Note: This is a condensed version of the pictures I took with some added narrative. The rest of the pics can be viewed in the album Trip 2013 – Jericoacoara to Newport. Each picture can be clicked to see a larger version and comment / like.
Sadly we had to leave Jericoacoara in the north of Brazil where we had spent the last 6 days but all was not lost at the next destination for us is arguably one of the best cities in South America, Rio de Janeiro.
Coming from the north of Brazil on a domestic flight you sweep in frighteningly low over central rio then bank sharply in front of Sugarloaf Mountain before turning into Santos Dumont airport
We arrived the evening the 30th of December and headed over to the apartment we would be staying at for the next two weeks.
We knew months ago that we wanted to be in Rio for New Years Eve so started looking for places to stay. Thats when we discovered quite how expensive Rio is. The cheapest hostel we found wanted $80 for a single bed in a 12 man dorm for NYE with a minimum stay of 4 nights, hotels started at $250 per night for a room.
We started to worry that our plan for NYE in Rio wasnt going to be feasible. Thats when I decided to check out AirBnB which I had read much about. Im glad I did as I found this beautiful apartment in Botafogo a really nice district in Rio. I contacted the owner, Claudia, and secured it for our stay for a very reasonable price.
When we rocked up Claudia and her daughter Elisa and her boyfriend Lucas greeted us warmly and after a refreshing shower and change of clothes they mixed one of the best Caipirinhas I had had so far. Thats when I knew we had made the correct decision with booking the apartment.
The next day we had just enough time to hit the shops looking for something white to wear for the evening madness on Copacabana.
And then the evening was upon us, a few fortifying drinks and we headed out.
We didn’t really know the way to go but we needn’t have feared as there were huge crowds of people all heading down to the same place, Copacabana beach.
Wow, it was sheer madness down there. 2.5 million+ people all in one place at once is quite a sight
It took us far longer than expected to push through the throngs of people crowding the beachfront. We reached Lucas’ shop / bar where we were meeting him and Elisa just in time to grab a bottle and head down to the beach for the countdown
Then the sky tore asunder with the most impressive fireworks display I have ever seen
Much of the rest of the evenings was quite a blur but I remember thoroughly enjoying myself
We spent much of the following day in bed recovering and were up and back in tourist mode the day after. First up was a visit to the Botafogo Botanical Gardens.
A huge place with all manner of different trees and flowers
The following day we headed down to the famous Copacabana beach again
The intention was to go for a swim in the ocean but we really didn’t fancy the look of the green, heavily polluted water. It didn’t seem to stop some local nutters from enjoying themselves though
Next up was a trip north to the Lapa district where we went to look at the famous steps. After walking around in the 40 degree heat for over an hour getting lost (my fault) we finally arrived to what we thought were the steps
We weren’t very impressed by Selarón’s creation and left after a short while. Turns out they weren’t the actual steps and just some random steps, woops! It was seriously hot that day though I managed to convince Kelsie to take a short journey to MAR the Museum of Art in Rio.
Some of the stuff there was interesting other stuff was really weird such as a framed half opened packet of salt or a video of transexual eating watermelon.
The next day we hit the Ipanema Hippie Markets for gifts and souvenirs
There was some interesting stuff there but what fascinated me most was the artwork on display
In my opinion far better than a packet of salt. We spent the rest of the day sampling the food and chopp (mug of beer) in a local pub
Next up was the most famous tourist attraction in Rio
There were some stunning views from up there
Afterwards we decided to head over to Sugarloaf mountain. On the way we passed this small beach which highlighted one of the great sadnesses about Rio..
It was truly horrific, and that isn’t a scratch on what Copacabana was like post NYE, we even saw a dead turtle washed up on the beach in Botafogo.
Anyways, the walk up to Sugarloaf was really nice and we got to see some little cheeky chimps along the way
It wasnt till we hiked all the way to the top that we discovered our error. Apparently you cant purchase cable car tickets from Urca (the midway mountain) up to the top of Sugarloaf, doh! Oh well theres nothing to do then wait here and have a beer and watch the sunset I guess!
The following day we decided to do a favela tour. Basically we were driven to the top of the Rocinha favela (the largest in Rio) and then walked our way down the narrow street till we reached the bottom.
The entire place was a huge confused jumble of buildings, pipes, wires and open sewers. It smelt pretty bad of stale water and there was trash all over the place
The people there seemed happy enough though and we even had a troop of kids play us a tune
As a game developer I was glad to see that even here they were playing games
And then it was almost over, just one or two more days to admire the incredible views and giggle at the strange language
Then it was time to say a sad farewell to Kelsie who was leaving one day before me. We had travelled together for over 5 months in total (with a 2 months gap in between) and in that time I have had some of the best moments in my life. It has been incredible to meet someone who I can not only get on with and makes me laugh constantly but incredibly doesn’t get annoyed with me (much) despite spending every second of every day with me. Hollandaise you will be sorely missed!
Then it was my turn to leave. Before doing so however the awesome Elisa took me out for one last night on the town. Her and her mother made our stay in Rio perfect and if you are planning a trip to Rio I strongly recommend staying with them at their awesome apartment
Then all that was left was to hop on the plane and get my ass home.
I thought it fitting to end my 8.5 month journey where I started, on the front step of my parents place in Newport, Shropshire!