Yesterday was visually rewarding but physically demanding. In return, however, we would be provided with the best views of Rio we’ve seen to-date.

In a world where even poverty can be monetized, we refrained from paying for a tour of one of the many favelas. The ethical reasons behind these activities seem legit so I would have not been against this but for her, as a Brazilian, she would have had no interest, period. I also didn’t have a burning desire to sign up as I’d seen my fair share of similarly constructed properties back in Manaus – though not labelled or thought of as favelas.

Uber. I first experienced them in Poland back in 2017 and I haven’t used them since – until Brazil. Today we discovered Uber was not providing us a route to where we wanted to go which was slightly odd considering it was a well known hike. At this point we discovered that the trilha dos dois irmãos (trail of the two brothers) happens to start deep within the Vidigal favela which explains why this was not a registered Uber route. We were obviously initially sketched out by this but after some research we felt there wasn’t anywhere near enough bad reports for us to consider NOT doing this so we booked a night’s stay within the favela. It had decent reviews and was near the hike start point. Besides, Vivian managed to find us an Uber route to take us to the hotel itself so all was perfect in that moment.

This proved to be the most difficult short drive I’ve ever endured. Favela roads are paved with difficulty and obstacles. To add to matters, the Uber didn’t have air con and there was no breeze. At one point, a truck was offloading sand and brick and it wasn’t moving until it was done. It kept us at a standstill for nearly ten minutes. As you know, I seldom ever turn the camera to myself but today I did in desperation and despair, although this doesn’t convey overly my perspiration from just sitting in a cab, stressing!

When the poor, unsuspecting driver picked up the job it’d have shown him the drop area of the Vidigal favela but presumably he just thought the drop point was close to the entrance. After all, he’s just following the app and its map and both work perfectly all the time, right? Ha, we all know that’s not true – especially for well built up areas of short and windy roads.

If this was back home the driver would have given up the ghost long ago. The perseverance I observed today was Saint-like. I wanted to tip the driver the amount of the job itself but The Chancellor denied my request agreeing to half 🙂 Still decent.

The converted property was pretty decent. You find yourself in deep admiration for the creation of any money-making vision, particularly those hundreds of metres higher up than the rest of civilisation making logistics even tougher! Also the hotel’s efforts to recycle and reuse material was next level but then again not really surprising and again applaudable. 

Funnily enough, our stay here was the most expensive accommodation we’d paid so far at £40 per night. Go figure. But the room was actually quite decent and not what you think of when you first think of a favela, albeit converted.

Check out this impromptu 40 second video clip. (90 MBs though so be mindful if not on Wifi).

We had read that the two brothers mountain trek was considered “moderate” and we would agree with that. It certainly wasn’t easy and there was the heat to also contend with. It took around an hour in each direction, hike wise, minus photo time.

So the first major view point you discover is to the left, so the opposite direction to where we’ve been for weeks. I should use the term major in both the sense of scenery and statistic. Behold Rocinha (pronounced ho-seen-ya) – the largest favela in Latin America.

Epic. (And yes, that was another frightful drop beneath but not as troubling for Mother as the last post).

Epic. (And yes, that was another frightful drop beneath but not as troubling for Mother as the last post).

Onwards and upwards expect Viv, the younger and better boned of the two of us made it 80% of the way before uttering the immortal words in a purely exhausted tone: ‘That’s it, I quit, I’m done’. 

After a quick sit down she was back on her feet in trooper form and oh boy was she glad she carried on! I managed to get her smiling again but little did I know it was because she’d been eyeing up my behind for sometime waiting to snap the right picture!

We’d made it. Happy, accomplished, relived yet drenched. The shoreline of Ipanema and beyond, Copacabana, was breath-taking.

Is that Yoga, Viv?

Is that Yoga, Viv?

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We safely returned from the hike, showered, then immediately ventured to the roof-top bar, famished. Consistent with their accommodation, food and drink wasn’t inexpensive but we were pleased the quality warranted the cost and offered epic views.

What an enterprising idea this was and seeing how many people came to the roof-top bar considering it was a Wednesday, well, you just know there’ll be some big parties here on weekends! It’s a little gold mine and easy to see why people can come here and why it keeps many people in business.

By the end of this week we’ll have been in Rio for one month. To put that into perspective, that’s also the longest time I ever spent traversing several individual countries so let that be testament to how enjoyable it is here and what it has to offer. We’re actually predicted light rain here in the next few days and you know what, after a month without it, we’re almost wishing that to be true.

Almost.

2 Responses

  1. Hi you two. As usual great photos and views. It must be so very hot seeing that your shorts are drenched ha! You both must be super fit with all the walking you are doing but I bet you sleep like a babies from tiredness. Sami your tan is looking better now catching Vivian up. Take care and keep safe xx

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