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Published: August 29th 2008
So here we are back home.... We can't believe it's all over, we had mixed emotions about coming home, but we were looking forward to seeing friends and family so much that we had to bring it to an end..... oh, and we'd run out of money too!
So on the 2nd August we landed in Sao Paulo over 24 hours after leaving Puerto Colombia in Venezuela. We were met at the aiport by Marina and Luis who had been on our boat in the Whitsundays in Oz, and we were lucky enough to stay with Marina and her husband Udu for the next 3 nights. While they went to work, we dozed, and then later the 5 of us went for a stroll down the expensive Avenida Paulista. We then went to our first Brazilian BBQ - a churrascaria - which we'd been looking forward to since Luis had raved about it in Oz. And it was brilliant, loads of fun and the food was amazing! There was a small wheel on the table which we had to turn to green or red, depending if we wanted any meat brought to the table. There were over 20 types of
meat - including chicken hearts which are surprisingly tasty! - which the waiters coninuously brought round on skewers straight from the BBQ and we simply had to say yes or no until we were about to burst! Although we did all still manage desert! We had planned to go out drinking after but none of us could even move....
The next day, our first wedding anniversary, Marina took us to this spectacular public market which had us salivating and immediately discussing moving to Brazil! All the fruit sellers were so generous with their tasters of exotic fruits we hadn't even heard of that we probably had our 5 a day just in free samples! We finished our trip to the market with the mother of all sarnies.... an enormous, yummy, smelly mortadella sandwich. See head sized sandwich picture! Next we went to the old part of the city to see the cathedral but we didn't stay long as it's not a safe area. To celebrate our wedding anniversary, the 2 of us went out for a romantic evening. We had to ask directions to the restaurant and as we couldn't understand the Portuguese reply, the guy we asked left
work and walked us there! Thanks to Dan and Nic for paying for our lovely dinner and drinks. We spent the next day with Luis as he drove us around the city and to a couple of lovely parks.
It was great to see Team Brazil again after Oz, thanks guys, and we left Sao Paulo for Rio with a list of must do's and don'ts from their mum!
Well we absolutely loved Rio. We stayed in Ipanema, a couple of blocks from the gorgeous beach and surrounded by bars and restaurants. It's winter in Brazil at the moment so the weather was a bit hit or miss - 30 degrees and sunny one day, 20 degrees and cloudy with rain another. So on our second day when the sky was a gorgeous blue we used up our very last wedding present and flew over Rio in a helicopter! We had the chopper to ourselves (and the pilot too of course) and it was brilliant. We flew over Ipanema and Copacabana beaches to Sugar Loaf Mountain then turned towards Corcovado and the huge Christ the Redeemer statue which we circled before heading back to base. It was truly spectacular,
and Ruth even shed a tear once it was over! Thank you so much Elaine, Graham and Richard, it was the perfect finish to our all brilliant wedding presents. That night we had dinner and too many caipirinha cocktails with friends Pete and Juliet who we'd bumped into on the beach.
Whilst in Rio we also had a good day in the Santa Teresa district which we hung out of a tram to get to. It was the weekend and the streets were buzzing with people drinking and queueing to get into packed restaurants and we also saw a street party dance by. And of course we went up to see Christ the Redeemer. We took a risk going up on a cloudy day but once we were at the top the skies cleared and the sun came out, revealing stunning views. We also checked out the city centre and lazed on the beach, and we loved all of it. We'd definitely like to go back there for a holiday one year.
We had planned to go south but once we discovered that flights north to Salvador were kind of cheap and that it would be warmer up
there, we changed our plans. And we're so glad we did as we loved Salvador too. Salvador has a much more African feel to it and the food, music and beaches were all great. Tuesday nights were a huge highlight for us, when the historical centre of the city comes alive with music, dancers and street vendors. After enjoying a couple of beers outside a bar listening to a cool guitar and drum duo, we would move to the square for street caipirinhas and a BBQ, then later we'd follow the impressive drum bands and their dancers through the cobbled streets, before ending up watching live samba band - see videoclips. Perfect.
We spent most of the rest of our time in Salvador on the lovely Porto de Barra beach, where you could get anything (and I mean, anything!). We generally stuck to cheese on sticks barbecued in front of us on portable cans of hot coals, sausages also barbecued on the beach, beer and more caipirinhas.
In search of even better beaches and more sun, we ventured further north for a couple of days to Maceio, on the recommendation of a waiter in Sao Paulo! Unfortunately the
weather wasn't that great for us but on the one good day we had, we took a jaganda, a small wooden sail boat, out to a natural swimming pool created by the reef, 2km from the shore. We moored up along side lots of other boats, including one with a BBQ on board, for a swim and for yet more beer and cocktails! (there's a definite pattern here....)
We spent our last week in Salvador and later in Rio, eating drinking, lying on the beach and generally relaxing and enjoying our last few days before flying back home....
It's been one BRILLIANT year and a fantastic honeymoon, we're so lucky to have done it. We've been to some wonderful places, seen some amazing sights, done loads of exciting and crazy things and met loads of great people. And we've got on okay with each other too!
And now we're back in Windsor looking for jobs, but that's good too. Wonder where we'll go on holiday next year..... where's the atlas?
Hope you're all okay and that we see you soon.
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