Porto Alegre, A City Mosaic Of Old And New

Friday, September 8, 2023

In my peregrinations to and from the south, Porto Alegre was my connecting hub. This metropolitan town is the capital of the State of Rio Grande do Sul. Most of its original inhabitants are of European descent, as is most of the south of Brazil. It has a vibrant and diverse culture and has a lot to offer: beautiful parks, various events, and culinary experiences. I arrived in Porto Alegre on a national holiday, so most museums were closed to the public. I still managed to walk around the historic downtown area. I parked the rented car near the Justice Palace and took on my tour on foot from there. The Praça Marechal Deodoro, also dubbed "garbage square", is usually avoided because of litter that lies everywhere. It is unfortunate because its trees provide a nice shade and freshness from the heat and several historic buildings surround it: Palacio Piratini, Teatro São Pedro, Museo Julio de Castilhos, just to name a few. Sadly, the stench on those streets was sometimes nauseating but I bravely walked myself through and by the end of my personalized self-planned tour that lasted almost 5 hours, I also discovered a temporary photo exhibition along the Viaduto Otavio Rocha. You can see the photos of my wanderings hereafter.

Because it was one of the few accessible museums on that day, I spent about 45 minutes in the Military Museum. The Brazilian Military is separated into 3 distinct branches: the army, the navy, and the air force. The military police and the firefighters' corps are auxiliary reserve forces under the Army's command. All military branches are part of the Ministry of Defense. Brazil is a subcontinent by itself and has no territorial disputes with its neighbors, even if it has many nations bordering its frontiers. The military overthrew the government 4 times and in 1964 a military dictatorship was introduced. It lasted until 1984. The small museum was interesting to visit. Below, the pictures I took.

Stepping out of the museum and realizing I still had some time before I had to go to the Rodoviaria (bus terminal), I decided to visit the Basilica of Our Lady Of Sorrows just across the alley. After that, I walked to the Gasômetro factory by the water. I knew the space would be crowded and many street vendors of artifacts were showcasing their products. The atmosphere felt lively with music from here and there, families and tourists all over the place. I still felt safe as I sipped on my water and took some pictures before heading towards the Viaduto Otavio Rocha, on the side of which a public photo exhibit was displayed on the building walls along the way. Enjoy!

Walking around in the heat, even with minimal things in my handbag, was not a very enjoyable task. I couldn't help but stop at every creative sight, natural or man-made. The hibiscus flower I almost stepped into because I was gazing at the skies ended up riding with me to the bus terminal and it was such a delight to contemplate exquisite photos by various artists. Check the selected photos for the last part of this post. I hope you take pleasure in them as much as I did!

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It's always mesmerizing to get imbued with different cultures!

Totally agree on that!

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