As many city dwellers, Paulistanos usually do not know their own city. Many do not know the history of Sampa or what would be considered the “main touristic points”. We work from 8 am to 5 pm and there is little time to get to enjoy our city. But the weekends, ah the weekends! Weekends are the little heaven when Paulistanos get out of the offices to bask in the sun. And that is when TurisMetro strikes.
There are currently 5 routes, all starting at Se Metro Station (passing the turnstiles) at 9 am or 14 pm on weekends. It provides free guided tours with bilingual – sometimes polyglot – guides, who will take you to see the historical sights of Sao Paulo on foot. All routes have artistic interventions performed by actors who tell curiosities about the city in a fun and dynamic way. Click here to know the available routes.
It is very easy to participate: just choose one of the routes and go to the balcony of “TurisMetro” at Se Metro Station at least 20 minutes before the scheduled departure of the groups.
I attended two tours, Luz and Republica. Unfortunately, the first one was cancelled right after it started due to the rain. In the summer, it is not uncommon to have sudden bursts of heavy rain in the afternoon, so prefer the 9 am tours.
Here are some highlights of Luz tour:
There is a street piano at Se Metro Station among the hustle an bustle of people coming and going. It is the only thing that makes Paulistanos stop for a while before rushing away. Read more about the Street Pianos initiative here.
The structure of Luz Railway Station was entirely brought from England, copying the styles of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. Its current building was opened in 1901.
The route would continue onto the city’s oldest park (Luz Park), opened in 1825 as a botanical garden and turned into a gathering point in the early twentieth century. However, the heavy rain made everyone rush into the Pinacoteca do Estado (State Art Museum).
Pinacoteca is the oldest art museum in the city and one of the most respected in the country. With more than 8000 works, Pinacoteca presents a wide panorama of Brazilian art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with emphasis on the Modernist movement.
After visiting Pinacoteca, I went sightseeing at Metro’s Yellow Line, the most modern and artsy metro line of Sampa.
The Yellow Line has driverless trains, so you can see into the tunnel if you ride the first car. It also has automatic doors at the platforms.
And it is a sight for sore eyes! At least for architects…
I’ll show you the highlights of Republica tour in the next post so not to overload this one with pictures. I love taking pictures and I can be a bit too enthusiastic about it.
A hint: do take a look at Sao Paulo Tourism Secretariat’s site – it is very informative for tourists and locals alike. Did I mention that 99,99% of the people taking the TurisMetro’s tours are locals?