Brasil - Rio De Janeiro - Before and After the Carnival
Jan 30, 2005
|It was raining when we arrived in Rio but was stil warm. We made our way to the apartment and took the lift up to the penthouse apartment which would be our home for the next 11 nights. The place is amazing. It is on three floors, sits directly on Copacabana beach with a great view over the bay and across to Sugar loaf mountain. There is a big terrace to just sit on and watch life down below on the beach, and we can also see sugar loaf mountain and the beach from our bedroom. Downstairs is mainly for the owners and then there are five bedrooms upstairs, one of which is ours. We were the first guests as the apartment has only just been finished (Marta was up until 4am finishing our room off, before we arrived !). This means that all the wooden floors are polished and all the antique furniture looks lovely.
The owners of the apartment are Marta and John. Marta is a brazilian lady and John hails from Australia. They are a great laugh and are really helpful. We have thoroughly enjoyed all the time we spent chatting with them and we could not have asked for better hosts. They shared all their beer and wine and then there were the breakfasts......
We were welcomed with a glass of champagne and a huge breakfast. There are different fruits and freshly made fruit juices every morning. So far we have tried Papaya, Jaca fruit, Caju (where cashew nuts come from), pineapple, caqui and many more. After a nap we headed out to Ipanema beach and took a walk around. By this time it had brightened up and the sun was shining with blue sky. The beaches are full of volley ball courts, with a few football pitches as well. No wonder the Brazilians are so good at volley ball ! They also use the volley ball courts to play a type of football, which improves the control skills. There are some great players and it is good just to watch.
The beaches are a major place to pose. The Brazilians love to be seen and the men all wear the ´speedo´ tight shorts, whilst the women wear almost non existant bikini´s !
When we arrived we found out that there was a big game in the Maracana stadium. It was between Vasco de Gama and Botafogo. We turned up and got good tickets. There were 57,000 people there and the stadium could fit in a good deal more. It used to be the biggest stadium in the world. The game was good and it ended up 1 - 1. The brazilians are very passionate and there was a lot of arm waving and t-shirt waving above the heads. It was one of the last games Romario was playing in (he is 39 now) and loads of the press were there.
As carnival approaches there are bloco parties going on everywhere. These are street parties in different areas held by the different schools. There was one from Mangueira in Copacabana with lots of people. There is a main bus with speakers on it blasting out samba music. Lots of people with drums and everyone dancing around. They are alot of fun and go on for hours. We had a drink on the beach and soaked up the atmosphere.
On the Monday we spent the day looking at carnival costumes (fantasias) on the net, because it was raining outside. Several were sold out but we found one that we both liked and Marta gave them a call. The school was Vila Isabel and costume was called FANTASIA ARLEQUINADA. Nick and Marta took a trip across town to pick up the costumes in the evening. They picked up everything apart from the boots for Nick which had to be especially made !
We were also meeting Matt and Daina at 9pm. Monica met up with them and had a few caiprioska´s (or caiprivodkas as they are known here) and the Nick joined them. We all went out to a very expensive Italian restaurant in Ipanema, as there were others with us who were only on a short holiday and so could afford more expensive places. We shared one dish between the two of us !!! After dinner we went to a bar and continued drinking into the early hours.....
On Tuesday we went into the centre and did some of the sights. We saw the new cathedral, the Candelaria, the main square and the monastry, plus many other churches. We also went to the cafeteria de Columbo which serves English tea and many good pastries. It was a lovely room but the prices were a bit high so we went to one around the corner called Cave. In the evening we had pizza and wine with Marta and John. Good Pizza !!!!
We awoke to a sunny day on wednesday. It was a beach day !!! We sat on Copacabana beach but unfortunately the sun was very hot and Nick got burnt. Monica was not as stupid and was actually wearing the right factor suncream !!! In the afternoon we went walking down the main street in Ipanema and in the evening it was back to the terrace to watch life and sip wine !
On Thursday we decided to pay a visit to Christ. Christ the Redeemer that is. We headed up to Corcovado Mountain and took the train up to the top. It was quite misty but the clouds were moving fast and we got to see all the views. The scenery is stunning looking over the city, seeing all the different districts, the Maracana stadium, sugar loaf mountain and then all the islands disappearing into the distance. We stayed at the top for quite a while and then headed back. In the afternoon we sat on the beach for an hour. In the evening we went to Kilograma, a restaurant where you take as much food as you want and then weigh your plate to see how much you pay. These type of restaurants are very common in Brazil. After we had a glass of wine on the Terrace in the apartment.
The food from Kilograma was not as good as we thought, as we both had dodgy stomachs. It wasn´t great weather so we did our laundry and then went shopping in a huge shopping centre. In the evening we went out with John to Lapa, an area with lots of bars. We went to a local nightclub with a samba band playing most of the night and it was fascinating watching all of the people dance, incredible that everyone in Brazil seems to have rhythm!
On the saturday it was raining..... again ! We lounged around the apartment and then went to a bloco in Ipanema. There were some 10,000 people in the streets, dozens of transvestites ranging from poorly dressed to amazingly made up !! and everyone was dancing in the streets to the band. It was still raining badly and everyone was soaked. They had closed off a street and there were loads of food and drink stalls. We had a few drinks and watched the people coming and going. We then headed back to Copacabana and joined another bloco. It was smaller but with good music and we danced in the street for ages before heading back.
Sunday was sunny, sunny, sunny !!!! We lay on the terrace sunning ourselves and took a walk down the beach front. Monica had a massage on the street while Nick watched the local magic show !! Marta and John prepared a Feijoada for us. This consists of rice, black beans with meat and sauce (a kind of stew), breadcrumbs with egg and cabbage. It was delicious and very filling. We then had a caramel dessert which was also amazing. All washed down with beer and Caiprivodka. We then proceded to go through a couple of bottles of wine and a fine bottle of Muscat from Australia that John provided. After all of this we headed to bed (at about 8pm) preparing for the carnival.
*****After the Carnival*****
After staying up all night at the sambadrome we slept for a couple of hours before we managed to drag ourselves out for a bit of breakfast before having another rest. In the afternoon we took a trip to sugar loaf mountain. A cable car took us to the half way station where we had a quick look around before the second cable car took us to the top. The views were stunning and Rio really takes your breath away to see how it nestles between all the mountains and lakes that are as far as the eye can see. On our way back we stopped of at Bob´s burger joint !! and had a quick meal. We sat on the terrace for a little while, but were very tired so ended up going to bed quite early.
It was still sunny when we got up and we made the most of the sun. We were mostly relaxing during the day. We got football tickets for the evening to see Botafogo play in the quarter finals of the Carioca cup. We went with Jeff and Ian who were also staying in Marta´s apartment. It was at the Maracana stadium. The crowd was smaller but we still had a good time and saw Botafogo win 2 - 1. We returned to the apartment and drank on the terrace for a while before going to bed.
The next morning we had our last big breakfast at Marta´s and then took the bus to Buzios.
Thank you very much to Marta and John who took such good care of us whilst we were in Rio. We will definately be returning.