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The Big Trip. Stephen, Laura, James and Sinead head for an epic adventure: 17 weeks in South America 8 weeks in New Zealand 2 weeks in Fiji 11 weeks in Australia 14 weeks in South East Asia.

Rio de Janeiro

BRAZIL | Sunday, 26 April 2009 | Views [1335] | Comments [2]

Rio. What an awesome city? 7 nights there just wasn't long enough. None of us wanted to leave this incredible place.
The hostel was cool and all the staff were really nice. Especially Bill the night porter who continually threw us out free beer and cake. He only a few words of English but we still had very funny conversations. The hostel room was about 10 foot by 6 foot with four beds in the room and no window. It felt like a prison cell especially the day when we were stuck inside because the rain poured all day. When it rains in Rio it really rains. Not Irish rain but proper floods appear in minutes.
When visiting Rio beaches were a must. First morning we hit Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana. Under the baking sun we were all thrilled. After months and months of saving and planning were finally here. Rio de Janeiro. Myself and James didn't pluck up the courage to wear speedos. Our pasty white bellys stuck out a mile amongst the beautiful tanned masses. After the beach we got on a bus to Botafogo. Unfortunately it was the wrong bus. As the bus travelled through the favelas (slums) my blood pressure rose a bar or two. All the books about Rio say it is so dangerous that I was convinced we would be robbed. We stayed on the bus to the end and then with some waving and pointing I managed to convince the bus conductor to let us stay on the bus and bring us back to Copacabana. As soon as we got to somewhere we recognised we hopped off and walked back to the hostel. We decided that there was no need to do the favela tour. We had already seen enough.
Next on our checklist was Cocovada, (Christ the Redeemer). We went up early Wednesday morning. The statue is an incredible piece of engineering and the views were amazing. Rio is nestled between the sea and mountains covered in rain forest. After our visit to Christ we headed for Santa Teresa. We got a rickety old tram through the town. It was a nice quaint old town but we bored quickly. We looked for the steps my friend had recommended we see. We had no idea what they were called and hadn't brought a guide book with us. After walking around aimlessly for half an hour Sinead bought a magnet with a picture of the steps. We hopped into a taxi and pointed at the magnet. Our sense of direction is awful because a couple of minutes later he had dropped of off at what we now know as Escadaria Selaron. These steps lead down from Santa Teresa to Lappa. Since 1990 a man has been continually tiling the steps. He constantly changes the tiles and travellers bring him tiles from around the world to add to he work. Really cool and definitely worth a look.
We could not visit Brazil without seeing a football match. We went to see Fleminese play Aguia in the Maracana Stadium. The world cup final will be played there in 2014. It is a really impressive ground. The crowd was really small as it was a cup game against a crap team but there was still a great atmosphere. Fleminese scored 3 goals in the second half, the first of which was a cracker.
Next on out itinerary was the sugar loaf (Pao de Acucar). This volcanic rock in the bay between Botafogo and Copacabana is 395 metres high and gives an incredible view of Rio. We went up an hour before sunset so as to watch the sunset behind Christ de Redeemer. We never saw the sun set because of clouds but instead were treated to a huge lightening storm on the horizon behind Christ. Very cool!!
On our final night we hit Lappa. A few to many beers must have been had. We never heard out alarm and never got up for the 9am bus to Paraty. The highlight of the night was our taxi journey home. The driver was a complete nutter. He blared out the samba music and was dancing and singing in his seat while driving. When we arrived at out hostel he hopped out and continued to dance on the footpath. What a crazy man! Photos attached.

Tags: rio de janeiro

Comments

1

Hey Big Trip! We liked your blog and decided to feature it in our "Popular Stories this month" this week so that others could enjoy it too!

Happy travels!

~World Nomads

  World Nomads May 19, 2009 3:22 PM

2

good times bud brings back a few memories good job buddy

  smithers May 5, 2010 11:49 AM

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