Today is Valentines Day in Brazil. Saint Anthony is recognised for blessing young couples with happy and prosperous marriages. Just like the rest of the world on Valentines Day, couples exchange romantic gifts, such as chocolates or flowers, as well as sharing a romantic meal together. Love was in the air this morning as I set out for a walk along the Copacabana. On Sunday mornings the promenade is shut to traffic and is full of walkers, joggers, skaters and cyclists all getting out and about and trying to work off the excesses from the night before, and I am no exception!
The sky was grey and the winds were whipping up the sea into quite a frenzy but it didn’t affect the enthusiastic footballers who play on the beach every weekend nor the group of dedicated fans watching from the sidelines. It’s only 9.30 am but there’s such a frenzy of activity, with cafes and bars setting up for the day, street vendors putting out their displays, groups working out on the beach with their personal trainers and music coming from every direction.
Walk done, I head for brunch then a quick change and back to the beach for some afternoon sun. The wind is now stronger and the waves impressive. Slowly but surely the sea fills with surfers sitting on their boards, waiting to catch the ultimate ride. This really must be something out of the ordinary as locals and tourists alike crowd the beach to watch in awe, cameras at the ready.
As the sun sets it’s over to the other side of Sugarloaf mountain and to Bar Urca for sundowners. A very popular place, people spill out onto the street and line the sea wall, drinking their beers and eating the delicious finger food, waiting for the sun to set. It’s a great vibe and the perfect end to a perfect day. Valentines Day in Rio has been ‘muito legal’ and I realise that I am beginning to really relax and feel more like a Carioca. I may be travelling solo but today, in Rio, I am feeling the love.