Travelling to Rio De Janeiro super early (i.e. 5am) seemed like a good idea two months ago. I warn against this activity. Despite our 3am wake up call and late bedtime, travelling to Rio De Janeiro was seriously exciting; the iconic city of Brazil awaited us. And first thing on the agenda; see Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer). But alas, our naivety and excitement to see Jesus led us to pay an absurd amount of Reais to not even see the iconic statue; enveloped in a thick blanket of cloud and fog, you could see nothing but his head and palm.
Perplexed at our poor decision making, we stood amongst a crowd of indifferent tourists, selfie-ing like there was no tomorrow. Determined to come back when the weather was better, we descended back down Corcovado on the tram, disappointed and seriously hungry.
After seeing some Naif art, primitive art from Brazil, at Museu De International Arte Naif, we somehow ended up a spooky historical house where a sketchy woman lives (and by lives we think kind of sort of invaded). At the back of the house was a slightly decrepit patio, leading onto a raised beautiful enclosed forest rich with vibrant green trees that soared high into the sky, natural fibered ropes draping from the branches to the ground. The woman in the house seemed pleasantly lovely, albeit fairly odd. Well somehow we made it out alive to tell the tale, alongside a plethora of bug bites, and headed to one of Rio’s famous beaches.
Unlike Recife’s water, Rio hosts some cold tides. But the vast expanse of sand leading to the water is beautiful – no wonder the beaches are so famed. The surprising lack of tourism made for an even more serene afternoon as we sat on a viewing balcony with fresh pineapple and mint juice and coconut water (the real deal, straight from the fruit). As Rio’s coast lies facing the East, the sunset can best be enjoyed from Corcovado if skies remain clear. But you’re not stopped from sitting on the sand and quietly enjoying the vibrant red and purple skies that radiate across the coast’s horizon and amongst its many hills and mountains.
A major downside to Rio is its surprisingly poor transport system and connections – living in London has me adjusted to buses arriving and departing frequently on the dot, not to mention a smooth ride. After missing our bus thrice and feeling like it was going to turn over any second as it hurtled at 100km an hour down Rio’s crazy moonlit streets, I began to really appreciate London’s amazing transport system that I clearly have taken for granted.