Onto Rio De Janeiro.
whenever I have mentioned I was going to Rio the only response I have received is a lot of gushing about what a great city it is and how much I will love it. Now, I live in London which I happen to think is a pretty great city so I was slightly dubious about all the praise that Rio receives. Turns out I was wrong. It deserves all the praise it gets.
I was lucky enough to be staying with a Nigel (from Durham) who, along with his lovely Brazillian girlfriend Fernanda, were wonderful hosts/tour guides/cooks/drinking buddies! I had 10 days in the city staying in Nigels apartment in Leblon, a very upmarket area only 2 blocks from the beach.
What amazes me the most about the city is the fact that it has everything, great shops, bars, restaurants, beautiful beaches, mountains to hike up covered in forests. Where else do you get all of that in one place? The other thing that you really notice are how incredibly friendly people are.
Moving into Brazil and not knowing a word of Portuguese was pretty scary after getting comfortable with my Spanish, but even with a language barrier people are really interested in you, not in a trying to mug you or sell you something kind of way, just in a genuine kind of way! Also, the stereotype of Brazillians being outgoing and up for partying is absolutely true. You see this on the beaches, not just in the choice of swimwear which is eye wateringly skimpy for both sexes, but mainly in that everyone is doing something. The guys selling food on the beaches are singing and playing music or dressed in drag, there are numerous ball games going on, guys working out in the beachside gyms. You don’t need to bring a book to the beach, people watching is plenty of entertainment in itself!
So, I did all the classic tourist stuff, including sugar loaf, corcovado, botanical gardens and a tour of the favelas. All were incredible and provide the most stunning views of the city. The favela tour was a real eye opener and has totally changed my perception of what life is like in a favela. It is like old school England, with the drug lords as kings deciding all the rules. Seems to work pretty well…
The other great thing in Rio is the eating and drinking culture. Nigel and Fernanda were great tour guides and I feel like I have tried all the traditional dishes and drinks both of which went down very well! The bar and restaurant scene in Rio is pretty amazing, I would say it gives London a run for it’s money.
Onto Rio De Janeiro.