When in Rio you will, of course, want to visit the famous attractions such as Sugarloaf, Christ the Redeemer and the Copacabana beach. Once you’ve done all of that, here are my top 5 tips of things you really should do before you leave.
After a bit of a grey week, wall to wall sunshine on a Sunday can mean only one thing: a day at the beach. It’s great how quickly I’ve become a regular at my particular part of the Copacabana. My chair guy waves to me as I stand waiting to cross the road and my lounger is waiting for me by the time the lights turn red. At around £1 for a days rental, plus £1 for my chilled fresh coconut, a day at the beach is very inexpensive. No sooner am I comfortable in my spot, than the beach vendors approach. I am constantly amazed at the selection of items for sale. All of the usual beach paraphernalia – glasses, hats, sarongs, jewellery, swimwear – plus selfie sticks, paintings, whistles, T-shirts, bags and even rugs. Even more amazing is the vast selection of food and drink – pies, pasties, trays of watermelon, crisps, nuts, prawn skewers, beer, cocktails, sandwiches, ice cream, acai – and even guys dragging around small charcoal BBQs to grill cheese kebabs. Everyone approaches and everyone moves along if you are not interested. It’s very polite and very friendly and that’s because people do buy and the vendors make sales and it all just works without being pushy.
Pies and pasties, it seems, are a main stay of Brazilian cuisine. I had no idea! Before arriving here I imagined that I’d find lots of fantastic tropical fruit, which is certainly the case, and plenty of places serving grilled meat in all its forms: also true. But it seems I have landed in pie and pastie heaven with every conceivable variation available morning, noon and night.
The last few days have been completely crazy. I have moved from the sanctity of my lovely hotel in the more genteel area of Santa Teresa and into a shared flat situated slap bang in the middle of ‘party central’ in Copacabana. Now I’m beginning to feeling like a true Carioca; one however, who doesn’t speak a word of Portuguese and still finds it hard not to gawp when looking up and seeing Christ the Redeemer staring back.
I have one last day of being solo and a tourist, before my flat mates arrive and we being our volunteer programme, so I so decide to spend time in the areas of Jardin Botanico and Leblon. Read more