Rio! Oh Rio! It is a fantastic city – one I wouldn’t mind living in for a while. We stayed right along Copacabana Beach. Hub’s hotel was a 15 minute walk from min, along the esplanade.
Av Atlantica is a big busy road that runs along the coast, following the beach. It was so nice to wake up in the morning and join the hoards of joggers and walkers along the esplanade.
My hotel, the Tulip Copacobana Inn was quite reasonably priced at $100 per night. I had a bigger room than Hubs who was paying more, a balcony with ocean views, and a great restaurant. We ate there one night and both had beautiful meals – Hubs’ had prawns with mango and rice – and it was gorgeous!
My favourite afternoon was a Saturday afternoon in Rio. Hubs and I caught a bus down town to check out the centre. Downtown is not a place to go at night time, so we were told. Downtown was quite nice – some lovely old impressive French colonial and Spanish architecture. We wandered through the antique market, and then decided to grab a bite to eat. We went back to some closed off streets that had cafe and pub table and chairs spilling onto the pavement. It looked cute, so we chose a place and took a seat. Within an hour, all pubs and cafes were packed.
Our cafe had a nice young 3-peice band start playing and it was just lovely – sitting on the street, sun beaming down, beers ice cold, music playing – and the cherry on the cake was a shisha pipe place next door that let us smoke a shisha at the cafe! Hubs said the shisha made her feel like she was high – shame that didn’t happen to me – I just felt happy! It was one of my favourite afternoons in South America.
Along Copacobana beach are night markets every night (except Sunday) selling all manner of things – jewellery, t-shirts, sarongs, souveniers, hats, and hammocks. We got a good deal and bought a hammock each for about A$40. Mine is a double hammock for two people and I can’t wait to put it up at home! Hubs and I decided to buy one because after Rio there’s only two stops then Buenos Aires (we have an apartment there for one month).
We went out on the Saturday night we were there to the happening area where we were told there was a samba festival. No, no samba festival, but thousands of Brasilians drinking on the streets – street vendors selling pina coladas and caprioscas, food, etc. Despite all the streets being shut down and people everywhere, I was surprised that there wasn’t more music playing outside. Neither of us really fancied a night club, so we soaked up the festive atmosphere and went back to our hotels about 2am.
In Rio we went to the best seafood restaurant, Marius, that was a bit like the meat restaurant we went to in Salavador. Endless offerings of seafood – with waiters coming around every few minutes with platters of lobster, crab, bugs, prawns, langostines, everything! It was too much for us – which was a shame since we did want to eat it all! Not possible.
We walked along Impenema Beach – saw the Gay Beach, the Mussel Gym (on the beach). The beach is Rio is a hive of activity. Fit guys playing beach volleyball or beach soccerball, girls in bikinis everywhere, dog walkers, joggers, artists, children – the beach in Rio is used by everyone – young, old, fat and skinny. I think that’s awesome!
We asked Hub’s hotel for a recommendation for a nice seafood lunch and headed to Siri Moles near Impenema beach. It was ridiculously expensive and stuffy like an old gentlemen’s club. We were not given any bread or any friendly service. It was strange as there were only three other tables occupied, yet we were treated without regard. The food was ok, but only ok. Not special, not memorable. We were so disappointed that I wrote a negative review on trip advisor.
I really really like Rio. The weather was awesome while we were there, although the forecast was for rain rain and more rain. We didn’t end up booking an island boat trip because we thought it would suck to do that in the rain – and it never rained!
On our last morning in Rio, we went to the Christo mountain to see the famous statue that looks over the city. I didn’t have much time as I was flying from Rio to Foz di Iguassu (Iguazu Falls on the Brasilian side) in the afternoon and Hubs was taking an overnight bus direct to Iguazu on the Argentinian side.
Christo is impressive – it’s just huge! From up high there you could see the whole of Rio and it is impressive.
I was out of time and had to rush back to my hotel to check out, and get to the airport.
I bid Hubs farewell and rushed out to find a taxi. Do you think I could find a taxi anywhere? I was starting to feel the stress build – so I rant to bus stop and was told that this was not the bus for Copacabana beach. Oh shit!
A kind gentlemen who was travelling with is 25-something year old son, must’ve noticed my panicked look and asked me if I was going to Copacobana and offered to share his taxi. Oh yes! Thank you! He was well dressed, tanned, (old), and spoke perfect Portuguese and perfect English. He was from Portugal – that would help I suppose! When we got to my hotel, he would not let me pay and told me to rush so I wouldn’t miss my flight.
Then he said that they would get out there and walk by the beach – and he arranged for the taxi driver to wait for me to check out and then take me to the airport. So nice! He was a really nice man and that little encounter renewed my faith that people are generally good.
I made my flight – all good. Next stop – Iguazu Falls.