After 1,5 days it is finally dry in Rio de Janeiro. It just kept on raining and I thought we left our cold wet country behind. We went on a trip around the world to places where the sun always shines.
Maybe it was a good thing that it rained. It made us take time to have a breather and catch up on some much needed rest. We had a couple of hectic weeks. Right up to our departure we had to work, had our farewell party on Saturday. We had to pack on sunday between visiting our grandparents for the last time and dinner with our parents one last time. And before we knew we took off for Rio on Monday. Maybe the rain was Nature’s way of telling us: ‘And now you are first going to slow down! I am going to make it rain in Rio’. Well, he/she succeeded.
After a fine flight with Condor Airlines we arrived in at the Tom Jobin International Airport without any strange antics. It was really early and at 4 AM we handed over our pasports to the Brazilian customs. Suddently we were in the country where our adventures will finally start.
The airport is not easily connected to the city. I expected a metro or train but this was not the case. We could choose between the bus (which would not run for another hour) of a cab. We choose the bus because we had all the time of the world. But while waiting for the bus we had our first encouter with fellow travellers. So together with three girls from Zwitserland, South Africa and Senegal we shared a cab which brought us all to the right place.
The hostel where we will be staying the next three night is Rio Nature Adventure hostel in Botafogo. It lies against on of the many mountains inside Rio. Botafogo is a district where a lot of middle class people live and we feel safe at night walking its streets. We are that satisfied with the hostel. There is a lot of lack of maintanance (I do have to say that they are painting the walls in a nice limegreen colour), the showers are cold and not really clean. It’s not really bad but there are a few things which are in need of attention if it was up to us.
The fun part about the hostel are the family of monkeys that pay us a visit around breakfast time. It are Marmoset monkeys and they wait patiencely on our delicious bananas we get with our breakfast. The breakfast provided is good and it will keep you running the rest of the morning. There are also a lot of birds flying around like toucans.
And now I think you want to know what we did the first few days. Well not that much. On the first day we strawled along the Copacabana and Ipanima beaches. The rain increased as we progressed and at a certain point we duked into the metro and went back to the hostel. In the hostel I contacted our FLL family who lives in Rio (FIRST LEGO League who does not know it and follow the link if you want to know what it is).
That night we met with Phlilipe, the coach of team Francodriods, in a typical Brazilian Bistro where we enjoyed delicious Salgados. According to him you need to eat these at Catarina Doces e Salados. Salgados are a kind of flourballs in the shape of a waterdrop. In it you can find tasty chicken or meat combined with melted cremecheese. Don’t eat to much because they will fill you up quite easily. Philipe also helped us with buying and installing a Brazilian SIM card. Without a Brazilian inhabitants number you cannot get it to work. You need the number and also getting it installed will take great Portugese language skills. He is of great help to us and we are forever greatfull. We went to bed quite early and ended the day with doing some last minute research on things to do in Rio.
On day 2 Jolien slept out while I gotten a visit from my not so good friend Mr. Jetleg. I woke me up at 5AM. After that great breakfast with the monkeys we waited for the worst rain to pass before we headed out. The rain would stop arounnd noon. We first took the metro tot the Teatro Municipal and the National Librairy. The last one is being restored but well worth visiting on the inside.
There is also a new tram in service since this Monday. It is called the VLT and we took this to Praça Mauá. Here are two museums which are worth visiting. Absolutely worth visiting is Museu do Amanhã. It tells the story of our Earth and the way we treat it. Also the architecture is stunning. The second museum is the Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR by the locals). The view on the sixt floor is nice and if you like modern art you should pay it a visit. You can combine the two museums which will safe you a few reals. It costed us 16 real per person in total (4 euro according to the stock exchange of June 8, 216).
After our visit we walked the streets of the old center all the way to the Lapa district. We tried a nice restaurant where you can pay by the 3,5 ounces (100 grams). The was nice and really cheap. For today the weather promisses to be better. We even saw the first blue skies. We booked a Favela tour for this afternoon. Great forcasts according to us.
While writing this story both Jolien and I realize we don’t jet realize the fact we are now travelling for at least a year. It still feels like a holiday and we both think we need to start working again next week, organizing events of designing licht concepts. Then we pintch eachother in the arm and look at eachother. And then all we can do is smile… I think the right feeling will come as well soon.