Hello from Rio!! Having been here for four days already we thought it was about time we jotted down a few notes for our first blog entry. We arrived at our hostel, Yaya Rio, on Wednesday morning….. unfortunately our luggage didn't make it until Thursday evening!! We had predicted that might have been the case as we had to run what felt like miles through Heathrow airport (me in my socks as I didn't even have time to put my boots back on after the security checks) to get our connecting flight and there was no way that our bags would have got through so quickly. So, we were sat on a 14 hour flight all hot and sweaty from our running to find that we had no luggage to get changed into on our arrival! Thank goodness our hostel had towels on our beds and soap in the bathroom! After a good scrubbing we headed into Rio centre armed with a BA debit card to the value of 70quid for us to spend on essentials, of course, this included a pair of Havaianas each! We spent day 2 hanging around a bit waiting on news about our bags and then headed from Ipanema beach to Copacabana beach. It was blazing sunshine so we rolled up our jeans, put on our Havaianas and dipped a toe or 10 into the sea. I ended up almost losing my flipflop to the waves but my gallant & courageous hubby went after it for me and retrieved it. All this excitement made us hungry so we thought we'd go and cause some trouble in a local eatery! Having ordered what we thought was a cheese sarnie and fries (diet still not started) for me and checked with the waiter that it was 'sin carne' we discovered that our version of 'sin carne' and theirs differed in that theirs involved chicken and ours didn't. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing and muchos apologies from me and them I got a very yummy cheese and tomato toastie (very Brazilian!!).After all this excitement we got back to the hostel and waited for our bags - boy were we happy to see them! I didn't know what to wear that night as I had so much to choose from (compared to my one pair of jeans and one t-shirt!!). Yesterday has been our most exciting day so far and we got to see quite a bit of Rio. We joined a tour that took us up into the hills to see the views over the city - pretty spectacular. We were supposed to have gone up to a point called Pedra Bonita but as the cloud was so low we decided that it wouldn't have been worth our while. We did go to the national Tijuca Park and saw a lovely waterfall, lots of amazing plants, flowers and some beautiful butterflies. There' a beautiful big blue butterfly that was flying around - couldn't photograph it as none of then would stay still when I saw them - stunning though, so vivid. From Tijuca Park we made our way up to see the Christ the Redeemer statue. We had to park down at the bottom from where we could see monkeys in the tree - so cute! We got a bus up to the base of the statue and then we walked up to the top. It's very big and pretty impressive. The views from up the top were amazing and you could see all around the whole of Rio from up there. Our guide then took us to a part of Rio called Santa Teresa. It's the bohemian part of town and is a lot more like how I imagined Rio to be. The houses are colonial style and there's a 100 year old tram that transports people around the area - apparently you can ride on the tram for free if you hang onto the outside!! Didn't fancy that myself! We were taken to the famous tiled steps - the steps are tiled with tiles from almost every country in the world - they were very colourful and it was really interesting picking out the tiles from all the different countries. We found the Scottish one although we couldn't find one from England! The tour stopped around there but a group of us got dropped off at the base of sugar loaf mountain so that we could go to the top to see the sunset. We were told that the cable car was 11reals each way and that there were two to get you to the top and two to get you to the bottom…. Or you could climb up the first mountain, get the cable car up to the top and back to the middle level and then wait til 7pm and get a free cable car down to the bottom as they won't leave anyone up at the top after 7pm!! That's what we did! The climb up was pretty hard going but it was worth it to spend the money we saved on a beer at the top!! The sunset was amazing and it wasn't even that good a sunset! The sun set over Christ the Redeemer and it was such a stunning view. A lovely way to finish a really good day - we felt like we were getting to know Rio a bit better.We had a few bit and bobs to do at the hostel today like washing clothes etc but we did make it out for a walk along the lakeside and then to the Botanical Gardens. The gardens are really impressive but due to our lack of ability to find the way in we only managed to have an hour inside to look around - you could have probably spent a day in there! It's our last day tomorrow before we head off to Iguazu Falls. We have booked our bus (all in Portugese so we'll probably end up in Dundee!) so all that's left for us to do is pack! We hope to fit in a favela tour tomorrow morning as well as a visit to the 'hippy market' and maybe even a few minutes on the beach!! Rio has been a great first stop - feels pretty European so not too out of our comfort zone. Has some amazing parts to it that will stay etched on my memory for some time!