Day: 5 (afternoon)
Temperature: 30+++ feels like 40Weather: bright yellow sun, blue sky
---------------------------------------------------------Brazil Tour Day 1 - Rio de Janeiro
After having browsed through the tour brochures that the concierge had given us at the hotel, we settled for a four hour afternoon Jeep Tour that included a visit to the Jardim Botanico and the Floresta da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro. These were two attractions that were not part of our main tour and that I definitely wanted to see and do.
We were picked up on time at 2:00pm in front of the hotel. Two people plus two guides (one on training) were already seated in the back of the jeep as we settled at the end giving me better movement to take pictures all around me. It was an open jeep that had a canopy at the top for the roof.
As the driver drove down the busy streets of Rio, the warm breeze was quite refreshing and felt extremely good as I enjoyed myself and savored every scene seen along the way. The tour was given in French and the guide was an ex army person who was extremely passionate about nature. You could feel it in his voice as he described in details the flora and fauna!
Our first stop was at the Jardim Botanico (Botanical Garden) being one of the most beautiful and best preserved green areas of the city having around 6,500 species of plants and trees throughout a huge area of land plus many monuments of historical, artistic and archaeological significance. The park was at the foot of the Corcovado Mountain, a good distance below the right arm of the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Many species of birds and monkeys were also present in the park and we were lucky to see some.
Leaving the garden, we drove into the lush green mountains of the Tijuca Forest that looked more like a jungle that anything else as we went deeper and deeper inside it. A stop was made in which we all got out of the jeep and proceeded to walk along a path where beautiful flora and several species of trees could be observed. Along the path, a beautiful quite tall waterfall gave us great pleasure to look at plus its raindrops were soooo much welcomed under this hot weather of Rio.
After an hour of walking, we were met at the end of the trail by the driver of the jeep who drove us afterwards along a long winding road that brought us to a beautiful belvedere at the top of the mountain. From the Vista Chinesa (Chinese View), the panoramic view of the city of Rio below was absolutely breathtaking. We could admire all at once the Corcovado Mountain with its statue of the Christ Redeemer, the Sugarloaf Mountain, the Ipanema and Leblon beaches as well at a bay.
As the driver drove us back to the hotel, we could see in the far distance the golden sunset reflecting its rays behind the mountains. What we couldn't see was what was happening behind those mountains as the sun was disappearing. The guide didn’t have to convince me twice to go and witness it in person as he described with a deep passion in his voice the details of the phenomenal sunset. So, guess where I’ll be tomorrow night!