I didn’t think it was possible to fall in love with another country after Fiji, but I was terribly mistaken. Brazil is a country filled with so much beauty: not only are the people gorgeous, they are kind, the language is eloquent, the culture rich, there is ocean, there is city, there is country, there are mountains– and not to mention islands. All the horror stories I had heard before hand seem to be of a different place. Running along Cococabana and Ipanema/Leblon alone at night, not once did I feel danger. At all hours, the beautiful beaches were packed with runners, bikers, slack-liners, people selling handmade jewelry, and little kiosks selling caipirinhas and fresh coconuts.
Rio is the world’s most beautiful city for far too many reasons. The stunning views from Pão de Açúcar were breathtaking. The white sand of Copacabana stretched for miles as the clear blue waves of the Atlantic ocean hit the world famous beach. To the right, hundreds of glistening boats filled the Enseada de Botafogo like stars in the night sky. In the distance, Cristo Redentor stood tall, arms outstretched watching over the Cidade Maravilhosa. Scattered in between the mountains were the tall modern buildings of urban life and in contrast hundreds and thousands of brightly colored make- shift houses known as favelas were packed together in poverty. Hard to believe, but the first cable car scaled it’s way up the mountains in 1912. Today, the cable cars are made with glass walls and can fit as many as 65 people.
Lao and I lucked out as every day we spent in Rio was filled with sunshine and warmth despite it being Brazil’s winter; in fact, we only had one day of bad weather.We met only the nicest and kindest of people throughout our trip and got to meet some truly remarkable beings. The 4 days we spent in Rio were not nearly enough to really get to know the city. We did all the touristy stuff like riding the train up Corcovado to see the Cristo Redentor, strolling beneath the shade of giant palms in Jardim Botanico, experiencing the views from Pao de Acucar, and walking through the narrow allies of Rocinha — the largest Favela in all of Brazil. We walked along the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and watched the famous sunset over Ipanema from Arpoador. Overall, I’d have to say Rio is probably my favorite place in Brazil. There’s just so much life and culture there– not to mention Ipanema and all the beautiful people.