recognize the shape of the building from all the pictures of Brasília I’d seen earlier. Google the word Brasília and you’ll see that the cathedral will be the first thing showing up on your screen.

You can walk around this impressive building or go inside, but to enter you need to walk through a tunnel. It’s a somewhat ‘subway’ feeling to enter a cathedral like this, but it gives a pretty nice view.

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A photo that I took from the entrance tunnel to the cathedral

A somewhat funny thing is that before you enter you’ll notice a sign saying “silence please”, while the beggars sitting at the entrance are shouting pretty loudly in Portuguese for what I understood is money. Once you enter the cathedral you’ll see it also echoes quite a bit. My friend told me to wait at one side of the building with my ear against the wall, while he walked to the other side and started communicating with me through the wall. Hollow walls.

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My friend Cleane and I at the Cathedral of Brasília

4. Art in town

Walk a few hundred meters after your visit to the cathedral to find the national museum which is also designed by Oscar Niemeyer. As I experience getting bored quite quickly at temporary expositions I didn’t expect to much of the current one: À Sua Saúde. I have to say it became a way more longer visit than planned because it was a very very nice exposition. If they are all like that then I truly have to say “thumbs up” to the people who select the expositions in Brasília. I must have walked around for over two hours at the museum.

National museum of Brasília

The national museum of Brasília

At the exposition images we're shown of the time the giving of vaccinations began in Brazil

At the exposition images we’re shown of the time the giving of vaccinations began in Brazil

5. Strolling at Pontão

Only few people now this hidden gem in Brasília. Go see the Ponte Juscelino Kubitschek and in a distance you’ll discover some sort of park. This park you are seeing is named Pontão and has plenty of restaurants, bars and even boat trips. Stroll around at the walking paths and enjoy a romantic sunset.

Pontão at the Paranoá lake with a view at the Ponte Juscelino Kubitschek

Pontão at the Paranoá lake with a view at the Ponte Juscelino Kubitschek

Walking paths in Pontão

Walking paths in Pontão

Ponte Juscelino Kubitschek

Ponte Juscelino Kubitschek

 

Cleane and Rodrigo,
Thank you for showing me how nice Brasília can truly be
.

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Ever since I left my home country I felt at home at any other place I went to. I enjoy getting to know more cultures by talking to strangers and hearing their philosophy about life. Speaking with gestures when you can not find a shared language, finding places only the locals go to and learn about their customs and values. Hanging out with local people makes me happy. The experience of every new place is a step out of your comfort zone where I like to wander around until it feels like a second home.

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