This is the end....

Trip Start Jun 15, 2004
Trip End Jun 15, 2005

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Monday, June 6, 2005

Monday June 6th 2005
Hard life, so have to get up, have nice buffet breakfast, and go to the beach at the back of the hotel - whicb has the odd fisherman, sunbather, and thats about it - and then play in the nice and big waves that slam into the sand.

Do of course then have to briefly use the hotel swimming pool, and then back to the centre to drop off the car - we had overestimated the amount of petrol needed, but their english seemed to dry up when we wanted some money for the petrol....

Catch a flight to Sao Paulo, where you see as you fly in hundreds and hundreds of skyscrapers - amazing sight, but I guess this is one of the biggest cities in the world, but this was just incredible, land, and then catch the next flight to Rio.

Discover we are sat net to a Brazilian, originally from the UK, who is very helpful - tells us where to go and not, and even gives us a ride in his taxi (his company are paying) to a hotel he has found for us, a little expensive, but via him (ie in Portugese), they offer us an apartment, onle block back from Copacabana beach..a result - superb, big apartment, in a perfect location - what a nice guy!!

Tuesday June 7th 2005
Wander through Copacabana side streets, and reach an amazing shopping centre, cheap(ish) and with lots to buy....and I dont have to carry things any longer as my next trip is home!

Gets dark here at around 6ish, but dont feel unsafe even with Rios reputation

Wednesday June 8th 2005
After waiting for an hour on the wrong street for a bus, catch a Taxi to go and see Cristo Redentor, or better known as the Jesus figure that overlooks Rio.

The statue is huge, and impressive, but the views are even better - stunning views all over Rio - the Maracana football stadium, Flamego, Batafago, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Copacabana, Ipanema, to name but a few, as well as seeing my one and only Favela (shanty town) in Rio - I thought they would be covering every mountainside.

Then onto the beach, not just any beach of course, but Copacabana - guess doing this, as well as Bondi, I must have done the worlds most famous beaches by now.

Evening went to an expensive buffet style restaurant, wher you get your side orders, and then they come round with nice chunks of different meat, and you just choose - gorgeous!

Thursday June 9th 2005
back to the beach this morning, where I again try and beat the huge waves, and where one wins hands down - smashing me to the bottom, and keeping me there for a very long time - I felt almost concussed. To add to that, when I did finally emerge, another waves did the same - time to lay on the beach for a while.

Caught the cable car (well, 2 of them), to Sugar Loaf mountain, that other famous Rio site, to supposedly catch the sunset - except you dont really see the sun going down because of the mountains and haze.

Nevertheless, bright red skys, and then get to see Rio by night, which is as beautiful as day, with Jesus glowing away on the mountain in the distance

Friday June 10th 2005
For once got up early, and went to use the hotel swimming pool, but it was just too early and windy on the top of the hotel, so gave up and returned to the beach, and then caught a bus into the city centre.

The city centre is OK, but the nice buildings seem to be surrounded by ugly ones, the cathedral is a horrible 60's monstrosity, and your constantlty paranoid about getting your camera out - you get regular warnings from everyone. Nevertheless, the city had a good vibe, even if there are limited things to do there.

Caught a bus back, which whilst going to the right place, took the scenic route, so looked at pretty much all of southern Rio (beach areas) from the bus window

Saturday June 11th 2005
Caught a short taxi ride to Rio's other famous beach, Ipanema, which is remarkably similar to Copacabana, though a bit busier, and the shops behind are a bit nicer and more expensive, but still did battle with the huge waves.

Pretty much spend the whole day here - just lounging and swimming, as per my plane for my last few days set over 12 months ago!

Sunday June 12th 2005
Very quiet, being a Sunday, and left mid afternoon for the international airport, for Sandy to catch her flight. Airport is a 60's / 70's monstrosity, very uninviting, and then returned for my last night of my trip.

A few beers, and sleep.

Anybody who knows me can probably guess who I stole the title of this trip from, and I guess, in travelling, I have now found what Im looking for. Maybe this year would not have suited everybody, but It was the greatest thing I have ever done, and, whoever you are, stop making excuses why you cant, just go, you will not regret it!

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