Days 1 - 3: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Trip Start Sep 23, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Walk on the Beach Hostel

Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Thursday, September 26, 2013


Kelly kickstarted the telling of our South American story yesterday with an account of our first experiences of 'sound' in Brazil. If you haven't read it yet check it out at here. On top of telling about all the sounds, smells, sights and tastes of Latin America, every now and again we'll be updating this blog to give a day-by-day account of what we've been up to. So...where to begin? 

Day 1  - London, a lot of flying and a little bit of Rio! 

Having said goodbye to the last of our friends in spectacular style, the moment was finally upon us. One of the best things about travelling is meeting weird and wonderful people, and as we waited to board our flight at gate 41 of Heathrow airport, we got chatting to an elderly couple who really put the 'strange' in 'strangers'. Of all the reasons to be going on holiday, 'to celebrate the lives of our dogs' wasn't what we expected to hear; suddenly their dog jumpers and earrings made sense. 

After a fairly uneventful 13 hour flight, with the main excitement being the fact that we had telephones built into our seats, we touched down in the City of God. Exhausted from all the travelling and still not used to the 4 hour time difference, we collapsed onto our very 'luxurious' foam mattress bunk beds. 
Day 2 - admin, beaches and a monsoon.

With cheese and ham sandwiches pinched from the breakfast buffet to make up our lunch we headed out to do a few jobs. After a lot of speaking to shopkeepers in English but with what we assumed was a Portuguese accent and angering a small 'carioca' (local) gentleman who clearly expected us to understand the bizarre queuing system in Brazilian banks, we had travel adaptors and money.  

In the afternoon we finally felt the sand of Copacabana beach beneath our feet. As described in Kelly's earlier post, the walk was cut a little short by rain that even by British standards was quite spectacular! That evening we headed to the hostel bar and tried our first caipirinha, Brazil's speciality cocktail. 

Day 3 - downtown and the £2 meal. 

Highly recommended to us by the hostel, this morning we caught the subway to 'downtown' Rio for a free walking tour. The tour began at Carioca Square in the shadow of the world's 4th ugliest building, and took us to a bakery visited by the Queen, a few historical landmarks, Rio's famous Lappa arches and the Santa Teresa steps. After lots of pictures and climbing around, we headed back to the hostel for a rest before making the most of a fairly sunny but still a bit chilly afternoon on the beach. 

In the evening we stopped at a nearby street food shop. These open-fronted restaurants look similar to British kebab shops but are packed with fresh fruit used to make amazing smoothies and a huge selection of delicious Brazilian samosa-like finger foods (click here for more details). For £2 each we had a coxihna, hamburger and chips and a drink! Not bad! 

Day 4 - incredible views

Today we decided to venture into one of Rio's urban jungle areas. The Catacumba Park lies in the centre of the city but boasts wildlife that includes pythons and coral snakes. Fortunately we didn't see any of these but we had a great walk to an incredible viewing point that overlooked Ipanema. Over lunch (yes, more cheese and ham sandwiches, but this time with jam to really spice things up!) we shared ice cold coconut juice - you see a lot of discarded coconuts walking around Rio. 

We'd been told that the views from a rocky outcrop between Copacabana and Ipanema beach were spectacular at sunset and so in the evening we headed there. We weren't disappointed and were even entertained by a couple of kite boarders who were braving the ferocious waves. 

We thought by now it was time to sample some of Rio's nightlife and so after drinks at the bar, we hit a club on the beachfront for what we hoped would be an authentic Brazilian night out. Well to be fair, we caught about 20 minutes of the samba band playing but then found ourselves dancing until the early hours to a playlist that Ocean in Nottingham would have been proud of! 
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Uncle M on

Photo 49 is an absolute disgrace! Photo 87 is a dead ringer for Ni!

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