We arrived in Rio on the 1st of November and luckily we were able to stay with Whei-Oh, a good friend of Andy’s father. With her hospitality, the excellent and healthy food she prepared, her company and her caring for us, staying in Rio almost felt like home. Besides that she never got tired of guiding us through the city!
On the first morning she took us to the Jardim Botanico, where she has her Tai Chi lessons. In the meantime we got to explore the botanical garden and took dozens of pictures we will show you in one of the following posts.
After having breakfast in the botanical garden cafe, we drove around Rio and had a stop along the western coast. Here we got to enjoy the beach and the warm sun, we had been looking forward to for such a long time!
Tini crunching her thirst with a fresh coconut drink you can get everywhere along the beach for about one Dollar:
On the way back to Whei-Oh’s apartment in Botafogo we stopped at the Praia do Pepino to watch the hang-gliders arriving from Pedra Bonita mountain:
Back home we had a delicious lunch:
As a dessert we enjoyed some of the best fruits we ever ate. The mangoes, pineapples, papayas and all the other fruits just taste so much better in Brazil. You can’t compare them to the taste of the exotic fruits you get in Europe which are harvested much too early and ripe during transport.
After that delicious lunch and the probably most healthy dessert we ever had, we were ready to visit one of the most famous places in Rio, the Corcovado.
Corcovado, meaning “hunchback” in Portuguese, is a mountain in central Rio de Janeiro. The 710 m granite peak lies just west of the city center. It is known worldwide for the 38 m statue of Jesus at its peak, called Cristo Redentor or “Christ the Redeemer”. From up there you have a fantastic view over Rio:
With around 6.5 million people, Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil. The harbor of Rio de Janeiro is comprised of a unique entry from the ocean that makes it appear to be the mouth of a river. This instance is also responsible for the name: When Portuguese sailors saw the bay in January of 1502 they believed it to be the end of a big river and thus named it Rio de Janeiro which translates to “River of January”… Not very creative those lads, eh?
By the way, when Napoleon invaded Portugal, the Royal Family moved to Brazil and made Rio the capital of the kingdom (being the only city ever outside of Europe becoming the capital of an European country). When Brazil became independent in 1822, it adopted monarchy as its form of government.
We enjoyed the sun setting over Rio and plunging the city into beautiful shades of light…
The next morning we took a ferry across the bay to get another view of Rio. Andy doesn’t have any memories of this any more, but apparently he used to enjoy this trip when he was in Rio as a toddler. We passed by the eye-catching old fiscal palace sitting in the Baia de Guanabara.
We had a beautiful view over Rios famous harbor which is surrounded by spectacular geographic features including Sugar Loaf mountain (395 m) on the left, Corcovado Peak (704 m) on the right, and the hills of Tijuca (1020 m). These features work together to collectively make the harbor one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Arriving on the other side of the bay we tried freshly pressed sugarcane juice:
After taking the ferry back, we walked along the beaches towards Copacabana beach. We passed by the famous Sugar Loaf, that we still hadn’t visited but was on the top of our “to-do-list”:
We also passed several open-air sport facilities:
The Estacio de Sa’s monument, in honor of the Portuguese founder of Rio in 1565:
After walking along the beaches we visited one of the markets which was very colorful. It was a pleasure to see and smell all the different fruits and vegetables which were nicely presented. See for yourself:
And of course a visit to Rio is not complete without eating at one of the famous churrascarias.
After loading our plate at the buffet with all kinds of different salads and side dishes, …
the “Passadores” (meat waiters) come to your table with skewer and huge knifes and offer various kinds of barbecued meat. We had beef, pork, filet mignon, lamb, chicken, duck, sausage, fish and we even tried some chicken hearts…
And as you can see on Andy’s face, the meat was DELICIOUS! This was what we had been longing for when refraining from meat in Bolivia!
Outside of the restaurant there was a long queue of people waiting to get into the temple of meat 🙂
That evening we went to Ipanema to watch the sunset at the famous and beautiful Ipanema beach:
It was just perfect to watch the sun go down while having a drink and observing the surfers:
Back “at home” that night, Weih-Oh had again prepared a delicious fish filet dinner:
As a dessert we tried sugar-apples, we had bought earlier at the market:
The fruit tastes very sweet and you just eat the white flesh which surrounds the many black seeds:
The next day we planned on visiting the Centro, Rios bustling commercial district. Since Andy’s last haircut had been in Lima, we stopped at a hairdresser on the way:
After a quick but tasty lunch at a a self-serve buffet restaurant:
And an ice-cream dessert:
We finally managed to get to the Centro of Rio.
We visited the modern Saint Sebastian’s Cathedral, also known as the Rio de Janeiro Cathedral. The construction features a strongly tapered shape:
The stained glass windows running from floor to ceiling are also one of its impressive trademarks:
After more walking we had a delicious “Churro” which is a fried-dough pastry, rolled in sugar and filled with either a chocolate or caramel sauce. It is so tasty, that we could have kept eating them all afternoon… But unfortunately the consumption would have had negative consequences on Tini’s bikini figure 🙂
On a short shopping trip on the way home, Tini bought some flip flops 🙂 A pair of the famous Brazilian Havaianas, that everybody wears in Brazil:
These were our first days in Rio and we really enjoyed them! Of course we also went to the famous Copacabana beach to have a swim in the Atlantic. Because a lot of thefts happen at the beaches, we left all valuables including the cameras at home. This is why there are no pictures of us drinking fresh made Caipirinhas on the beach, being washed away by the breaking waves and getting our first sunburn 🙂
After these few days in Rio we took the plane north to the beautiful island of Fernando de Noronha, a recommendation of Weih-Oh for beautiful beaches and great snorkeling.This entry was posted in South-America, WorldMap
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Rio and one of the most beautiful ports in the world. San Francisco, California and Sydney, Australia being my two others.
Glad to see that you had a local guide as Rio can be dangerous.
Hope you’ll learn to Tango while you’re there.
Caipirinhas, oh so refreshing!