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Published: June 14th 2014
We arrived in São Paulo to find out that it was one of the busiest weekend of the year due to a large music festival taking place in the city which explained why so many of the hostels were full and really expensive.
We took a trip to the football museum in Sao Paulo where they celebrate Brazilian (and world) football. As well as the usual information panels and interactive displays, Gary got to try his skills on the speed kick machine. A surprise was finding an All White kit in the museum shop, although a bit expensive to justify buying.
We took a free Old Town walking tour, which was a great way to see the old town and to learn about some of the history of Brazil, São Paulo and the buildings in the Old Town. Some of the places we visited included the Municiple Theatre, City Hall, the Itália building.
Having enjoyed the free Old Town walking tour we decided to also do the Paulista Ave walking tour. This was in the new part of town but still had a few of the orignal buildings that are now protected from development.
We took the
bus to Rio, which had spectacular scenery on the way. In Rio we visited Sugar Loaf mountain approximately 396m above Rio, we took the cable car and changed at Morro da Urca. Unfortunately the day we visited the sky was hazy and not very clear but we could still see Christ the Redeemer in the distance as well as the beaches and different parts of Rio. From the top we had a great view of the domestic airport, it was great watching the planes fly through the mountains and would be an even better view from the planes.
We visited Copacobana beach for some sun and a swim. We decided to try one of the beach front restaurants for lunch before heading down to the water. The water was very refreshing but unfortunately the beach was much dirtier with rubbish than I expected.
We took a minibus to the top of the 710m high peak known as Corcovado (hunchback) to the foot of Christ the Redeemer. Luckily this time the sky was much clearer so we had some fantastic views.
Through our hostel we arranged to go to a football game at the Maracana stadium, where the
World Cup will be held. It was an important game between Flamenco and Club Leon (Mexican) in the Cops Liberatories. It was chaos getting in and Gary had to enter via the local entrance, which had police out in force, which was just as well as the fans were not happy about being late for the game so tried to rush the gates. The game itself was good, although Flamenco lost, sending them out of the competition. The locals were not happy.
Overall we were surprised how little English (and Spanish) they spoke in Brazil especially with the World Cup and Olympic Games coming. When we left Rio we booked our flight that was leaving from the domestic airport about 6km from our hostel. We booked a taxi through the hostel for our early morning pickup. When he arrived we confirmed that we wanted to go to Santos Dumont airport and off we went. Gary opened google maps to follow our trip to the airport using the GPS (as he always does when we are in taxis).
After a few minutes Gary thought we were going a strange way there so confirmed again the name of the airport
with our non-english speaking driver. Soon after this we realised we were heading to the international airport so started saying no and the name of the airport we wanted to go to. Gary tried to show him on the map but he continued to drive to the international airport. We got on the motorway and were off with us still saying no. We could see the traffic going the other way was at a standstill but continued to struggle to get him to understand us. Eventually I was able to load the email confirmation and he finally understood that we wanted to go to the other airport, but by this stage we were pretty much outside the international airport. We turned around and joined the crawling traffic back in the other direction. Eventually we made it to the airport 1 hour and 15 minutes after we left. He tried to argue that we hadn't paid him enough because he went all the way to the other airport but we just gave him the amount the hostel told us and walked off.
Next stop Sucre Bolivia!
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