They call the piece of art above “arte naïf” or naïve art, because the artists are not formally trained. But because the artists aren’t restrained by, usually western, standards of form and beauty, arte naïf is revered for its frankness and honesty.
Cristo Redentor rises half a mile in the Rio skyline. Walking around Rio, I could always turn and see some part of the art deco statue. It’s fitting that when you’re up there, you can see down to almost all of Rio.
My friend Joanna may disagree, since she had to walk the 60 minutes from Flamengo to our restaurant in Santa Teresa in heels, but going up and down the curvy streets of Santa Teresa is the best experience a visitor can have in Rio. We met friendly shopkeepers and artists, saw splashes of colors left and right, and had our breath taken away by the panoramic on top of the hill.
There are over 12 million people living in the Rio metro area, and that number is growing fast. With the hills, I suppose there’s space to build up, so perhaps that’s a reason why Rio is growing so rapidly. Joanna and I were in Rio a few months before the 2016 Summer Olympics, and that timing may have contributed to the new developments and stores we saw opening up.
Laughs and Friendship.
I experienced Rio de Janeiro with one of my close friends and we had so much fun, so I may have some tunnel vision. But everywhere we went, we saw groups of family and friends, laughing and playing – running around parks, sitting outside drinking smoothies, hanging at the beach. What a beautiful environment to be in.
After reading Walkable City by Jeff Speck, I find myself rating cities’ walkability everywhere I go. I actually think Rio would score pretty high on the walkability meter, but I love that it’s a sit-able one. You wanna just sit and chill with your friend in the middle of the street? Go ahead! In such a busy and bustling city, it’s common to just stop, sit, and reflect.
Joanna and I stayed at an Airbnb where our host, Katia, had a little dog. One of our nights in Rio, there was a thunderstorm and Nina ran into our room and slept with us. I stayed up trying to calm her down and worried over her. When traveling, you don’t know who you’ll make connections with.
No, we didn’t get on a helicopter. However, like the adrenaline and vista addicts, we planned our days around getting as high (altitude-wise) as we could, hiking up hills and getting on funiculars and going up and up. Rio is magnificent from above.
The Shades of Dusk.
The other thing Joanna and I chased were sunsets – sunsets on Leblon beach, on the top floor of a city building, and – as pictured – on top of Sugarloaf Mountain. We sat atop the mountain with dozens other travelers as the sun disappeared, unmoving and unwilling to let go of the last ray of sunlight. For a long moment, we felt movement and heard sound go to sleep as the mountains went dark. And then the city lights came on, and nightlife began.