S: after a nice easy quick flight we arrived in Rio, and headed to the area of Lapa. We found a hostel and put our heads down ready for a full 5 days of fun there.
We found the national museum and learnt lots about the Portuguese during the invasion and the journey to freedom for the Brazilians. James's foot was playing up, so we headed back to the hostel for some rest.
J: the next morning was hot and sunny so we hit Copacabana beach, it's a stunning beach with many people playing volleyball, working out on the beach gym, tanned model looking women and unfortunately too many guys in budgie-smugglers. Once we laid down we quickly noticed lots of guys walking past selling lots of different things including sunglasses (Sam needed a new pair after sitting on hers) and Caipirinha's. It was perfectly relaxing, then we went for a swim and the beach quickly drops off deep and the waves were incredible strong, Sam got knocked over by one which then washed her up the beach like a rolling sausage, it was funny to watch. I enjoyed playing in the surf but they were defiantly the strongest waves we have found in our travels. It was a great beach day.
S: James had contacted a guy that provided food tours and unfortunately there wasn't one available in our time frame. The guy was really nice and provided us with a copy of the food tour, so we decided to go by ourselves. We started off at the local street market, eating a pancake called tapioca, we had one with cheese and herbs in the middle. It was delicious, no wonder there was a long queue. Next we tried Atemoya which is a custard fruit and their mangoes. They were delicious and made all the more authentic by eating them on the side of the market. At the end of the market, there was a stall that sold Pastels and Sugarcane juice. We ordered one of each to share, with the server wanting to talk English with us lol. Wow, they were amazing light crispy batter pockets filled with cheese and curried shrimp. It was all so good, we had another to eat lol. We hopped on a bus to another place called Tacaća do Norte. It was a limited seating place, with stools all around the middle counter. We had a bowl of Açaí, which is a deep purple fruit, puréed into a cold sorbet. We used tapioca and granola as toppings. It was very filling but delicious, I was glad we were sharing. At the same time we ordered the Cerveja Açaí, which is a stout like Guinness, flavoured with Açaí. It was the best tasting stout I'd had ever had, as well as being a strong beer at 7.2%.
J: after this we headed to Bar do Gomez, which was the next recommendation on the tour. So far we had halved all the foods and we were simply so stuffed we skipped Bolinhos mistos, and just enjoyed a few cerveja's at the funky pub. Now Suitably fed and watered, we headed to Sugarloaf Mountain, with the plan of watching the sunset from the top. But when we arrived, we didn't realise how busy the cable cars would be and had to queue for nearly 2 hours before getting to the top. We got to the summit just after the sun had gone down over the far mountains. The sky still had beautiful lilac colours and the lights of Rio city had started to switch on below us. It was a fantastic view point over Rio. Later as we got closer to the hostel, all of the local streets were alive with people dancing and enjoying food in the streets. It was incredible to see.
S: we had decided to visit Christ the Redeemer early in the morning as we had heard the queues get crazy. We hopped onto one of the buses and in our broken Spanish asked for corovodor (meaning mountain) and off we set. We arrived about 8.30 and there was only a few people in front of us. We quickly purchased our tickets and headed to the trams. We actually wanted to climb the mountain but do to James's foot, we decided it probably better to take the trams. The tram was the second one of the day, and it was so worth getting up early and not going partying as there were still a lot of people around but it was spectacular. It's strange to think you have seen it many times on TV and in films but now we were actually there standing at the foot of Christ the Redeemer. We walked all the way round to see the spectacular views of Rio and of the statue itself, it really is quite a beautiful city. On the way back down we decided to have a quick beer to celebrate making it to another 'must do' on the world list. It was a surreal location, sitting in the sun, drinking your beer looking at the iconic Christ the Redeemer. As we were up early we headed to the beach and found a guy cooking some sort of batter, that came out all hot and then he halved them and filled them with nutty chilli sauce, hummus and shrimps. The shrimps were whole, and I knew that James was waiting for me to comment about I couldn't eat them. But I manned up and gave them a go, and we really enjoyed the fritters. Then to catch some final rays we headed to Copacabana beach, where we had a hard afternoon of drinking all different types of Caipirinha's.
J: that evening for our last South American dinner we treated ourselves to a traditional Brazilian meal, of steak cooked on hot stone at the table. It was a meal for two and it was both enormous and so tasty we finished the whole thing. The next morning, we quickly brought some new Havaianas and visited the metropolitan Cathedral. I must admit I didn't think it was attractive as far as religious buildings go. The outside looked like a power plant but the inside had four massive stained glass windows which were impressive. Then we caught our flight out of Brazil.
J: Brazil has been great fun. We have been able to visit some beautiful and iconic places in the country. It would of been a fantastic county to explore more if we had more time. But Rio should really be on everyone's list to visit, it's an amazingly diverse city with lots to offer.