Hi from Copacabana in Rio! Merry almost-Christmas! I’ll post more photos from here later, since I’m not at home yet and have a lot to edit. Anyway, it’s been a good and awesome four days here in this incredible city. Originally I intended to be here for a week or so, but things got pushed with studies. I stayed a day and a half with a family I’ve known since I was a kid (or so), but didn’t see much because they moved to Brazil. I got a taste of what commuting is like in Rio, and it’s (quite) terrible indeed! It took 2 hours to get into the center (same back), and the family lives less than 20km away. And I used the rapid transit bus system (BRT) part of the way! That’s literally less than 17 metres/minute, which is insane (though Holland isn’t far from at times). Anyway, since the 18th, I’ve been at Hotel Debret right next to Copacabana beach. It’s not even expensive considering the location (at least when I convert to €, which is less than €85/night)! It’s been useful to be in a location to which most buses and a metro goes. It’s hard to be lost here!
Anyway, what have I seen? Well, at least the important things I had time for! The first day in Rio I went to see Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio. That took pretty much an entire day, including travelling from the family to where the journey up to Corcovado (the mountain where monument stands) begins (I started from Vila Cosmos). Of course, once I was up on Corcovado, I spent quite a while there, probably a good 2½ hours snapping away, filming and selfie-ing, besides just really enjoying the view. It’ll be hard to find a view that beats what you can see from Christ the Redeemer statue! The view is stunning, very literally! Luckily I also chose the right day, with no clouds.
Then I spent the next day (18th) just walking around in Copacabana and Ipanema (which aren’t just beaches, but also big neighbourhoods). I wanted to go all shopping spree, but money and bag space are limited. I did spend a lot of money, though, at the place/restaurant where A.C. Jobim and V. de Moraes wrote/composed “A Garota de Ipanema” (The Girl from Ipanema), and had a gastronomically insane beef tenderloin! Then I spent the evening walking along the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, enjoying an occasional coconut water and photographing the beaches by night.
In case you don’t know the song, you should!
Yesterday, I planned to visit two places but only had time for one (the other being Jardim Botânico). I went to Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), which is another very famous mountain besides Corcovado. It’s not quite as tall as the latter, but you can pretty much spend an entire day on Sugarloaf Mountain as well. Actually, it’s two parts with two different cable car journeys. First one goes from Urca/Praia Vermelha up to Morro da Urca. I spent some time there, enjoying a good lunch and a good view, and then I continued up to the Pão de Açúcar. On Sugarloaf Mountain, you also have a trail where you can walk around, and I spent quite some time walking there. It’s a weirdly calm place for being in Rio, where you can here nothing but birds and crickets. Of course, I shot a lot of photos of Rio from Pão de Açúcar, but it was quite challenging, because the mountain is high enough to be enveloped in clouds, and it was a semi-cloudy day. It’s awesome to see Rio from the completely opposite side too (opposite from Christ the Redeemer). The place is famous for another reason. It has Brazil’s first ever cable-car (“Teleférico”), anno 1912, that earned the founder some kind of award in Italy!
Today is my last day in Brazil for this year, and I’ll probably hang around on Copacabana, where I’ll meet a friend (from US) I got to know in Portuguese class at UFV (with whom I also travelled to Vitória). Will have a lunch and walk around a bit, and then start the journey to Rio’s Galeão International Airport, from where my plane to Amsterdam, the Netherlands leaves at 21:45. Yes, I did say lunch and then leave. I don’t trust the Rio public transport, so I’ll need to get going around 17-18 o’clock.
Oh yeah, about the woman-only metro! Okay, it wasn’t the entire metro, but it was one of the cars of the metroI boarded that apparently was female-only. Of all the places in the world I’ve been, and this is the first time I encounter public transport only for women! And to make things worse, I caught the metro in the wrong direction (not my fault though; the sign on the train was wrong). If I had any shame (I’ve literally had none since I moved to Brazil), I would have died of embarrassment, but now it was just hilarious! Two ladies (what else?) explained to me what was going on while a guard was trying to get me out of the metro car (doors shut, so he failed), although I didn’t quite understand the point of a woman-only section. I hopped off at the next stop and got on the right metro and into a “unissex” car.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this slightly-more-elaborated-than-planned blog post! Desculpa meus amigos brasileiros, não achei algum tempo para traduzir!