We´ve spent the last week in Rio celebrating Carnival! It´s been incredible.
Our hostel provided us with some excellent people for the week although the 16 bed dorm we were in was cramped to say the least!
On our arrival at 10.30pm the hostel owner took pity on us and shoved a nice cold (free) beer into our hands before we got swept away in the crowd for our first Rio night out. It set the tone for the rest of the week! We also threw ourselves into seeing Rio´s sights away from the bars and blocos (street parties) seeing Christ the Redeemer on the first morning. So impressive and it gives spectacular views of the city. That evening we also went up Sugarloaf mountain for sunset and it was breathtaking as the sun goes down and the lights of the city come on.
We also managed to squeeze in a favela tour which was fascinating-we felt completely safe because the drug lord who controls that favela has ordered that no'one touch the gringos. The motorbike ride up to the top of the favela was a little hairy though! We also went to a football match Botafogo vs Flamengo. Unfortunately Flamengo lost which is where we were sitting but the atmosphere was electric until we left when we heard some gunshots fired and the mounted police galloped off to the trouble while the crowds all started legging it the opposite way, We were all fine but a little shaken up.
We also managed to get tickets to the Sambadrome which is the highlight of Carnaval for many as it is a competition between all the best samba schools in Rio. It was AMAZING! The costumes and the floats that they had done, I´ve never seen so much glitter in my life but the entire spectacle was wonderful and hearing the same song that they dance to on repeat for the hour that each parade lasts did mean we could sing along by the end! We also saw the winning school perform which we were pretty chuffed about! We spent some time on Copacabana and Ipanema beaches of course but couldn´t for long as there were no umbrellas left and in the 43 degree heat we probably would have died after 3 hours! Rhys true to his JCR president past arranged a football match for all the boys in the hostel on Botafogo beach which was 2 mins from our hostel. And to do my part I (somewhat intoxicated) said id cook for people in the hostel too. It ended up being for about 30 people and i have never been so stressed in my entire life! It was a great night though as everyone stayed in and played games in the hostel!
From Rio we headed up to the Iguazú Falls on the Brazil/Argentina/Paraguay border. One little 22 hour bus journey later we arrived and spent the afternoon on the Brazilian side of the falls. You get a fantastic panoramic view of most of the falls from here and until you see it you can´t get your head around the magnitude! We had been told that the Argentinian side was much much better than Brazil which seemed hard to believe. We crossed the border in the morning and took a boat trip around the falls-the power of the water and the spray it sends up means you are soaked through. And the Argentinian side was better hands down as you actually walk along the top of the falls looking down.
We are now in Buenos Aires after a legendary bus ride where they gave us a 3 course dinner with wine and the breakfast the next day! We´re looking forward to steaks and tango!
Lots of love, Hannah and Rhys xxxxxxxxx