Train trip to Morretes
Charming and pleasant train trip to the colonial town of Morretes.
Trip takes about 1h30 of breathtaking landscapes of natural atlantic rain forests and mountains.
You can make the round trip by train or take the train to Morretes and the bus back to Curitiba.
In Morretes, do not miss the typical dish called "Barreado" served in any of the restaurants in downtown.
Definitely worth a day trip.
Museu Oscar Niemeyer - The Eye Museum
Museu Oscar Niemeyer which is also known as Museu do Olho (The Eye Museum) due to the design of the building, is by far Curitiba's best museum. A strange, beautiful, powerful and lyrical composition. It was designed by the architect Niemeyer. He completed this project in 2003 at 95 years of age.
The first building, Castello Branco, was designed by Oscar Niemeyer in 1967 in the style of the time and served as an educational institute. It was transformed into museum, for which Niemeyer designed the additional building in the shape of the eye, giving it a new, modern identity. The existing building has exhibition halls in three levels, bookshop and restaurant and the new building was designed for exhibitions and multimedia presentations. The complex of two buildings is a true example of architecture linked with art.
The museum focuses on the visual arts, architecture and design. It includes a collection of the works of Parana's artists and temporary modern art exhibitions.
Other two most notable Niemeyer's works are Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Niteroi - MAC (the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum) in Niteroi, a city next to Rio de Janeiro, and Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida in Brasilia (the Cathedral of Brasilia).
The museum is open Tues-Sun 10am-8pm.
3 weeks off the beaten path, "planner's paradise"
"Curitiba - a planner's paradise"
On my first trip to Brasil (January 2004), I spent three weeks in Curitiba and thoroughly enjoyed my visit! While most tourists go to Brasil to visit Rio, Sao Paulo, the Amazon, the Pantanal and many of the country's fine beaches, who really goes to Curitiba?!...Well, I recommend a visit there. It's a modern city, with a very high quality of life for its 2 million plus residents. The weather is much cooler than other parts of Brasil, but a welcome relief from the heat. Also, the city is known in urban/city planning circles as having THE BEST bus system in the world, which I found to be quite accurate. There is lots to see and experience in Curitiba besides the usual monuments and fancy architecture that draws tourists to most big cities. Spend some time in Curitiba...it's a nice city....
UPDATE: Returned for a second visit in November 2005, this time with my Mom. It was great to reconnect with the friends I had made during my first trip and they were great hosts to their wonderful city. After taking the Linha Turismo the first day, my Mom asked, "What are we going to do for seven more days?!" Well, as she soon discovered, it's not about seeing major tourist attractions, but relaxing and getting into the rhythm of the place. We shopped, we browsed, we ate leisurely lunches, and walked, walked, walked for hours. I also took her on the Serra Verde Express train ride to Morretes (doesn't go as far as Paranagua some times) for a day trip. And, every night my friends would take us out to someplace fun and different for dinner. Thank you Luciana, Glauce and Lucia for being such wonderful ambassadors! People I met thought I was crazy for coming back to Curitiba for a second time (since who really goes there on vacation anyhow?) But, it was one of the best vacations I've had.
"Good reading resource on Curitiba"
Jan. 2004: Many of the photos under the "Off the Beaten Path" section of my Curitiba page were inspired by reading a chapter from the book, "Natural Capitalism," by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins. (published by Back Bay Books, October 2000.) Reading about some of the urban planning ideas and programs in Curitiba seemed too good to be true. So, seeing them for myself was a special experience. Many heartfelt thanks especially to the staff at the Instituto Curitiba de Informatica (ICI)--particularly Glauce Nakamura, Emerson Alex and Director Luis Alexandre for hosting me on a tour of their organization and city, and for sharing a first-hand view of the many social programs and solutions that make Curitiba an innovative and "livable" community.
"How to Best Explore the City..."
If you have one or even a few days, a great way to see the city is to take the Linha Turismo (see VT member "World-travel" description uner "Transportation Tips" on the main VT Curitiba page for schedule), a bus that stops at 22 Places of Interest throughout the city. If you have more than one day, I would recommend that you buy a ticket (allows you four stops) or more tickets over several days, and start to pick and choose parks, monuments and other places to explore. Don't just get off on the first four places--take the entire loop at least once, so that you can get a feel for what each stop includes. And when you stop, take some time to walk around, watch and see the environment around you. I only got to see about 6-7 different places on the Linha Turismo, which means maybe I have to return to Curitiba to see the 18 or so places which I did not have time to get off the bus to explore!
Tchau and enjoy!