17.07.2014 - 22.07.2014
Oh maaan! Sooo frustrating... I was ill in Rio which hampered so much of our time here. We had 5 days to enjoy the city but only managed to get out and about for one day and an afternoon. What a bummer.
I think having had 3 flights in 8 days had a lot to do with it... all those lovely germs circulating in the dry cabin air.
We arrived to a baking 31c Rio, amazing for winter eh! We found our little apartment which was located one block from Copacabana beach, our host had left us some food, water and juice in the fridge and some chocolate... a lovely welcome.
Accommodation in Rio is definitely not cheap. On our searches we were finding guesthouses with shared bathrooms for about £50 a night, so to get our own 1 bedroom apartment for the same money was a bargain.
After settling in we wandered to the beach and had caiprinhas as the sun went down. Very chilled.
Our first full day was the best... we walked from Copacabana to Ipanema, both beaches are impressive and so iconic!
Ipanema beach - one of the most upscale districts and an expensive part of town to stay.
I must confess I thought Rio's beaches would be full of body beautifuls, but it wasn't massively different to any other beach - all shapes and sizes. Although we did see more thongs on the beach than we've seen since the 80s!
Completely by accident we stumbled across the corner cafe where the composers of "Girl from Ipanema" penned the song, so we had to stop by for a drink and lunch. Turned out to be a pretty good cafe.
Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking... (apparently she was only 15)
From there we wandered to a food and flower market to buy loads of fruit - the strawberries were so big and to die for!
Nearby street to our apartment
Late afternoon/evening stroll on the beach...
Impressive sand sculpture on Copacabana beach
A night market is set up along Copacabana's front every evening so we had a browse, I bought a couple of sarongs which seem to be the main souvenir staple over here.
The next day I was feeling ropey but we'd booked on a half day city tour so having slept all morning, we ventured out for the trip. The main stop was Christ the Redeemer, which is perched atop a very narrow peak. It's obviously the most iconic sight to see in Rio, so it was good to go although it was extremely crowded and we both felt a bit underwhelmed if we're honest. It's one of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World, but doesn't even come close to Machu Picchu by comparison. The views from the mountain were pretty special mind.
The Maracanã - just a few days after the World Cup Final was staged
The rest of the tour was very average, we stopped at the Maracanã stadium but we could barely see the stadium from the point they took us to.
The last stop was Rio's Cathedral which we got to moments before it closed. A weird place that looks like a 1960s concrete Chichen Itza. It's more beautiful on the inside but pretty darn ugly on the outside.
I felt rough from that point on, so that was pretty much our sightseeing over. We had plans to take the cable car to Sugar Loaf mountain, do an inside tour of the Maracanã, have a day on the beach and see a favela (1 in 4 people in Rio live in favelas)... but alas, it was not to be.
I guess it's a reminder that with travelling you have to take the rough with the smooth!
Having had two days/nights in the apartment, I was determined to make it out for our last night. It just felt like our big trip was ending on such a damp squib otherwise! We had caiprinhas by the beach looking wistfully out to sea, and reminisced about our incredible 10 month journey. It didn't take much for us to get misty-eyed about the fact it was our last night "on tour".
After dinner we headed back to the pad and settled in to watch Life on Mars on Netflix. Rock 'n roll! Unfortunately by our last morning (this morning... I'm that up-to-date!) Ant has come down with it too.
It's obviously not the ending we would have wanted but, as I said to some friends, after the fun and experiences we've had along the way it's difficult to get too hung up about it - it's just one of those things.
So, Rio, maybe we'll see you again sometime to finish what we started.
And now, as I write this, we have the final job of packing our rucksacks one last time. It's time for Galavantie to come home!
(Stay tuned for a trip 'Top 10' wrap-up!)