Brasilia

Yes, we made it and survived (at the least the way there!) our epic road journey to Brasilia. 12 hours, door to door, including 2 pit stops – not bad at all. On board we had a very well traveled toddler who alternated between sleeping, eating, talking up a storm, and playing, a very patient dad, and a somewhat grumpy mom at least during the wee hours of the morning (did I mention we left before dawn?). Long story (and long drive!) short, we made it – beat the traffic, experienced some interesting roads Brazilian style and have been enjoying our time in Brasilia since we got here.

What have we been doing? Well, the city is know for its architecture and urban design, none of which we took in this time around (we did all this on our first visit here a few years ago and as much as I am interested in urban design, there’s only so many buildings that can interest a toddler, let’s face it). So, while John has been working, Luca and I have ventured out to explore the “green” spaces of the city. Yes, I put “green” in quotation marks because at the moment, there is nothing truly green about them since we are in the middle of a very, very dry season here and the ground is more red and brown than green.

The first picture is of our visit to the zoo, which both of us were very much looking forward to. Unfortunately, we both left disappointed as the park is huge and definitely not walkable and it’s really no fun to drive around from animal to animal and get a child in and out of the car. So, we ended up spending most of our time with the monkeys (that’s Luca waving hello to the monkeys above) and the snakes… the picture on the left is taken in the “Parque da Cidade” – a huge park in the middle of the city. Yes, there was a pond but again the green space was mostly red and brown…

What else can we say about Brasilia? Oh yes…we must agree with the Lonely Planet’s assertion that this is a “driver’s paradise” as there is little traffic (it’s seriously amazing to get from A to B in the time that it should actually take it to drive the distance!) and the maze of roundabouts are a pretty fun little feature (although I did manage to drive the wrong direction once…). However, I do admit that the street names are confusing at first (SQN, SES) and that there seems to be a lack of street signs telling you where you are (add to that a GPS that decides to freeze in the middle of navigating and this can be a fun little experiment!). Another difference we noticed between Brasilia and Sao Paulo is (this is great for parents!) that most restaurants not only post their menu outside (I know, imagine that!) but that they are also open from morning through the evening. In Sao Paulo, many restaurants we like do not open until 7pm or later for dinner which can make an early dinner out difficult (I know…I too remember the days when an 8 o’clock dinner was considered early….).

What’s next for us? A 12-hour drive home to Sao Paulo followed by a few days there before we set South to Florianapolis and the German & Portuguese fall festivals in Santa Catarina. Yes, it’s a rough life…

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