By Micaela Browning, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANIERO, BRAZIL – For most, mentioning a weekend in Búzios conjures up images of idyllic beaches, an aquatic activity of choice, and nightlife on the Rua das Pedras. Almost certainly, travelers there are not thinking about astronomy, the study of celestial objects (stars, planets, comets, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies).
An expat couple may be changing that though, Roland Seeman of Spain, and his wife Antonella Pozzo Ardizi of Milan, Italy, have recently opened a Búzios destination focused on star gazing.
The Observatório de Buzios offers the opportunity to have a guided tour of the night sky after soaking in the sun of this beach oasis. Apart from starry views, the observatory also boasts an acclaimed fusion eatery, abundant artwork, and occasional themed evening galas.
Seeman and Ardizi came to the area after selling their home in Los Angeles, and spending the latter half of a “3-year, international search for a home and home-based business” in Brazil, and ultimately settled in Búzios. After renting the Observatório for the better part of the year, Seeman and Ardizi finally purchased the land and began a an extensive set of renovations to the property.
Despite having no professional experience as astronomers or restaurateurs, the couple chose to market the Observatório as a themed culinary retreat for travelers who seek a vacation that offers more than a beer and a beach. Explains Seeman, “We had come to the conclusion that every resort destination needs more things for people to do besides getting a tan and drunk”.
Aside from being entrepreneurial pioneers – the couple’s research revealed only a handful of astronomy-themed restaurants in the world. When asked why he and his wife chose astro-toursim as the crux of their business, Seeman replied, “We are not alone…people are curious about the universe out there. The science…the glamor…the quiet”.
You don’t need to travel to Búzios in order to turn a curious eye to the sky, however. Besides the famed planetarium in Gávea, Rio is also home to the Museu de Astronomia e Ciências Afins (MAST). A stately building nested in a park in São Cristóvão, the museum offers to the public courses, hands-on experiments, several exhibitions of modern and ancient astronomic equipment, and guided tours of the heavens by a MAST scientist.
If you’re unable to make the journey to São Cristóvão, MAST also offers downloadable PDF maps of the sky each month for the armchair astronomer.
MAST address: Rua Gal Bruce, 586 – São Cristóvão, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20921-030, +55 (21) 2580-7010
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays – 9AM to 5PM
Wednesdays – 9AM to 8PM
Saturday – 2PM to 8PM
Sundays and Banks Holidays – 2PM to 6PM