The carnival is world famous, exotic samba dancers a dream, the Christ well known, Copacabana legendary and its crime rate notorious, but on a long trip through South-America Rio is a really have to be there… It is also one of the guest cities for the World Cup Soccer this year… we know that, with all the traffic jams and road works! We’ll only have a 2-day brief tasting, but that’s enough.
In comparison with Sao Paulo’s 20 million, the 6 million of Rio are peanuts… Nonetheless the vibe is unmistakable.
Our bus arrives at 8 am… With a 2 hour retardation, our host for tonight – Ana – arrives only around 8:30 pm, so we have a whole day discovery before we can go to her home. Where do you start in a town like Rio? Well Christo Redentor on the Corcovado (means hunchback) hill offers a good start. From the high spot, flanked by rain forests you can see it all. The mysterious, misty rainforested hills, the white sanded crescent shaped bays, the blue waters and a 30° sunshine experience. One can hardly imagine a more idyllic setting for urbanisation. Many lanes are even flanked by lush green vegetation. The rainforest gives Rio a typical climate and it is simply part of the town. Great!
In the afternoon we have another Brasilia experience, ‘dinner on weight’ – this means you choose whatever you want from a buffet and pay afterwards by weight. From there we head into the ‘Centro’ to visit the Cathedral, ‘Arcos do Lapa’, the opera house and the ‘Escadaria de Selaron’ – the famous work of a Chilean artist who puts all kind of tiles on the trap. Afterwards we walk to ‘Santa Theresa’, a colourful barrio in the town. The famous tram de Rio was still not driving during our visit… Probably he will do before the world cup.
After that we have to face the terrible traffic to get into Flamengo, where Ana lives. One hour and a half later we’re at her home, where we receive a very warm welcome. We go shopping, she prepares us a dinner and we talk a while about travelling before we go to bed.
Another great couch! THANK YOU ANNA. She lives in Flamengo, one of the most central locations in town… A better starting trip is hard in Rio. On 15′ from Copacabana, 20′ from the Centro and 30′ from the Christ. Where can a tourist more dream about?
The second day we start with a bus trip to Niteroi, at the other side of the bay. This has two advantages, one we have a great view over the skyline of Rio and we cross South America’s longest bridge – 13 km long between Rio and Niteroi. After it’s completion in the 70’s it was the second longest bridge in the world. Nowadays she has little significance, surpassed by the two longest bridges – 164 and 132 km, both on the Shanghai – Beijing – railway – and many others…
Thereafter we take the cableway to the Pão de Açúcar, with great views over the beaches. The scene in James Bonds ‘Moonraker’ is filmed on that cableway. Famous because it was one of the first full-glass cabins in the world.
From there we take the bus to Copacabana… On which we enjoy a huge ice cream box, 2 liters white chocolate! The other famous beaches – Ipanema and Leblon – are for another time. For now, we’ve tasted the hot vibe of Rio and fly into the heart of the Amazon River and Rainforest, to Manaus.