Week 1 - Crazy Rio to Chilled Trindade
Trip Start Jun 13, 2011
57Trip End Jun 12, 2012
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Where I stayed
Kaissara Hostel, Trindade
Ok, Rio - what a place! Absolutely loved it - couldn't think of a better way to kick things off! Everything we hoped it would be - but better! Much less dodgy than we were expecting and really multi-dimensional - each area really does have it's own feel about it. We stayed at the El Misti House just beside Copacabana beach - a great place to take a stroll in the morning sun and really central for getting around the city
On day two we decided to have a bit more of a 'culture' day - we caught the metro (same price - R3 - as the bus but a million times quicker!) to Carioca to see the Metropolitan Cathedral (odd but impressive) then took the Bonde (a crazy little tram thing - but at only R0.60 the best value city tour around!) through Lapa and Santa Teresa, the older more traditional part of the city. You travel past the favelas and the local kids jump on and off (so keeping a hold of your belongings is essential) but it seemed pretty harmless and the atmosphere and views were great. We got off in the the middle of ST and visited a couple of museums and galleries, then walked down the cobbled streets to the infamous tiled steps (Escadaria de Selaron) - an ongoing labour of love for a local artist who we were lucky enough to meet and chat to! We took the metro back to Ipanema - which was nice but i think Copacabana's better - and sat in 'The Girl From Ipanema Park' for a picnic of cheesy puffs and the juciest pears I've ever eaten!
The food was probably the only thing we were a bit disappointed with - there was literally NO cheap healthy food available (apart from the fruit and even that was pretty pricey) - everything was fried stuff with cheese! Obviously there were nice restaurants - but at anything from £20 each for a main course they were totally out of our price range! But even that didn't take away the wonderful experience that is Rio de Janeiro - a chaotic, cultural and crazy city that we feel privileged to have visited
However, as much as it was amazing to start things off with a bang, we were more than ready to head down the coast for a bit of chill-out time - and we genuinely couldn't have found a more perfect place to do that than the little gem that is Trindade! The journey down the Costa Verde was one of the most beautiful we've ever had - only 4 hours on a really comfy bus (R55) to Paraty, then 45 mins (R3) to Trindade, a tiny little village surrounded by lush rain forest and countless picture-perfect beaches and coves, with a really relaxed vibe - just the place to unwind, re-charge our batteries and absorb as much sunshine as humanly possible! The first time we walked down to the beach it took our breath away - arguably the nicest we've been on - but we'll keep an open mind until the end of our trip!!
Our days were pretty much spent chilling out on the beach and swimming in the sea, interspersed with gorgeous walks over the rocks and through the tropical forests - which were just challenging enough to make you feel you'd earned your next lie down on the golden sands! Every day we were accompanied by Teca, who was our faithful friend, companion and guard dog -and who we grew to adore and miss already!
Evenings generally comprised of hanging out at the Kaissara with the friendly staff and guests, chatting, playing cards, exchanging travel tips and a fair amount of alcohol - especially the caipirinhas (which are far too drinkable and Lou is now an expert at making!)!
We were lucky enough to be there for the annual Jazz and Blues Festival in Paraty, which, with it's cobbled streets and colonial buildings make you feel like you've stepped back in time, and was a great setting for the open-air concert.
We had planned to leave for the Iguazu falls on Monday or Tuesday, but after getting advice from the other travelers that a couple of days would be more than enough (and with the added pull of the blissful sunshine!),we decided to extend our stay by a couple of days, which was lovely although indulgent - but hey, we've got a year! So Tuesday felt like a real bonus day, and was probably our favourite so far! The morning was spent luxuriating on the beach (natch!), and in the afternoon Eli (one of the guys who worked at the Kaissara who was a total star) took us up to the waterfall - where he made us jump into the FREEZING cold water, then to the 'swallowing rock' - a tiny crevice in the rocks,with water cascading over the entrance, where you squeeze yourself into - and disappear
So although we were sad to leave, we feel totally rejuvenated, revived, sunkissed and itching to begin our next adventure - next stop - Argentina!!!!