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Published: October 25th 2010
After a pretty uneventful flight from Londres, we arrived in Rio de Janeiro late Monday night. After a slight detour through some of the sketchier parts of town, where business was obviously booming for the “ladies”, the cabbie finally found our Pousada (guesthouse).
The next day we got to see where we were staying. It’s an area called Santa Teresa, which is set up on a hill overlooking central Rio. It’s meant to be slightly rough, but we loved it. It was very bohemian, with loads of artists and street performers wandering around trying to hock their wares. We spent the first day in Rio pounding the pavements in the CBD / central area, including checking out a huge, modern cathedral called Sao Sebastiao. It kind of looks like an upside down cone, and could be mistaken for a large silo from the outside. You can’t see any windows either, but when you go in it’s got plenty of stained glass and is most definitely a church housing up to 20,000 worshippers.
Rio itself is governed by its landscape and our second day was filled with a visit to the Christo Redentor statue (Christ the Redeemer), which is probably
the most famous landmark in Brazil offering views of the entire city. Sandwiched between the Atlantic to the east and the mountains to the west, Rio spreads to any area that will have it, including high up the hill sides where the majority of the favelas lie.
After plenty of tourist activity we were confident that we knew how to tackle the local buses and made our way down to Copacabana beach. This is another jewel in Rio’s crown and the locals have every right to be proud of it, as the beach is vast and immaculately kept. The same cannot really be said of the local’s choice of beachwear which leaves very little to the imagination!?!
Our final day in Rio was spent wandering for HOURS looking for the bus station. The further we walked the less attractive each street became, but eventually we found it and by this stage we were over walking in the heat through some distinctively dodgy areas. We bought our ticket for the next day (after some translation issues...) and then headed for a good lunch which the locals consider to be the most important meal of the day. That night we
decided to explore the bars of Santa Teresa, which were very cool and laid back. We find it odd that very few of the guide books recommend the area as a good place to stay when stopping in Rio, as we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves there. It is only a short trip on the buses to anywhere in the city, and has sensational views by virtue of its hillside setting. The constant breeze keeps the heat and smog at bay, and the cobbled streets and colonial architecture make a pleasant change from the high rises of the city streets below.
With a slight hangover, we headed to the bus station the next morning, and have made our way to a lovely beachside / historical town called Paraty. It’s most definitely a holiday destination for a lot of Brazilians as well as a few international tourists, and is very beautiful. We spent a day generally wandering and exploring the ‘old town’ which is where our hostel is located. The whole area has been beautifully painted, and houses countless little restaurants / cafes in which you can partake in almost any cuisine or quench your thirst. The most common drink seems to
be a large beer, shared between two people in tiny little glasses. The other really common drink is a capahrinha. Obviously being the culturally sensitive tourists we are, we considered it only right to partake in these activities...
Today was spent on a really lovely boat trip around the local islands. We stopped off at 4 different islands along the way, and had the chance to swim off the boat and explore the beaches. It was a lot of fun jumping off the top deck of the boat, and with the diving skills we displayed we are now both expecting to be called up to represent our respective countries in 2012.... SPLASH!
Off to Sao Paulo tomorrow morning, where we are hoping to catch an overnight bus inland to the Iguacu Falls, so we can’t wait to spend a good 24 hours on a coach. We will hopefully get to blog again shortly!!
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