May 21, 2016
Like the emperors of Rio’s Imperial era, on Saturday May 21, the Global Gateway group took a trip to the mountainous city of Petrópolis to get away from the heat and explore the city. The ride leading to this beautiful city was cluttered with curvy roads and beautiful views of the mountains below as we traveled higher and higher. As we drove into the town there were a lot of differences from Rio. Petrópolis was a slower, more family friendly looking town with many historical building that, like Rio, were mixed in with the high rise apartments.
While there, we visited the summer home of Pedro II, a massive pink mansion-turned-museum. Inside the museum there were original flooring and furniture, along with many precious artifacts, such as the royal crown and gems. It was amazing to see the people and places that we are learning about in class, it made them more real and brought a new sense of interest to be able to actually visit the places that prominent figures use to live. Outside the museum there was a large garden that hid the mansion from the street. It was almost as if we could imagine the emperor and his wife, Teresa, taking a stroll on a nice summer day.
To finish the day, we stopped at the Quitandinha casino, one of Rio’s largest casinos (now turned into an arcade), to explore the inside. Casinos used to be a space that different cultures could collaborate and combine, making them very important in a porous city such as Rio. Each of the rooms was grand and held so much history. It was as though you could see the liveliness that used to be there; the performers on the stages, the dancers in the ballrooms, the glamorous guests as they walked down the hallways. Everything about Quitandinha exuded a level of prestige that could not be found anywhere but a casino of Rio’s “Golden Age”.
As we made our way back to Rio, the sun was beginning to set, giving a glow over the mountains. As far as you could see, there was mountain after mountain, each one slowly disappearing into the darkness of the night.