End of Rio, Florianopolis and Igazu Falls (i.e. the end of Brazil)
Iguassu Falls, Brazil
Hello everyone! Hope you are all well. Since the last blog entry we have ended our time in Rio, journeyed to Florianopolis - an island seaside resort in southern Brazil and finished Brazil on a huge high at Fall Do Igazu.
Sophie and I went to Gloria Blocko during the day (which was in honour of the Beatles!) with a few of our friends. I have to say it felt like the whole of Rio had come out, it was so packed you could hardly move (and the Beatles covers weren´t the best covers I´ve ever heard!). Therefore we decided to move on to another Blocko we had heard about in Santa Teresa (a beautiful part of Rio just a bit higher up the hill from where we were staying in Lapa. The Blocko´s are like big parades that everyone takes part in (as I mentioned in the last post) and they have big drum bands at the front of the parade and everyone just wanders down the streets drinking and dancing, as a huge group. It was really hot and we just wandered down through the back streets of Rio following the Blocko. Everyone was dressed up and singing and dancing to the drums. It was definitely the best Blocko we have been to in Rio. Later on we went with a few friends to a party at a hostel in a Favella above Ipanema beach. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience!! The Favellas used to be run by the ´drug lords´ in South America, however in the past couple of years they have started to clean them up and police them heavily, which is apparently due to the fact the World Cup and future Olympics are to be held in Rio. So for all those worried about journeying into a Favella (as long as it is a ´cleaned up´one) they are probably now some of the safest areas in Rio. Favellas are placed high up in the hills of Rio, so the safety of getting up to them is a different story!! Rather than get a motor bike taxi up (we saw the drivers of these downing bottles of vodka and when they drive they swerve in and out of traffic) we got a mini bus up. The problem is the roads are so windy and steep, (and they overloaded the bus!!) the driver kept stalling and having to take 2 or 3 runs at each hill. The view from the top was absolutely worth it though! The hostel had huge decking outside on a few layers. So we danced to the early hours high on a hill on decking looking out over Rio, the beaches and the sea. I don´t think I can do it justice how beautiful it was. The next couple of days we went to a few more Blocko´s, heard loads more drums, danced and drank. We shared huge 2L tubes of beers in the rain (refusing to leave the beer and hide under shelter like everyone else, because we are English and we never waste a beer!!)
On the 24th Feb we got an overnight bus to Florianopolis. The buses are amazing, they recline really far back, they have air con, free cans of water and a reasonably nice toilet. Florianopolis is beautiful, a much more chilled atmosphere than we had been used to in Rio. Unfortunately our hostel was a bit rubbish and dirty, but the beaches and views made up for it! On our first night we had a huge fish feast with thousands of prawns, crab rolls, huge ´pieces of fish, chips and rice and beer, all for about 7 pounds each! The second day was a bit overcast - which was good for me and soph because we were pretty badly sunburnt! So we played cards and hung out at bar on the beach most of the day. In the evening we decided to go for a BBQ on the beach. The boys made a fire from scratch while us girls prepared prawn, chicken and sausage skewers. It was absolutely amazing until we got caught by a thunder storm (luckily we had eaten most of the food by then)!! We had to quickly gather our things and walked back in the sea in the dark. Even though there was a thunder storm it was still so warm, it was a really fun experience, and we got a lot of funny looks from the locals walking back drenched carrying BBQ equipment!! The next day we didnt do much apart from go out for a pizza in the evening. On the 27th Feb we had a lazy morning then caught a boat 45 minutes into the Lagoon in the middle of the Island. It is called Costa Do Logoa and is apparently where all the rich Brazilians have their holiday homes.......when you see it, you see why!! It is a gorgeous secluded little island, which you can only get to by boat. We got dropped off by a waterfall and swam in the pools of it until sunset, listening to music and having a few drinks. Once it was dark we went back down to the lagoon where we had been dropped off and swam there until the boat picked us up at half 9. It was the warmest water I have ever ever swam in and it was warmer IN the water than out! The next day we caught another overnight bus to Foz Do Igazu.
Foz Do Igazu:
We arrived into Foz Do Igazu and caught a taxi to our hostel - the Blue House Hostel. The hostel is amazing it has an outdoor pool, outside kitchen, a pool table, the staff are amazing and huge speakers to plug your ipod into. We dropped our bags off and journeyed into Paraguay for the day (it only costs a pound on the bus to do it, because it is where Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina all join, so it takes no time at all to cross into each of them). We were on the hunt for electronics which is apparently what loads of westerners do in Paraguay. I wanted a camera (to finally replace my stolen one) and the others were after a tablet. Paraguay was absolutely crazy. Once you were on one side of the road it took about half an hour to cross to the other because of the markets, stalls and people constantly hastling you to buy things. It is basically a huge street of just electronic shops, and men leering at us because of what we look like. We felt highly uncomfortable, but luckily we had Tom with us, and it is harmless, just uncomfortable. We wanted to leave pretty much as soon as we were there, but we had success and I now have a camera and we all got cheap little tablets.
The next day (yesterday) we went to the Brazilian side of Igazu Falls. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is amazing, so so so many different waterfalls all coming together as one. The walks are all free (once you have paid entry!) and the walkways take you out onto platforms that go into the falls itself. On one we were just above a huge drop in the falls and looking down, seeing the huge volume of water and seeing how fast it is going is really something else! We got absolutely drenched, but luckily had bought rain ponchos. We are about to go to Argentina now, to see the Argentinian side tomorrow.
I´ll post again soon, but loads of love to you all. Missing you lots xxx