Day 240 - Ilha Grande to Rio

Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
Trip End May 01, 2008

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Neither of us slept brilliantly last night, but at least we were able to get up easily and get to the docks on time.

It was a bit cloudy when we paid and left the pousada, which made us relieved that we hadn't tried to squeeze in another night here, as it didn't really look like beach weather today. 


Our boat looked like a huge sailboat but had a big old engine underneath, so soon we were speeding our way away from Ilha Grande and over to a town on the mainland.

On the way back we passed a number of oil rigs, which were a bit unsightly but contribute a massive and increasing chunk of Brazil's GDP.

Boat 3 

We'd used a different town to get to the island the other day, so it took us a few minutes to work out where to go when leaving the boat.

For once we followed the crowd rather than speeding off by ourselves, but it didn't really help because most of the people on the boat were locals going to work rather than tourists getting the bus back to Rio!

We knew that the buses to Rio left every hour on the hour and unfortunately we hit dry land at 9:02 with no sign of any buses whatsoever. We must have missed it.

We looked around for 10 minutes, getting progressively more annoyed about the lack of signs or information before finally spotting a quasi-tourist office by the water.

I should say at this point that after four days of walking through forests and over mountains for up to 4 hours a day in flip-flops or Teva sandals, my feet had been cut to absolute shreds.

I had blisters or cuts at all rubbing points and it REALLY hurt to put any pressure on them, so I wasn't in the mood for walking aimlessly around trying to find the bus stop for Rio.

Katie found out that there was a bus station 2 kms away where the Rio bus left from, so we tried (unsuccessfully) to get a taxi there.

We then tried to get a local bus there, but everyone we asked for help was remarkably unhelpful, so we resorted to stopping any bus that went past and asking them for the bus station until someone replied in the affirmative!

Eventually a driver grunted without shaking his head, so we climbed on, took off all our bags and then had to put them all back on again about two minutes later.

We bought a ticket to Rio with no problems and waited the 40 minutes until the 10am departure.

At 10am we walked out to the stand to see... absolutely nothing.

The bus eventually rocked in at about 10:25am, so it was a good job that we weren't trying to connect with a flight or something.

The journey back to Rio was ok, taking us along the coast...


...before arriving in Rio a few hours later, you might be able to make out the Sugar Loaf mountain.

Sugar loaf

We arrived in Rio at about 1:15pm, got a local bus from the long distance bus station to Ipanema and walked to the same hostel that we'd stayed in at a few days ago.

It was good to be back to what we knew, so within minutes we were checked-in and walking to our favourite lunch place for some cheap and fast food. Again! ;)

After that we split up with Katie going to the beach to try and enjoy some of the patchy sun, while I headed back to the hostel to continue updating the blog and then to watch the Man United v Barcelona Champions League semi 2nd leg.

As you'll know by now United squeezed through thanks to a Paul Scholes Special after Barca bossed the entire game, but it was a fantastic result for the scum without either Rooney or Vidic.

Being a Liverpool fan I was obviously gutted that they went through, but at least it sets up an All English Champions League final for the first time ever.

Now it's just a question of who United will play, Liverpool (hoorah!) or Chelsea (booo hiss) and by the end of tomorrow that will be decided!

However, unfortunately for him, our blog-writing hero here will be on a plane flying back to London Heathrow tomorrow, two hours before the game kicks off, so he will have absolutely no idea whatsoever if his Red Men are in the final until he lands in the UK!

I will be a nervous wreck, so I just hope that Katie's Mum knows who won the game when she collects us from Heathrow Terminal 4!

We were supposed to be flying into the newly opened Terminal 5, but as neither BA or BAA can organise a you-know-what in a you-know-where, we will instead be flying into the rusting shed that is Terminal 4, rather than arriving at the newest and largest single airline terminal building anywhere in the world. Muppets!

Tomorrow we might have an hour or two before we get the bus to the airport and then it's Game Over... the end of the Greatest Trip Of Our Lives and back to our normal lives :( 

For our last evening in Brazil we decided to go out in the flash neighbouring district of Leblon.
We went to a nice cocktail bar first at the top of a beach front hotel; I had a "Ginger Passion" cocktail, which I thought was highly appropriate!

Here's the view from the bar looking over Leblon beach.

Ipanema bar 



After avoiding the temptation of staying there all night supping cocktails, we walked down the beach one last time before heading a few blocks inland.

Beach night

We walked past a few bars which were dead this early and then found one which was absolutely packed.

This was the venue for a few beers... and our very last caipirinhas!

Last Caipirinhas !!

By now we were a bit sozzled, so Katie was able to convince me to go to some poncey fusion restaurant in Ipanema, which was actually delicious.

We washed the lovely food down with a very nice Mojito!

Al dinner

After a fantastic last evening we strolled back to the hostel, full of memories (and alcohol!) and looking forward to our last night's sleep of our 8 month trip.

Lots of love,

Al & Katie xx
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