Hello everyone, sending lots of love from across the pond and hope everyone is well back in the UK. Here is a quick over view of what we have been up to so far and to let you know we are safe, sound and happy (albeit a little sunburnt)!!
We arrived in Rio about a week ago after a slightly delayed flight, due to the first snow fall in Rome in about 20 years, which naturally meant chaos...so we are glad there is no such a problem in Rio where it has been about 30 degrees every day (don't want to rub it in or anything....). There is a traditional bean dish that the Brazilians make, that is delightful and its very cheap to buy the beans, so we have been eating loads of beans in sauce and rice and bread etc. There is also a traditional brazilian drink called Caipirinha which is cachaca rum mixed with lime and sugar, so it is extremely strong, tastes delightful, and hits you before you know it!!
On the second night we went to see a football match at their Olympic stadium. The main football stadium is under construction at the moment for the world cup. The atmosphere was great fun and there was a thunder storm going on in the background, so the contrast was a beauty! I'm afraid I can't remember the teams that played but they were apparently 2nd and 3rd in the main league (i think). The refereeing was most definitely a bit dodgy and unfortunately we were supporting the losing side.
The beaches are absolutely stunning, with white sands and mountains dotted aroung, Rio is SO HILLY!! Barely anyone speaks english, so there is a lot of english with a portugese accent and hand signals going on, which just makes them laugh at us....as they should!!
We went up Sugar Loaf Mountain on the cable cars just before sunset so we watched the sun set over Rio which was beautiful. You dont quite realise until you are up there how big Rio is, and all the city lit up at night and seeing the favellas high on the hill was a huge highlight!
We also WALKED (not even lying) up to Christ the Redeemer. We were told it was a leisurely 2 hour stroll and you paid less so we thought we would go for it. OH NO it was straight up, nearly vertical (at one point we were pulling ourselves up rocks with a chain that was nailed into the trail) for the full 704 metres. When we eventually arrived at the top covered in dirt the guides were in disbelief that anyone could be stupid enough to walk up when the tram and buses etc are just so lovely haha. At least it was all in the jungle so we were sheltered the whole way up and we saw monkeys on the walk down, which made the whole experience worthwhile, especially the little tiny baby monkeys. The view up there was a little cloudy but amazing again, and i had never realised before that inside christ is actually a small alter.
Since then the Carnaval has started. There is no way to do it any justice, it is something you have to see with your own eyes, but i will try....The streets are full of people dressed in costumes, glitter, playing musical instruments 24 hours a day. They have these parties called blockades that are street parties around Rio. 450 of these have been registered (so that doesnt even include the ones that just happen) so it works out at about 100 street parties every day. There are huge stages doted around Rio where live music gets played, and people play the drums and tamborine in ways I have never seen. The people are great and there are stalls everywhere selling food and drink, so it ends up being like a huge festival. The atmosphere is great, everyone is just there to have a good time. We have met so many lovely people from all round the world, especially loads of australians! apparently they love to party! On the first night of Carnaval we went up to the top of the arches, where the tram usually runs across (it isnt running at the moment for some reason), as it is 5 minutes from our hostel (We are in between Lapa and Santa Teresa) and got an amazing view from up there of everyone partying.
Thats about it for now, we are in Rio until Wednesday then we are journeying on to Florianopolis which we are going to to relax on beaches a bit after carnaval. Our hostel is a bus or train ride away from the Copacaban and Ipanema beaches, so it will be nice to be 5 minutes walk away from the beach.
We are both fine, the only downer has been my camera and dollars got stolen out of my locker, but the ride from the hostel to the police station in a police car with armed policeman gave us a view of Rio we had never seen before....every cloud....We are also staying in a small room with 16 beds in, and to make the room for it the bunk beds are triple decker! We have been staying with Sophie's friends from home Suze and Tom and we are staying with them for another week or so. They are really lovely, so we are just having a great time!
Sending LOADS of love to you all, and if you guys want to send me any updates on your life, please facebook or email me ([email protected]) and il reply as soon as i can. look forward to hearing from you. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx