Category Archives: Architecture

Let’s talk about “tanques” / Vamos falar de “tanques”

(Portuguese version at the end of the page)


In nearly every Brazilian house there’s a special sink known as “tanque”. It’s usually outdoors or in utility rooms and it’s used for cleaning mops, rags, dirty shoes, delicate pieces of clothing etc.

In the past it used to be just a sink with a separate washboard and according to Wikipedia, in the US, this washboard became a musical instrument (some trivia for you 😉 )

If you have a chance to visit a Brazilian house, you’re bound to see one tanque in the utility room or somewhere near the kitchen.


Tanque in my mum’s house


“built-in” washboard


Tanque at a friend’s house


Another version with a separate washboard



For more information, there’s a wiki on Tanques (in Portuguese).





I’ve been trying to convince my husband to give me a tanque – we live in the UK – and if you have a “tanque” in your house, please leave a comment below 😉

Versao em Portugues:

Em quase todas as casas brasileiras existe uma pia especial chamada de “tanque”. Geralmente ela eh encontrada do lado de fora da casa ou na parte de lavanderia e eh usada para limpar esfregoes, panos de chao, sapatos sujos, roupas delicadas etc.

No passado o tanque era apenas uma pia com uma tabua separada para lavar roupas e, de acordo com a Wikipedia, nos Estados Unidos, a tabua separada virou um instrumento musical (trivia pra vc 😉 )

Se voce tiver a oportunidade de visitar uma casa brasileira, voce fatalmente achara um tanque na parte de lavanderia ou em algum lugar perto da cozinha.

Estou tentando convencer meu marido a me dar um tanque e, se voce tem um tanque em casa, coloque nos comentarios abaixo – especialmente se voce nao mora no Brasil 🙂

Imperial Museum of Brazil / Museu Imperial do Brasil

(Versao em Portugues no final da pagina)


Imperial Museum

The Imperial Museum of Brazil is situated in the historic city of Petropolis in Rio de Janeiro state. It was built in 1845 and it’s where the royal family (D. Pedro II) used to spend their summer holidays.


Imperial family

If you visit Rio de Janeiro, why not go up the mountains and visit the museum? It’s a short bus ride (less than 1 hour) away.


Wearing slippers / usando as pantufas

Once you get your tickets, you are asked to wear slippers (pantufas) but there’s no need to take your shoes off. It’s fun to slide away inside the museum. If you have bags or rucksacks you’re also asked to store them away in the lockers provided. Cameras are not allowed inside the museum. However, when you get to the chariots palace in an outside building, photographs are allowed.


Leopoldina Train

For further information on the museum, check their website – it’s all in Portuguese, though.

Versao em Portugues:


O Museu Imperial do Brasil esta localizado na historica cidade de Petropolis, no Rio de Janeiro. Foi construido em 1845 e eh onde a familia real (D. Pedro II) costumava passar as ferias de verao.

Se voce visitar o Rio de Janeiro, por que nao aproveita para subir a serra e visitar o museu? A viagem de onibus eh bem curtinha (menos de 1 hora).

Assim que voce compra os ingressos, eles pedem pra voce calcar pantufas mas nao precisa tirar os sapatos. Eh bem divertido patinar pelos corredores do museu. Se voce tiver bolsas ou mochilas, eles pedem que voce as guarde no guarda-volumes que ficam dentro do museu. Nao eh permitido tirar fotos dentro do museu mas no predio anexo, onde ficam as carruagens, fotos sao permitidas.

Para mais informacoes sobre o museu, visite o website – esta todo em Portugues.


The Museum’s beautiful garden




Nuclear Power Station in Angra dos Reis, RJ / Usina Nuclear em Angra dos Reis, RJ

(Versao em Portugues no final da pagina)


If you happen to be in Angra dos Reis, RJ, you can visit the Nuclear Power Station also known as Angra 1 (since 1985) and Angra 2 (since 2001) – Angra 3 is being built at the moment.

There are guided tours for groups of 15 to 40 people that need to be previously booked by phone.

As there were just 4 of us, we were able to go in the Visitors’ centre only. There are heaps of information there plus a 7 minute video. However, it’s all in Portuguese only.


Nuclear Reactor (Angra 2) / Reator Nuclear (Angra 2)

Angra’s nuclear reactor is approximately 10 metres high and weighs 233,000 kg! This type of reactor – PWR –  is the safest in the world and there are only 240 units all over the world.


Video at the Visitors’ Centre / Video no Centro de Visitantes

Useful info on Angra 1:

Reactor: PWR

Project: Westinghouse

Energy Power: 657 Mwe

Useful info on Angra 2:

Reactor: PWR

Project: Siemens / KWU

Energy Power: 1,309 Mwe


Visitors’ Centre


Versao em Portugues:

Se voce estiver em Angra dos Reis, RJ, voce pode visitar a Usina Nuclear, tambem conhecidas como Angra 1 (desde 1985) e Angra 2 (desde 2001) – Angra 3 esta sendo construida no momento.

Existem tours guiados para grupos de 15 ate 40 pessoas que precisam ser previamente agendados por telefone.


Inside the Visitors’ Centre

Como nos eramos 4 pessoas, a gente so pode entrar no Centro de Visitantes. Tem muita informacao la e tambem tem um video explicativo de 7 minutos. Tudo em portugues apenas.

O reator nuclear de Angra tem aproximadamente 10 metros de altura e pesa 23 mil kilos! Esse tipo de reator – PWR – eh o mais seguro do mundo com 240 unidades em operacao em todo o planeta.


Dustbin at the visitors’ centre / lixeira no centro de visitantes

Informacoes uteis de Angra 1:

Reator: PWR

Projeto: Westinghouse

Potencia: 657 Mwe

Informacoes uteis de Angra 2:

Reator: PWR

Projeto: Siemens / KWU

Potencia: 1,309 Mwe


Angra 1 and Angra 2

Thatched Houses


(English version at the end of the page)

Aqui no Reino Unido, principalmente no interior, onde moro, eh muito comum vermos casas com telhado de palha, o famoso Thatched Roof.

A primeira impressao que da eh que sao casas saidas das historias infantis, como Alice in Wonderland, por exemplo.


Source: Walt Disney

Os Thatched Cottages como as chamamos aqui sao extremamente caras justamente por causa de seus telhados.

A tecnica de thatching eh tradicional e geralmente eh um “skill” passado de pai para filho.

Muitas dessas casas ou cottages tambem recebem o apelido de “chocolate boxes” porque lembram as casas que ilustram as tampas das caixas de chocolate.

Se quiserem saber mais sobre a tecnica, sugiro dar uma olhada no YouTube pois tem varias videos legais la 😉


Thatched Roof a esquerda / Thatched roof on the left


Chocolate Box Selfie

English Version:

Here in the UK, especially in the countryside where I live, it’s very common to find houses with a roof made of straw, the famous Thatched Roof.

The first impression we have is that these are houses that come out of children’s books, like Alice in Wonderland for instance.

The Thatched cottages are extremely expensive mainly due to their roofs.

The thatching technique is usually a skill that passes on from father to son.

Many of these houses or cottages are also known as “chocolate boxes” because they resemble those houses that illustrate many chocolate boxes.

If you want to know more about this technique, I suggest you have a look on YouTube as there are loads of cool videos there 😉

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Thatched roof in the New Forest


Thatched roof in the New Forest

Kingston Lacy


(Versao em Portugues no final da pagina)

If you’re ever in Dorset I suggest a visit to Kingston Lacy. It’s a country house and estate owned by the National Trust in Wimborne Minster. The National Trust is a conservation organisation.

The house was built to resemble an Italian Palace in 1663. It was completed 2 years later.


Philae obelisk


The  Philae Obelisk that can be seen in the pictures and video (sorry, it’s in Portuguese again! worth watching nevertheless) was found in Egypt and then acquired by William John Bankes, who used to own Kingston Lacy. There are 2 inscriptions on it and one of them is believed to be Ptolemy and Cleopatra in hieroglyphic characters.

It’s said that it would have taken 7 years to transport the obelisk to Kingston Lacy. Nineteen horses were needed to raise it upright.

The Duke of Wellington laid the foundation stone in 1827.


The house decorated for Christmas

Kingston Lacy, back door

Kingston Lacy, back door


Apart from the house itself, it’s worth going for a walk around the property and why not enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate at the tea room afterwards?


Lots to see on a lovely walk around the garden

KL05 KL06

Kingston Lacy:

Wimborne Minster,


BH21 4EA

Portuguese Version:

Se voce estiver pelas redondezas de Dorset, eu sugiro uma visita a Kingston Lacy que eh uma country house (“casa do campo ou palacio rural”) e estate (propriedade) que pertence ao National Trust (orgao resposavel por conservar patrimonios historicos, tipo o IPHAN).

A casa foi construida com caracteristicas de um palacio italiano em 1663 e a obra foi concluida 2 anos depois.

O obelisco Philae, que pode ser visto nas fotos e video (no texto em ingles acima), foi encontrado no Egito e entao adquirido por William John Bankes que era o dono de Kingston Lacy na epoca. O obelisco possui duas inscricoes e numa delas esta escrito Pitolomeu e Cleopatra em hieroglifos.

Acredita-se que para transportar o obelisco ate Kingston Lacy levou 7 anos e dezenove cavalos foram necessarios para ergue-lo.

A base do obelisco foi colocada pelo Duque de Wellington em 1827.

Alem da casa, vale a pena tambem fazer uma caminhada ao redor da propriedade e para finalizar, porque nao se deliciar com uma caneca de chocolate quente?

PS – fotos e video podem ser apreciados no texto em ingles 😉

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

To read the English version, please scroll down 😉


Em dezembro de 2014 fomos a Bristol que fica no sudoeste da Inglaterra (quase umas 4 horas de carro pra gente). Eu tinha muita vontade de ir a Bristol por um unico motivo: A ponte suspensa.

IMG_20141206_161103 IMG_20141206_160941

Essa ponte eh mencionada no livro que usei para estudar para o Life in the UK test (teste para cidadania). A ponte eh linda demais e quando fomos a Bristol nao me decepcionei.

Fiz um video para tentar mostrar a beleza da Clifton Suspension Bridge. Como o proprio nome diz, ela eh suspensa (por cabos).

O nome do genio que a projetou? Isambard Kingdom Brunel que tinha apenas 23 anos de idade na epoca.

A construcao levou 33 anos e a ponte foi inaugurada em 1864 (a ponte fez 150 anos em 2014 – na epoca em que fiz o video).


A ponte me fascinou de tal maneira que ao chegar em casa pesquisei sobre ela e curiosamente li uma historia (veridica) de uma moca chamada Sarah Ann Henley – que por sua vez tem o mesmo sobrenome do meu pai rs.

Enfim, Sarah decidiu se jogar da ponte em 1885 depois de um termino de noivado. Naquela epoca, as mulheres usavam vestidos ou saias bem pesadas e de varias camadas. Era uma manha de muito vento e, o que aconteceu? Sarah estava caindo de cabeca pra cima e o vento fez com que a saia dela virasse uma especia de para-quedas. Ao inves de cair no Rio, ela caiu nas margens enlameadas do mesmo.


Resumo da opera: Sarah foi resgatada por varios transeuntes que testemunharam o incidente (eu e a palavra transeunte rs) e logo em seguida ela foi pedida em casamento por varios pretendentes.

Sarah casou-se com um deles e viveu ate seus 85 anos de idade.

Se voce, assim como eu, tambem achou a historia fascinante, voce pode ler os detalhes na pagina oficial da ponte.

Boa leitura!

IMG_20141206_161750 IMG_20141206_162237

In December 2014 we went to Bristol in the southwest of England (roughly a 4-hour drive for us). I’d been dying to go there for basically one reason: The suspension bridge.

The Clifton Suspension bridge is mentioned in the book Life in the UK (which is a test I took for my British citizenship). It’s a beautiful piece of engineering and when we got there I wasn’t let down.

I made a video to try to show its beauty. It’s called suspension bridge because of the way it’s hanging from its cables. (Sorry readers, the video is in Portuguese but you can still see how amazing it looks).

The name of the genius who designed it? Isambard Kingdom Brunel who was 23 years old then.

It took 33 years for the bridge to be built and it was open in 1864 (it was its 150th anniversary when I made the video).

I was so fascinated by the bridge that when I got home I googled it and found a very interesting story of a young lady called Sarah Ann Henley – who happened to have my father’s surname haha

Anyway, one day in 1885, Sarah decided to jump off the bridge after a breakup. Back then, the ladies used to wear long and heavy dresses with multiple layers.

It was a very windy morning and what happened then? Sarah was falling feet first when a gust of air blew beneath her skirt and blew her away from the water. She fell on the mud almost in a sitting position.

In a nutshell: Sarah was rescued by several passers-by who had witnessed the whole incident and soon after that she was bombarded with marriage proposals.

Eventually Sarah got married and lived up to the age of 85.

If you also think it’s a fascinating story, I suggest you read it in full on the bridge’s official website.

Happy reading!