13.08.2012 - 26.08.2012
We planned to set off from Ouro Preto on the 10am bus, hoping that it would get us to Rio at 5pm, just before sunset so our first taste of the big city would still be in the daylight. It was 45 minutes late so that scuppered our plan, but it did mean that as we came through the meandering mountain landscape just outside the city boundaries, the sky and the hills were tinged with gorgeous pinks and purples.
We got into Rio at dusk, the city lights just beginning to make the place glow. The bus station is about 8km north of the centre, and we had rented a flat for a week in Copacabana, on the south coast. The taxi ride over was spent looking around at everything we could take in. It was too dark to see Sugarloaf Mountain, but seeing the Christ the Redeemer statue lit up on the Corcovado Mountain was amazing – we were definitely in Rio!
Our flat was in a lovely quiet leafy street, one block parallel to the beachfront. Easy walking to the beach, restaurants and even over to Ipanema beach. One week in Rio wasn't enough. It's such an iconic city, the major landmarks are just as impressive as they look in photos and film. It's an exciting, interesting, lively city and the people are incredible. All we had to do was look slightly confused (pretty easy expression for us both) with our Lonely Planet guidebook out, and people would come up and ask if we needed any help.
The week flew by, days out up to Corcovado to see Mr JC up close and personal, where I messed up my pose to emulate Jesus and instead did an airplane pose instead. We went up to Sugarloaf Mountain, or as it's called here Pao do Azucar, by cable car and marvelled at the stunning views of the cityscape. You've got skyscrapers, lush green mountains, sandy beaches, beautiful blue sea all in one place, why would you want to live anywhere else? We even indulged in a helicopter ride over Rio and did a few circuits round the best bits. We definitely want to come back.
The last week we've slowed down again in Paraty, a coastal town smack in the middle of Rio and Sao Paulo. We've found somewhere lovely to just enjoy the warm weather and be more active by the beach. Kayaking, boat trips and Dave's even planning to hire a bike to go pottering round more beaches and waterfalls. We only planned to stay 3 days and we're already on Day 6. It's getting to the point where we've got some concrete dates to be in some places for, so we've got a bit of slack timewise to enjoy the places we like with more days to spend there.
Next stop is Sao Paulo for a few days, and then we'll be heading for Argentina via the Iguazu Falls in time for our 5th wedding anniversary. After that, it's the countdown to the end of our South American leg of the trip. We fly out of Santiago on the 1st October and that really doesn't seem very long to go at all. We're loving it though, and definitely making the most of this year off so far.