The rumours are true: Rio de Janeiro is magical, and in no way was I disappointed. The geography is stunning - right on the coast with endless beaches and water, and loads of small(ish) mountains (I was naively expecting one or two) nestled in between the contrasting sky scrapers and favelas.
We stayed in Catete, a neighbourhood not far from the centre. Although it wasn´t as nice as somewhere like Ipanema (but therefore cheaper), the location was great by giving us close proximity to both the central parts of the city, and the beaches towards the south. Our hostel was right by the metro, and it had all the promise of being a great place to stay, until the staff let it down. It seemed like most of them hated their job, and their guests (or maybe it was just us), with a passion, and any simple request that dragged them away from their computer was met with great sighing and rolling of eyes. But the city more than made up for that.
It felt like we did quite a lot during the week, but as I said, we hardly scratched the surface. The beaches were great, with our preference being Ipanema over Copacabana (despite Barry Manilow singing its praises) due to its stunning views and party atmosphere. The beaches are lined with bars - great for a caipirinha after a hard day of sunbathing - and vendors selling the usual touristy merchandise.
We did both the Christ and the Sugarloaf, both times in the evening - which we praised ourselves for as being the best time. It´s not as hot, and you can overlook the city both with the sun setting, and then as darkness falls and Rio is bathed in a mass of glittering lights.
|View from the Sugarloaf|
|Rio at night|
|Christ the Redeemer. Bandeau: Urban Outfitters, necklace and skirt: Topshop|
|Sunset at Sugarloaf|
Our sample of Rio´s nightlife did not disappoint either. On Friday night we ventured out to Lapa, the nightlife hotspot, for one of the world´s biggest street parties. It was incredible - bars, people and music spilled out on the Rua Mem de Sa, and samba was everywhere you turned - so much so that time seemed to totally escape us, and we soon forgot about our early check out the next day.
Rio de Janeiro captured my soul, and I am already planning (well, dreaming about) my next visit.