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January 15, 2015

Rio de Janeiro

Oh, Rio. I think I was looking forward to this city most out of all the places we were to visit in South America, and it was even better than I hoped it would be. I'd been wanting to visit Rio de Janeiro in a while but it was always one of those hazy dreams you don't think will ever materialise for real. I realise I'm gushing without really explaining why I liked Rio so much, so I'll try and take you through it.


On the train up to see Christ the Redeemer. I feel like Rio parallels Sydney a lot. I can't say they're similar because Rio feels so Brazilian and Sydney is so Australian (does that make sense?) but there's the beach culture and the way the urban areas slot into the natural scenery so well.


I was really excited to see Christ the Redeemer. It's really not that much up close, but I've always loved the way it looks over the whole city. The evening when we arrived, our driver pointed it out to us as it came into view for the first time and I wanted to cry.




The view of Sugarloaf Mountain.


On the same afternoon, we took the cable car up to Sugarloaf but the weather had turned on us.


It was still beautiful, though, and there's Christ the Redeemer in the distance.


The next day we visited Rocinha, which is the largest favela in Rio (and apparently in all of Brazil). Favelas are shanty towns or slums, and there are many surrounding Rio, exemplifying the wealth disparity that exists. They have a reputation for being generally unsafe (e.g. if you've seen the movie City of God, which I did not watch before I went to Rio). We visited with a guide; tourist visits to favelas have become popular recently, but I feel like it's important to choose the guide or company carefully, making sure they're directly involved in and giving back to the community they're showing you.



Rocinha was built on a hill and has pretty great views of Rio.


My impression of Rocinha was that it was just a community of normal people, who might not be as well off, going about their daily business. Honestly I didn't feel unsafe there, and our guide said that the only problem with going there alone would be getting lost among all the alleyways that aren't on any map. I'm not sure if this only applies to Rocinha, or to other favelas as well.


I didn't think we'd be spending much time at the beach, since we have beaches in Sydney, but just look at it...


We spent the afternoon at Ipanema. Sorry Bondi... I think I have a new favourite. (To compare, we spent the next afternoon at Copacabana, which is also nice but much more touristy).


I don't even like coconuts but it felt right to buy some coconuts to drink.


It was interesting to see the difference in beach etiquette between there and in Sydney. More people use chairs and umbrellas in Rio (you can hire them from stalls on the sand), and apparently it's against the social rules for men to lie down on the sand, so you see them just standing around. There are also loads of beach vendors in Rio, selling almost anything (the next day on the beach I bought a caipirinha which almost knocked me out). Jenny and I also greatly enjoyed watching well-tanned men in short shorts playing beach volleyball.


The next day we did a walking tour to downtown Rio.


It had the same vibe as most downtown areas of most cities.


Close to downtown is Lapa with the Selaron steps (Escadaria Selaron). Selaron was the artist who decorated these steps with the help of donated tiles over 20 years. Unfortunately, he was found dead on the steps in 2013, in what were apparently suspicious circumstances.




Feijoada, a Brazilian dish with black beans. I like the flavour of it, but I generally dislike the texture of beans.

Not staying for longer in Rio is one of my biggest regrets of 2014 (along with not buying a selfie stick for this trip). I feel like these photos don't show how great the atmosphere is, which you feel even just walking down a street. Cariocas are also so nice and so good looking. To be honest, I was a bit concerned about safety in Rio, because it has a bit of a reputation for violent crime - I'd read about people's experiences and advice such as "prepare by carrying cash you can easily hand over to a mugger so they leave without taking more or hurting you". We didn't run into this ourselves - I guess we did have our street smarts turned up a bit higher than usual, but there's really not much you can do if someone's threatening you with a knife. Honestly, I've felt more unsafe in parts of Paris or Rome, but maybe we were lucky. Luck or no luck, I am definitely going back, because it's now on my list of favourite cities ever.

24 comments:

  1. Wow Brazil looks fantastic, I really would like to go now! The view from Christ the Redeemer looks incredible, I like how there's a sort of haze looming around the mountains. I bet the atmosphere will be amazing when they host the Olympics! Also I have to agree with you in that I felt more unsafe in Paris than South East Asia - I was expecting the opposite!

    P.s. Really loving all your travel posts, I've been lurking!

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    1. I've never been to South East Asia, but that's interesting!

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  2. I think you did a great job at capturing the atmosphere in Rio :]
    I'm glad nothing happened to you! :|

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  3. Wonderful photographs as always, love all the colour!

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  4. Wonderful how Rio made it on to one of your favorite cities. And so interesting re: men not lying on beaches. I get so fascinated by learning about different places by these social norms and noes. Thanks for the tour! Hope you get that selfie stick! ;)

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  5. Wow I really enjoyed reading this and the photos are amazing! x

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  6. These photos are bringing back so many memories! I feel like revisiting Rio all over again. Great post!

    www.LUXESSED.com

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  7. Did you get to eat picanha? And brigadeiro? YUM! I hate the heat but Rio is on my bucket list for sure. Whenever I watch a Brazilian soap opera I find myself dreaming with caipirinhas, baile funks at the favela and bossanova in the sunset... I also love the way Brazilians speak Portuguese, they have the best expressions!! Maybe São Paulo is more dangerous than Rio...? So I've been told. Anyway, how much is a caipirinha in Ipanema beach? Also... I'm glad you didn't bring the selfie stick - your photos look amazing just as they are. xx

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    1. Picanha possibly without knowing it was called that but missed out on brigadeiro! I hadn't heard that about Sao Paulo. A caipirinha on Ipanema beach was 10 reais I think, which was expensive by comparison but still cheap when compared to alcohol here in Sydney.

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  8. Ahhh, so beautiful. I really love that photo of the view of the Sugarloaf Mountain. And mmm, drinking straight out of a coconut is the life - I used to do that back when I lived in the Philippines. Lovely photos, Jane and I'm glad you were safe during your stay in Rio :)

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  9. The lanscapes are just unbelievably beautiful !!

    Charlie xx
    http://charlieleschroniques.blogspot.fr/

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  10. How do you not like coconuts? Haha. These photos make me want to pack my things and head straight to Rio. Also, I'm curious - in what part of Paris did you feel unsafe?

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    1. Which* part of Paris (sorry for the mistakes, haha).

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    2. On our first trip to Paris we kept on finding ourselves in the area around Montmartre after dark/when it was emptier and there seemed to be some shady people about! Probably feels more unsafe to people who don't speak French when compared to locals, because we don't really know what's going on half the time haha.

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  11. I dream of going to Brazil! Rio of course is on my list along with Sao Paulo - I have a friend who wants to take me to some favella parties :) These photos only harden my will to make it there one day.

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  12. Rio looks so interesting and the views are so incredible from the Christ.. I hope to be able to visit in the future, it looks so incredible in pics, it might be even more awesome in real life

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  13. I really need to get a selfiestick too :c
    I'm happy to hear you've enjoyed Rio and
    you've taken amazing pictures (as always)!
    I'd love to check out the slums of Rio as
    well but of course with a trusty guide. And
    how can you not like coconut silly woman!
    Xx

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  14. looks really amazing, i'd love to visit one day!

    xx danielle // shades of danielle // bloglovin

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  15. Your photos took me straight back! I would have laughed if we'd been at the same place at the same time! I got very emotional when we went to the Sugarloaf it's all so beautiful up there. You've inspired me to get the rest of my Rio posts up!

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    1. Please do, so I can add more to the list of things to see next time!

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  16. From these photos, Rio de Janeiro looks really beautiful. Brazil is a difficult country though, in terms of politics and distribution of wealth. I have never set foot in South America, but I would love to some day. It's really great how you seem to take these amazing trips each year, but that you do it with family.

    Rae | love from berlin

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  17. I want to go there! Amazing post!

    Check out my fave of the week:

    http://www.shopstyle.com/action/loadRetailerProductPage?id=464037773&pid=uid7441-25962271-17

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  18. I feel like I am watching an episode of Getaway whenever I read your travel posts. Rio definitely looks like a beautiful city to visit and I can't stop looking at the pictures from Rocinha - quite fascinating!

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  19. Ahhhhh Brazillll it looks amazing!!! I think a lot of people think that South America is very unsafe, but my experience has been different. The people are so hospitable and kind it is amazing!

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