***Still in that basement in deepest darkest Kent, UK***
RIO! COPACABANA! Ayayay!!! We made it. The last official destination on the trip, this is the city we would fly home from. With a little melancholy and a lot of excitement we bussed in to Rio. Avoided getting ripped off in by the taxi services and made our way to our 4 star hotel....yes, 4 star i say....(Thank you, Anisha, for 'sponsoring' our accomodation - hope you didn't mind the daily discussions with the manager about us all staying there ;O) ).
First impressions, lots of stunning graffiti and was that the redeemer on top of that mountain? Yes, i think it was. Back on 'alert' following all advice that you are most likely to be mugged in Rio....we weren't by the way, better safe than sorry!
We check in ahead of friend coming to Rio from London - quite good, considering the room wasn't in Sharan and i's names! Anisha, Al and Chloe arrive, jet-lagged but happy to be here.
Food was varied, not the best i'd had....except for the garlic bread round the corner. Typical restaurants offer a buffet style weigh your food type deal....as mentioned in earlier blogs...a wide variety on offer from sushi to bbq to pasta. Fairly affordable and fills the gap. I recommend pizzerias here also :)
The highlights include:
A day tour around Rio, including a relaxing boat trip on the harbour and best of all, seeing the city from the Christ - breath-taking. Also see the Samba-drome, hub of the carnival each year.
Visit the massive Maracana football stadium to watch a (rubbish) football game - quarter finals for the cope de sol or something, Flamengo v Internacional 0-0 draw. There were flags, ballons, and much gesticulating and swearing from the crowd....and this was in the family section!
Favela tour - a visit to the largest/'wealthiest' favela (it has 3 banks, no robberies here). Had a very interesting local guide....didn't see drug dealers with automatic weapons like other tourists we'd met....must have been a diffeent neighbourhood? Phew.
Copacabana beach....it may be lined with prostitutes at night, but during the day it is fantastic. The sun shines, the massive waves come down and rip off people's swimming cossies, people parade up and down with their bots hanging out, friendly sales people wind their way through the crowds.....and only a minute's walk from the hotel.
Well, we had visitors, a whole two weeks....which is more than enough for Rio....so what do we do? Get out and about a bit of course. Get out of the city, visit a more relaxed locale....Isla Grande, here we come.