February 12, 2011

The Teatro Colon to resume Guided Visits


Teatro Colon : Guided visits from February 8th, 2011

The Colón Theater of Buenos Aires has announced that the guided tours to the interior of this magnificent theater will resume on Tuesday, February 8th, 2011. They will be held every day, including holidays, from 9:00 am to 3:45 pm.

The guided visits will have a duration of approximately 1 hour, starting at Paseo de los Carruajes, on Tucuman 1171 every 15 minutes. Tours will be offered in English or Spanish. Guided visits in French and Portuguese have to be reserved 48 hours in advance.

The visit will have a cost of USD 15 for foreign visitors. Entrance for children under 6 is free. Retirees, pensioners and university students will have a 50% discount on Mondays.

The entrance ticket can be acquired by phone with credit card, or at the Theatre’s box office (Tucuman 1171), with credit card, debit card, or cash.

For more information about the guided visists you should call +54 11 4378-7127 or by email: Teatro Colón

The theatre was closed in 2006 for renovations with a planned reopening on May 25, 2008 to celebrate the opera house’s centennial with a performance of Verdi’s Aida, the first production that was staged there. However, construction delays have pushed back the reopening to May 2010.
Since it opened in 1908, it has been one of the world’s major venues for opera, ballet, and classical music, and many of the “greats” have performed here, including Callas, Nijinsky, and Rubinstein.

Highlights of the interior include the entrance hall, adorned in marble and stucco and capped off with a dome, and the magnificent mirrored and gilded Salón Dorado (Golden Hall), a venue used for small concerts and lectures that closely resembles the halls of Versailles in France.

The traditional horseshoe-shaped auditorium, with a capacity of nearly 3000 and world-renowned acoustics, has three tiers of seats rising to a domed ceiling complete with an enormous bronze chandelier that surely makes spectators below somewhat nervous. The dome itself, decorated with frescoes of dancers and musicians, was painted by Argentine artist Raúl Soldi.

Most of us pass hundreds of buildings every day and it is easy enough to see that some of them are different or special. But how are they different? When were they built and why? We will answer these questions in our BA Architectural Tour that aims to provide a clear understanding of different building types and how they influence the way our city looks.

Inspiration is a key to the generation of exciting architectural ideas. It is with this in mind that we hope that this tour will also serve as a source of ideas to inspire your creativity.

Join us! Contact Silvi for more information at Ideas Turisticas

February 04, 2011

Top 10 Things to do in Montevideo

Here is the information that so many friends asked for!

This is the updated list of things you should do during your visit to Montevideo.

Your first stop should be the famous Plaza Independencia. It is the centre of Montevideo in many ways: you will find the only ruins of the former citadel and the monument of General Gervasio Artigas, who is considered the father of Uruguay's independence – movement.

From Independence Park to Artigas Boulevard, the Avenida 18 de Julio, this two mile avenue marks the center of the city. There are shops, banks, bars, restaurants and historic buildings. The Rinaldi Palace, an art deco gem built in 1929, the Jockey club building, the Lapido Palace and the Contemporary Art Museum are worth a visit.

One sweet-tooth stop: on the neighbouring Convention St. 1403, the historic café El Oro del Rhin ( gold of the Rhine ) was opened in 1927 by a German immigrant, a patisserie expert. We recommend the cream puff pastries.

The Salvio Palace stands just across Plaza Independencia like an eccentric giant. It is the “brother” of the Barolo building in Buenos Aires on Avenida de Mayo. Built in 1928 by the same architect, the Italian Mario Palanti, it was the highest building of South America for many years. Its eclectic and undefined style promoted controversy. It was thought of as a hotel complex but it was never so.

Instead there were in it: a famous dancing ballroom, a massage parlour, apartments used by fortune tellers and even a billiard club. Another important building to visit is the new Solís theatre, the Montevideo Philarmonic Orchestra. http://www.teatrosolis.org.uy/ Every day there are guided tours of the theatre. They are very good and include several artistic performances. Address: Buenso Aires 652.

The Harbour market: For a different food experience you should head for the Ciudad Vieja's Mercado del Puerto. Inside this ornate building that once was a train station, market stalls have been converted into parrillas and seafood. “El Mercado del Puerto” is 142 years old. The beverage of the market: the Medio y Medio, half a glass of dry white wine and the other half of a sparkling kind.

Many of the establishments have proper tables, but many visitors prefer sitting on a stool facing the grill for an up-close view of the action. The busiest day of the week is Saturday morning.

The Figari Museum: Pedro Figari was a lawyer, journalist, pedagogue, poet and painter known for his paintings about candombe, parties and mixture of races in the colonial Montevideo. The Museum is in a revamp space of the old city, near the Café Brasil. This Traditional old Coffee Bar is located near the Figari Museum, it has Thonet chairs, hard pine floors, old photographs and excellent cappuccinos and cakes. Address: A. Ituzaingó 1447.

Mapi: It is home to the Pre Comumbian and Native American Art Museum. The collection consists of 700 pieces, see pottery, lithic and textiles from the natives of Uruguay and other Latin American regions. Also, a photo gallery and art exhibitions. Address: May 25, 279.

Don´t miss strolling along the Promenade that overlooks the River. ( from the old neighbourhood to the north where the beaches are ).

Visit Carrasco Residential Area
Before going to the Airport of Montevideo, take a taxi and ask the driver to take you to Carrasco residential neighbourhood. Carrasco was born as a beach resort and became the most elegant district of Montevideo.

Designed by French landscape dsesigner Charles Thays, it has wide avenues, curves and diagonals. Diego Forlan, top scorer and Golden Ball winnerin the last World Cup, grew up in this neighbourhood.

If you want to experience Montevideo in a more personal way with your own private guide, we can set up a custom-made day tour in Montevideo to show you the city from a different perspective.

Contact us through our website Ideas Turisticas

February 02, 2011

Where to go in February: Carnival in Montevideo


For 40 days, the city of Montevideo puts the tango aside for a while and it liberates its African soul to live the longest Carnival in the world. During the parade called “Desfile de Llamadas" which takes place the first Thursday and Friday of February, more than two thousand drums are played together by local bands, evoking the meetings that black people used to have in the XIX century.

The Uruguayan Television broadcasts it all live and a jury selects the best bands, representatives for the Carnival Groups Official Competition. Just as this evening in cafés, people talk about football, at Carnival time, they discuss murgas´tunes and controversies arise about who the best or worst parodists were.

Every day there are Candombe, Murgas ( street bands ) and troupes performed on tablados ( outdoor stages ) and at the Summer theatre

What is Candombe?

You can hear the drums in the Mercado del Puerto ( Port Market ), in a terrace in Punta Carretas´neighborhood. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, 35% of the citizens were of African decedents. The candombe was born with them, in a survival attempt, a need to preserve their roots. As there were black people from different African regions, they got together according to their origin in the Salas de Nación and practiced that afro Uruguayan rhythm that combines three drums: chique, repique and piano, which together from a string. The drums are hung on the shoulder and are played with one open hand and a stick.

The Candombe was banned in colonial times and during the military dictatorship the Conventillo Mediomundo was demolished, a temple of candombe and resistance.

Live the Carnival !
For music, feelings and emotions, you have to come in February. There is still no simulator that reproduces these stimuli, such a provocation. We still need to travel.
Nowadays between 6 and 9% of the Uruguayan people are afro descendents.

Many live in the Sur neighbourhood where on weekends there are strings of drums parading the ISLA DE FLORES street and some others. This goes on while the Desfile de las Llamadas ( popular yearly parade ) arrives and the whole city is filled with the sound of drums.

For everything else, the Carnival Museum is a former port warehouse that has kept its cobblestone floors where you can see different exhibitions related to the Carnival: from models of some local street stages of the 30´s to the collection of masks, photos, headies, costumes, drums and rag dolls.

We hope you found this article useful.

If you travel to Montevideo, join us as we stroll off the beaten path learning about Montevideo history, culture, architecture, entertainment offerings, and of course, the local flavours.
Find out where the locals go to have the ultimate food and cultural experience. Contact us Ideas Turisticas.

Must-see sights in Rio

Christ the Redeemer

One day is not enough to visit all the districts and attractions that Rio offers but these are in our opinion, the highlights of Rio that you should not miss when you visit this unique city.

If you are a first-time visitor, these are the activities and must-see things to see that I strongly recommend you to do:

Walk along Copacabana promenade: It was designed by Burle Max a Brazilian landscape designer and it was completed in 1970 on famous Rio de Janeiro beach. Influenced by Portuguese pavement ( Calçada Portuguesa) it is one of the nicest walks you can do in Rio. Please bear in mind that you should walk during the day and not by night since it is dangerous to walk in Rio during the evening.

Floresta da Tijuca: This is the largest urban forest in the world. You can drive through hundreds of species of plants and wildlife on your way to the Corcovado Mountain, the highest peak in Rio where Christ the Redeemer can be found. You can access by car, bus or train. The train station is called Cosme Velho and it has a cost of USD 22 or 36 reales ( round trip ). The view point is phenomenal: You can admire a complete outlook of the Guanabara Bay.

Santa Teresa Historic Neighborhood: Heading towards downtown Rio, you should visit the “Montmartre Carioca” where wealthiest families and rich Europeans built big mansions at the end of the nineteenth century. They run away from humidity and floods of the city. Back in the 1960´s there were some bad mudslides ( ring a bell? ) and families searching for safer areas, moved out and settled down near the beach. Today we find artists living in these old mansions and it became a bohemian neighborhood with many good restaurants. It is important to visit this district with a local guide or local driver since the neighborhood is surrounded by favelas and if you don´t know the area, you might get into trouble.

Paris Park and its Cathedral: In the park Praça de Paris you will find the old aqueduct named “Arcos de Lapa” where the bondhino runs. To its left, the Catedral de Sao Sebastiao is found. With its conic figure, it really stands out and it is worth a visit. If you are hungry, you should take Rua Gonçalves Dias and head towards the glamorous coffee shop: Confeitaria Colombo (tel. 021/2221-0107). This 19th-century Belle Epoque establishment is one of the most beautiful salons in all of Brazil. ( Don`t miss the passion fruit mousse: Mousse de Maracuyá ). Closed on Sundays.

Confeitaria Colombo
If you have a car you should continue your drive along the Niemeyer Avenue heading South towards the neighborhoods of Leme, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon.

Along the coastal Avenue there are postos ( Beach Bars ) with numbers that locals as well as tourists identify very easily. Each of them has its feature: Number 10 ( in Ipanema ) belongs to the mauricinhos and patricinhas ( wealthy young people), Number 8 and 9 belong to the coloridos or colorful people (gay people ).

In Leblon, you will find La Academia da Cachaça: a bar which specializes in this alcoholic drink.
After a long and tiring day, we strongly recommend you to witness a rehearsal at the Passarela do Samba ( Sambódromo ). The rehearsals can be seen until February 27th.

If you visit Rio for the first time, you should explore these venues and special sights in Rio with a professional guide. We will help you experience the city and its treasures in a new way. It will allow you the chance to enjoy exploring many of the sights that visitors do not know are there while embracing the culture and passion of Rio de Janeiro.

Contact us and we will design a tailor made itinerary to meet your interests and expectations.