Yes, it really could be but we’ll know for sure by late tomorrow (Tuesday) .
Since my last blog post I’ve thought-up a plan that could hopefully justify us moving on within the country to visit a couple of ‘should-be-worth-it ’ attractions. However, that’s not as easy as it sounds. Covid preventative restrictions are never far away and then there’s the sheer size of this country meaning we should be catching a flight if all goes to plan.
In parallel and in truth, we continue to wait in hope that a nearing South American country is brave enough to open its borders to foreigners and as of this writing, it still doesn’t look good which won’t surprise any of us.
Can you imagine how gutted we feel to be this far from home having reached a continent not easy to get to or travel in only then to find ourselves heavily restricted? To add to that we’re basically nomads without employment experiencing Visa issues attempting to travel whilst evading a human killing disease.
So as we’ve shown you, the best sights in Rio are from above. We’ve hiked to several viewpoints but the preeminent and most revered escaped us. (Through choice and with reluctance I might add) : Pedra da Gávea.
a) It’s considered physically hard.
b) It will consume most of a full day and you can’t really do it by yourselves unless you’re mountain experienced.
c) You’ll therefore pay for a group hike event.
Paying wasn’t our issue, in fact I think we’d like to be part of a small group for something as challenging as this. The reality of us not being physically fit enough was just a little frustrating. I know my lungs, bones and joints would call it a day before my mind would. Any fit people reading with a view to come to Rio one day, consider yourself informed.
Anyway, here’s TEN THINGS that we have either learnt or enjoyed about being here.
1 – A Carioca is someone local, typically born in the city of Rio de Janeiro (not the wider state). This term is used proudly between locals but likely to be used slightly disingenuously when spoken by people not from Rio. No different to back home when locals refer to another non-local tribe! The Mancs, The Scouse, The Brummies etc…
2 – I can at last confirm that even in Rio, it rains. It was definitely cool to see the beach and even some of the well known landmarks look so different.
3 – It’ll take you no more than 40 minutes to walk the entire stretch of the Copacabana beach coast line. That’s leisurely, walking blissfully with your feet in the sand allowing the cold Atlantic sea to run up to and over your feet. Here’s two wide-angled images depicted start and end. Cracking shots, Vivie.
4 – I have experienced two new small culinary delights here in Brazil; Acai and guava.
I’m told the acai explosion in Brazil occurred less than a few years ago. It’s popularity has soared ever since and I’ve witnessed it’s enjoyment by the people. It feels like there is always someone ordering acai wherever you look!
People from the north of Brazil typically use acai as a bland paste that you eat during lunch and often served with flour/cassava. I had this in Manaus but as someone with a sweet tooth, it didn’t do much for me. However down here in the south, a sweet paste is much more common and frankly far more enjoyable! Sorry family from the North although thankfully you can’t understand what I’m writing. And the key ingredient? Guarana syrup! As for guava, well, if teeth could talk they’d be raging as the pips play havoc with your dentures! Still, I’ve come to really enjoy this fruit all the same, enhanced by the heat and its newness to me I’m sure.
5 – The pound to the Brazilian real is the strongest it’s ever been. Did you know for the 8 months I travelled in 2015 in Europe, the pound reached a seven year high against the EURO? I did the calculations when I returned home for my expenditure and how much I had “saved” by travelling that year and not previous and it was honestly around £1,000. As for now, well we’re also winning in this regard. Using this month of Feb 2021 versus Feb 2019 so just two years ago, 100 reais currently converts to nearly £14. Two years ago and this would have converted to £20.
6 – Accommodation remains well priced in Rio, particularly for two. The majority of places we’ve stayed in have been between £26 and £35 with breakfast included and that’s typically a quality room with a TV, AC and a fridge. Not discounting the fact they’re in the vicinity of world famous beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema. These pictures show three different places we have stayed but you’ll notice the quality remains consistent. Two of them also provided pretty fabulous roof-top pools and at £35! Bargain.
Oh, we must tell you this golden snippet: We really haven’t needed our Netflix login much at all. To our amusement, every time we turn on a hotel SMART TV and launch the in-built apps, almost every time we find Netflix accounts that haven’t signed out. So, we oblige and have a watch of something for the evening LOL. Obrigado amigos.
7 – I’ve found an area in Rio that I wouldn’t mind living in at all. Don’t fret Mother as that’s almost an impossibility.
Leblon, next along from Copacabana and Ipanema, is the richest area and has a property foot-print which is jaw-droppingly outrageous. We saw this on a window of an Estate Agency. Now, you know this is going to be expensive but come on, take a look at those pictures! They’re not great.
8 – There’s a couple of old military forts here that would have once protected the bay. If you come on Tuesday, there’s no cost to enter the Fort and the museum. We had lunch here following a receptionist’s recommendation but it was poor quality. Only the second negative food outing in 6 weeks. Still, the views and the iced coffee were most enjoyable!
9 – Food was the one area I knew I could improve upon from my previous travels and already I know that I’ve accomplished this.
In the South Zone of Rio, still considered the tourist areas, you can enjoy a decent quality meal for two with drinks and optional service charge for circa 100 reais (approx £14). Not super cheap but if you’re eating light for lunch and dining out for dinner, or vice-versa, £20 per day for two is achievable with today’s strong Pound.
You foodies out there are gonna enjoy feasting your eyes on some of this… Definitely not your typical backpack food, huh.
10 – Last week we met our first ‘local’ friend. Weird to think that I’d accomplished that literally in my first day of travel back in 2015. That’s how different this experience is to then. Anyhow, here is Maria Clara, a proud Carioca.
Thanks for joining us in our Rio adventures! We’ll update the MAP applet on the HOME page if we do indeed move on tomorrow.
PS – A new city must surely mean a new blog writer………………….. 🤞 🙂