I experienced my most eye-opening vacation yet this past January. After enjoying three days of jam-packed amazement in Rio de Janeiro, I explored more of inland Brazil with my friend Rodrigo. We first met about two years ago in Belgium, where he lives now. Over the holidays, he visited his family in Jaraguá, in the Brazilian state of Goiás, and I was cool (or lucky, blessed, etc.) enough to join along!
I flew from Rio’s domestic airport to the capital city of Brasilia, where I reunited with my friend. We spent the day sightseeing in the capital, before heading to Jaraguá. Brasilia is full of mostly government buildings, so there’s only a few sightseeing spots. The layout of the city is shaped like an airplane from above. As a flight attendant, this seemed a really fitting place to step foot in, even just for a day.
We visited a museum in the shape of Saturn. It was a relatively small museum filled with contemporary and abstract art, plus some tribal-influenced exhibits.
Next door, stood a cathedral with the brightest blue stained glass windows I’ve seen. The rest of the building was so white that it complemented the blue windows, which complemented the white, too. The cathedral was masterfully designed. Not only with the colors, but with how the sunlight gently shined through the blue glass onto the structures inside the place of worship. Juxtaposed with the blue sky and white clouds on the day I visited, the cathedral was one of the first places after Rio that made me say “wow.”
The capital is in the Federal District, which was carved out of the state of Goiás, which is bigger than it seems on a map! Most places we ventured to were a two or three hour drive from where we were before. We took our first three hour journey leaving Brasilia for Jaraguá.
Food vendors lined the highways, most selling fruits. We stopped at one truck selling watermelons and oranges. The oranges are green on the outside, but great for juicing!
When I looked beyond the vendors and buildings along the road, the landscape gave me another reason to stare out the windows. Sunlight streaked down from the sky, some may say like a heavenly beacon, and shined onto the green fields, illuminating yellow patches of grass along the way. Sometimes, I’d even spot a rainbow cloud! I had only ever seen rainbows arched across the sky, so seeing cloud iridescence for the first time reawakened another kind of wonder in me.
The tranquility I felt from the views was often interrupted by the crazy driving rules! Drivers change lanes using the oncoming traffic lane when nobody is driving toward you. When we passed slow trucks, we’d speed up and then slow back down when we were back in the right lane.
Drunk driving rules are not enforced as much as they are in the US and parts of Europe, which also didn’t help calm my fear of car crashes (I prefer safe skies over less regulated roads). Thankfully Rodrigo was behind the wheel. My driving skills barely cut it in the US, probably even worse since I haven’t driven in almost two years after moving to New York City.
I spent the next few days exploring Jaraguá and the nearby cities of Anápolis and Pirenópolis with my friend. I swam below cascades (aka waterfalls), visited Rodrigo’s family’s farm, and ate so many new fruits and fatty foods… I’ll share these stories and more in my upcoming posts, so stick around!