First day in rio
Trip Start Nov 09, 2011
70Trip End Ongoing
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What I did
First let me tell you about where are staying... The area is called Santa Teresa an old bohemian part of Rio with very varied architecture spanning many different popular styles of all ages. It is built on a very steep hill and is one of the cultural and historical hearts of Rio de Janeiro with a labyrinth of cobbled streets and steps famous for the very colourful tiled steps of ladeiras which are constantly being added to. Our only disappointment was that the trams were not working as apparently the bone shaking experience of going up hill on them is one to be remembered.
The older gated mansions were built for the cocoa plantation owners and our guest house was one of them. We had a beautiful gated garden which the owner insists we lock everytime we venture in or out as crime is apparently rife here
Our day began with a walk down the steps of laderias which are indeed very interesting and colourful, into lapa, an area famous for the night life, samba and drinking. Eventually managing to get the cash machine working we realised we should have learnt some Portuguese as very few people or cash machines speak english here and our hope of the language being very similar to Spanish were soon dashed.
The next task was getting a bus apparently waiting at a bus stop and knowing the number you need does not equal one stopping for you. Locals were almost throwing themselves in front of them to no avail, luckily after missing two, one such local did manage to get number 107 to stop for us so we could enjoy a hair raising fast ride to sugar loaf mountain.
There are two cable car rides to the top and the amazing views are worth every moment. The first stop half way up has bars and restaurants giving awesome views over the Rio harbour, the Corcovado and the airport and as you go higher up with the second ride you get superb views over Copacabana bay
We seemed to spend ages looking over the beautiful city with so much to see and do it was compulsory, we watched the noisy helicopter take off and land for the city tours and loads of different planes circling round the harbour before coming in to land.
A short bus ride later with heavy traffic making this one less scary, we arrived on Copacabana beach. It was fantastic to just walk along the yellow soft sands and play in the clear blue waves, singing the inevitable Barry Manilow song in the heat of the day .....wow we are here...!! seeing these places is so special to me I love it.....Robin got his socks and trainers soaked while trying to video me paddling in the waves..hehe..
We had a quick walk in the town to buy some more sun cream and then walked through the park to Ipanema. [Robin: The bay around Ipanema was surrounded by awesome hills and mountains, a perfect back drop, whilst out to sea were a number of interesting and varied islands which I felt made this beach feel more welcoming. Both beaches had a mass of flood lights all the way along them. Would be interesting to see them at night. Our arrival on Ipanema was clearly after the schools had finished as it would appear that all the youngsters go onto the beaches as soon as they get home - a tough life
We left Ipanema on the metro and straight back to gloria, the station nearest to Santa Teresa. After the steep walk back up the steps and cobbled streets to the guest house we had a well earned rest. We later enjoyed a quiet evening walk to a very nice restaurant with a pretty balcony and comfy seats overlooking the green hills and interesting houses of the surrounding area, drinking "sex on the beach"...which interestingly was the only thing on the menu actually stated in english.
What a super start and only a possible 284 more days to go...!!
Robin: Shortly after we went to sleep I was awoken by the sound of fire engine sirens. Looking out of our bedroom window a house 100m down the round was on fire. Flames were beginning to come through the roof, even before the emergency vehicles had battled their way up the steep hillsides where we are staying. The inevitable crowd gathered. Hopefully no one was injured. Meanwhile Annie, complete with eye mask and ear plugs (did I mention I snored), blissfully slept through it all (must have been the 'Sex on the Beach' - well she did have two!) And this morning we both watched an entire sun rise at 6:15, truely another awesome day beckons...