The Drug Wars of Rio de Janeiro
Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
135Trip End Sep 23, 2011
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Being in Brazil, has meant that Rio de Janeiro is a must see and we have been looking forward to for a while….just to see what all the fuss is about to be honest. At the time we thought it was just another city but Rio is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and we now understand why. Rio’s landscape is beautiful. Despite being overcrowded, filled with skyscrapers and favelas (shanty towns that consume the mountainside), the city is surrounded by forest-covered mountains, deep blue sea and gorgeous beaches that I have never seen in a city that is so urbanised. Rio is known for its carnivals and samba and already we plan to return another time for the annual pre-Easter celebration or New Year where 2.5 million people gather at Copacabana Beach to celebrate all night at the hundreds of different shows and events along the beach.
Unfortunately during our 3 day visit we could not go to the two biggest landmarks in Rio: the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of Corcovado mountain (one of the New Seven Wonders of the World) and Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar). Due to the weather being overcast we would not be able to see the (apparently) amazing views of the city so it was not worth going up the cable cars. But from the powers of Google we have been able to supply you with pictures so you can see what we are talking about. Despite not being to see the giant statue during the day; at night when the sky is clear Christ the Redeemer lights up and you can see it from anywhere in the city. It is beautiful….and maybe just a little creepy having a giant statue of Jesus leering from high above.
Regardless of the weather being overcast, the temperatures (unlike home) were a steady 26 degrees so we were able to spend the time on the beaches. By far our favourite was Ipanema beach, but Copacabana and Leblon were equally as nice. The beaches are very clean and full of open-air cafes, bars and restaurants along tree-lined streets. If anyone plans a visit to Rio, the area of Ipanema and Leblon is where we recommend as it has the best restaurants, shops and hotels as it is home to the wealthier residents of Rio. But we stayed in the area of Botafogo which lacks the indulgence of Ipanema but is still quaint and traditional
Our walking tour of the city took us past the historic buildings of Rio including the Teatro Municipal and the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes and the church, Convento Santa Antonio. We also made our way to Praca Floriano, a plaza with an open-air music market and in Centro we went to the famous Saara, a giant street bazaar crammed with stores and market stalls. We originally planned a guided tour of the favelas (not recommended on your own).
Unfortunately, at the time of our visit a tinsy riot broke out on our second day where the police and army had to deploy armoured vehicles and 17, 500 police into Vila Cruzeiro, in the north of the city
Lots of Love,
Hollie and Thomas x x x