28.02.2009 - 28.03.2009 30 °C
We traveled from Salvador to Rio by bus.
We stayed in a boiler room of a hostel called Albergue Hostel in the cool district of Ipanema. The hostel was 2 blocks from the beach and about 5 blocks from the shopping areas...typical! Our stay in Rio was interrupted by a brief excursion to Ilha Grande but we stayed in the same place both times.
We went to Ilha Grande for a few nights. Once we found a nice place to stay we settled in and relaxed. It is a beautiful island with apparently lots of nice beaches. We found one and that was us sorted. It was a 10 minute boat taxi ride or a 25 minute walk away. A few days later we had to drag ourselves off the island and back to Rio de Janeiro..
We met a really nice Irish Taxi driver aged 60 plus who was always chilling in the hostel with all the young wans and also helped Martin buy some local art due K being incapacitated again. This time she got a really bad dose of illness and in fairness to the people in the hostel they looked out for her and allowed us a late checkout. Sounds to me Carnaval,pipa and Brazil took their toll on lilla kaka!!
Rio is the most amazing picturesque city we have ever seen!! We took a tour up the sugar loaf mountain and also to Christ the Redeemer statue and both locations offered an birds eye view over the beautiful Rio landscape. We took a tour for this as we did not feel too confident making our way around Rio ourselves. Perhaps that was a bit naive of us but nearly 5 months into traveling south america with no mishaps we decided to take the safe option. Anyway, it was cheap and way easier to get around. Other sights that we took in were the Maracanna stadium, A big concrete ugly church (culturally speaking), Santa Teresa steps and the area were the Blocos perform for Carnaval. The tour highlights were the sugar loaf and christ the redeemer by far. Access to the stadium was not possible much to our disgust and the tour agency's false advertising. Still, there was a few of the lads around to pose for pictures...
John and Ollie were visiting from Brasilia so M felt it his duty to hit the town with the guys. We went to a place we had been the night before but this time it was kicking. It was based over many floors which catered for all tastes in music. The whole district was one big party. The name of the area escapes me but it was cool but again in true Rio/Brazilian fashion, it had an edge to it.
The Favelas trip was too much for sickly K so M went it alone. It was a very interesting trip. Basically we were taken to the top of one of the mountains overlooking Rio which was covered in tightly stacked apartments or shacks in most cases. A favela is a slum or the equivalent to the projects in NY. People there are either very poor or very rich. The rich make their money from drug trafficking. There was an estimated turnover of $3m per month in that Favela alone. The police will not enter unless they are backed up by a 200 strong force with Air assistance. It all sounds nuts really. Our guide used some of his profit and put it back into the Favela. He was known by everyone and really liked and all the locals liked the fact that tourists walked through their town, even if they see it all the time now.
That was Rio, Leahanne and Dara were calling as they were about to tie the knot, Eire here we come!!