Rio de Janeiro

Trip Start Jun 29, 2009
Trip End Feb 04, 2010

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Monday, June 29, 2009

Day one
We had a long 11 hour flight sat next to a rather large Scottish man who had tickly arm hair. Thankfully he slept the whole way with a blanket over his head!! On arrival in Rio we were greeted by a Portuguese speaking taxi driver who took us to our hostel. This was truly terrifying as he weaved in and out of the traffic and took absolutely no notice of red lights or speed limits. We were relieved to make it to the hostel in one piece. After a long day of travelling we were glad to have finally arrived. We were shown to our room and got into bed feeling somewhat overwhelmed. We fell asleep feeling both excited but nervous about what the light of day would bring.

Day two
We woke early and went downstairs for breakfast where we met some other travellers who were staying in the hostel. Lee was relieved to hear other English speaking people as his combination of Spanish and French had not gone down too well the night before in a Portuguese speaking country :-) We made our way to the beach and after negotiating a good price on some deckchairs we had a relaxing day in the sun in temperatures over 30 degrees. The beach was beautiful and the sea was clear blue and warm. We realised that this was what we had spent the last 8 months saving so hard for and it all seemed so worth it! We had a late lunch in a quaint little cafe and left satisfied that we had managed to order cheese toasties and cokes. At night we went for a bite to eat and then to to a bar for a drink. Lee managed to order himself half a pint for himself and a glass of red wine for Celia - at least that is what we think it was!

Day three
We decided to walk the three miles to Sugar loaf mountain today. We set off along the entire length of Copacobana beach then through the streets of Rio before hitting a very steep hill between the mountains. Realising that there was no other way we huffed and puffed our way up and back down the other side. We eventually reached Sugar loaf and Lee immediately wanted to turn back when he saw what he described as a cattle box going up the cable. It turned out that this was just for cargo and we went up in a big glass capsule much to Lee's relief! The views from the top were breathtaking. We could see the whole of Rio from every angle (our binoculars came in handy here!) We decided to walk about 20 minutes then get a bus back. We got on the right bus but it was going in the opposite direction. Thankfully the conductor showed us on to another bus for free as we were worried that we would have to walk the 8 miles home as we had no money left on us. By this time we only had around an hour of daylight left so we were relieved to get back to the hostel just as the sun was setting. 

Day four
Today we had planned a day on the beach but it was pretty overcast so we took a walk along the seafront then went up to the lake where we sat on a jetty and read our books. We had a chilled out day and went back to the hostel where we cooked dinner and sat around drinking and chatting with fellow travellers until late.

Day five
This morning we took a bus to the botanical gardens where Lee was delighted to see some monkeys! We had a pleasant stroll around the gardens then got a bus back to Ipanema. The weather was again overcast unfortunately so we were unable to spend any time on the beach, however Lee had kindly organised for us to go and watch some Brazilian football in the afternoon :-)  Flamengo played Vitoria at the Olympic stadium and although the quality of football did not compete with English football, it was entertaining and the atmosphere was amazing and the fans were rowdy! Celia was pleased that there were 4 goals (though one was disallowed) and she secretly enjoyed it!

Day six
The sky was clearer this morning so we took a bus to Corcovado mountain and got on the train up to see Christ the Redeemer . As we got to the top the sun had come out and we got fantastic views across Rio. We were amazed at how a train can take you all the way to the top. This was our last day in Rio so we stayed up late with friends we had made in the hostel drinking and chatting before retiring to bed for our first night in a dorm!
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Where I stayed
The Lighthouse Hostel
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