happy in Lapa
I woke up early, got some salad fruit and Brazilian coffee for breakfast and was ready to start my adventure in Rio! As agreed, the whole group met in front of the hotel at 8:30am. This is the group: Carolina, Agustina, Josefina & Magui (all of them from Santa Fe - Argentina), Blair (my boss) and me. He was the only guy. Mmm, he had his harem, hahaha. We introduced ourselves and Rodrigo - our guide - arrived. According to his card he speaks English & Spanish, but he just speaks a bit of English and portuĂ±ol (mix of Portuguese & Spanish).
According to the original plan we had to start with the Corcovado & Cristo Redentor (Christ Reedemer), but Rodrigo told us we couldnâ€™t make it that way.
Besides it was a bit cloudy, there was a protest there. Tour operators were claiming against a recent governmentâ€™s decision. So we would save it for the end of the day.
We start driving to MaracanĂŁ area in order to visit the famous stadium. But it was too early and it was still closed, so we moved to the Sambodromo which was near, but it was closed too. So, we drove back to the MaracanĂŁ. We just had to wait 10min before they opened. In the meanwhile we started taking some pics outside the stadium. There was a monument in the main entrance and Blair convinced me to climb in order to get a nice pic. Climbing was ok, but going down was the problemâ€¦ OMG! At the end, I did it. Ok with help of him and another guy who was over there.
It was 9 oâ€™clock, time to go inside the MaracanĂŁ.
Soccer is very popular in South America. If for Peruvians it is something important, for Brazilians is a passion!!!! Like the Chinese Theater and the Hall of fame in the States, they had the footprints of the best soccer players there, well the players who played in Brazil. We saw the footprints from Pele, Beckembauer, Ronaldo, Romario, etc. The Argentinean girls were looking for Maradonna, but he wasnâ€™t there, sorry! We made fun pics with a huge poster there and saw a lot of kids training. Well if you want to go to the field, you have to pay extraâ€¦ I like soccer, but Iâ€™m not a huge fan, so I skipped this visit.
a monument to the champions
Now, it was time for the Sambodromo. It wasnâ€™t carnival, so it was empty. Itâ€™s incredible thinking that during carnival, this place is full with people. The Sambodromo is a road. At one side are the tribunes and at the other side there is an abandoned building, which used to be a beer brewery and is used as tribunes now.
There is also a small museum and souvenirâ€™s shop there. We were going there to buy a souvenir, when they offered us some customs for rent. Hahaha, I paid my R$4 and went outside dressed as a garota! We were a fun group!
a garotinha ;)
Ok, keep on moving. This time we went downtown, specifically to Lapa. Rioâ€™s downtown reminded me to Limaâ€™s downtown. There are some hostels located in Lapa. I was talking to Rodrigo and told him that I want to go back to RJ, but just for fun. He said he could recommend me nice places to stay without spending much money, but safe! Lapa looks nice, but a bit dangerous if you are not a local. We went to see the famous Lapa Stairs. You might have seen them. They are in one of the U2â€™s music videos. They are so nice and colorful. Full of mosaics coming from different parts of the world. I even found a couple from Lima ;)
Rodrigo was telling us that Lapa at night and Lapa during the day are completely different.
I already knew that. I have been told that Lapa was the perfect place to party. Friday nights in Lapa are a must if you are in Rio. :)
We went to the Centro (downtown) in order to visit the Cathedral. The Cathedral in Rio is different as the Cathedrals Iâ€™m used too. Just the form (a cone) and size are amazing! I was going inside, when some guy from security stopped me. I wasnâ€™t allowed to go further than a line, because I was wearing shorts - oh no!!!! I didnâ€™t expect it. They werenâ€™t as strict as in Italy, but I couldnâ€™t reach the altar :( Blair took my camera and took some pics.
While the rest of the group was walking inside the Cathedral - SĂŁo SebastiĂŁo, I waited for them outside chatting with Rodrigo and looking all the nice buildings.
I have to come back to the Cathedral. Also, I had a meeting next week in one of the buildings in front of the Cathedral ;)
a little devil in front of the Cathedral...
Ok, now was time for the Corcovado, yeah! The ride wasnâ€™t as short as I expected. We drove through the Tijuca Forest, enjoying the beautiful landscapes. Nature wasnâ€™t the only we could see. We were also able to see some houses. Itâ€™s amazing see how the poor houses are close to the expensive ones in the mountains. We reached the cross point. Here we could decide either keep on going to the Morro do Corcovado (Corcovado Mountain) or go to Mirante Dona Marta (Martaâ€™s view point). We tried to climb to the Corcovado, but the line was endless.
Rodrigo called a friend who was close and he let us know the line didnâ€™t move in a long time.
with Blair at the Mirante Dona Marta
So we just turned back and went first to the Mirante. The location of this viewpoint is great. You are in the middle of the mountain, surrounded by tropical vegetation. The view is so beautiful and the atmosphere so peaceful. This place is not as crowded as the Cristo. Thereâ€™s a heliport here too. Here you can take a flight in helicopter over the city ;)
It was time to leave, but we didnâ€™t have news from the Cristo yet, mmm. Anyway, we drove to the Corcovado. There was a line. We were there for almost 10min and nothing happened.
We were thinking about turning around and coming back the next day early, when the line started to move, yep! So we did it!
Caro, Yadi, Blair, Magui & Jose - we were at the top!
We arrived to the parking place. We parked, bought our tickets and drove with the buses to the top. We were getting closerâ€¦ There you can decide either climbing the stairs or use the escalator. I went for the stairs and when we were at the top, my boss asked me why we didnâ€™t use the escalator. Well, I preferred do some exercise ;)
What can I say about the Christ Redeemer? The view is breathtaking. Now I know, why it is one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Of course it was full of people trying to get the best shots from the city and the Christ itself. I was lucky I wasnâ€™t just with Blair. In order to get the perfect shot of you and the Christ, someone has to take it while he is lying on the floor. I did it for the girls and one of them did it for me ;)
I could have spent a lot of time just admiring the city.
Itâ€™s so great seeing the modern buildings, great beaches, beautiful nature & old houses together. Wow!
Church Nossa Sra da Paz in Ipanema
During the way back to the hotel, we saw all the beaches of Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema. It was almost 4pm when we arrived to our hotel in Ipanema. The girls told me they wanted to go to Lapa at night and talked to Rodrigo, so he could drive them. Did I want to go? Of course! So we had plans for later. Blair went up to take a nap, the girls went to the beach and I decided to walk around Ipanema for a while. I walked into the hotel for a while and I met 2 nice guys from Argentina at the lobby. I was an expert about Rio by that time, so I was able to give them a couple of suggestions about what to do, hahaha.
After taking a shower and get dressed, all of us met downstairs.
Rodrigo was also there and we drove first to Barra da Tijuca. The biggest mall from Latin America is located here. We went there and after a couple of steps, Blair said he was hungry and wanted to eat, but not in the food court, mmm. I went to the information desk and the girl told me there was a great churrasqueria near the parking. Ok, we can go there. But there was a small detail. The mall is huge and so is the parking. We walked almost 30min. By the time we arrived to the restaurant we were starving, hahaha. This was my 2nd churrasqueria in Brazil, but the 1st for the girls. I really enjoyed how amazed they were. We had a delicious dinner, with tasty Argentinean wine and a nice chatting. Someone has to call Rodrigo and let him know where we are. We agreed to meet at the mall. There was no way we would walk back and arrive on time. I asked for a phone and called to the hotel. I felt like an inspector looking for someone, hahaha. Finally I got his phone. I called him and gave the name of the restaurant.
having dinner all together and happy
It was party time!!! We drove to Lapa.
The streets were full of people partying and having fun. In our way we stopped and Blair bought us a Tequila shot for each. Then we kept on walking and arrived to a nice club. Besides your drinks, you have to pay a cover, because there was live music. The place was really nice, with Brazilian music and the people there were local. Good choice! Suddenly Blair and Rodrigo were gone. Then they showed up with a bottle of champaign. We were celebrating â€¦ that we were happy in Rio!!! I wonâ€™t say names, but one of the girls told me why they were in Rio. One of them was supposed to get married soon and then she broke up. She has been really depressed, so her friends decided to take her to Rio, just to make her feel better. I want friends like them!!!! We were dancing and having fun, another bottle of champaign came and we kept on having fun.
having fun in Lapa: Yadi, Caro & Rodrigo
But we had to leave.
The girls had to pack next morning, Rodrigo had to work and I wanted to do handgliding in the morning. So, we left around: 3am. We arrived to the hotel almost at 4 and before going to our rooms, we had our last beer at the bar of the hotel, hahaha.
all 4 one!!!
We had a blast that day!!!