Here goes almost the last chapter of my story in Brazil in December 2005. What I’ve realized, is that my blog mainly is the place to express myself about travels I do, so I keep this journal! Stay tuned 🙂

After Sao Paolo the next point of my destination in Brazil was Rio de Janeiro. Oh Rio, the city of many dreams of many people!!! It became true for me.

The journey started from the bus travel from Sao Paolo to Rio, which was about 6 hours long, and very comfortable! As they don’t have a railway system for public transport in Brazil, they use buses to travel even for long-long destination. And as the result of progress, those buses are VERY comfortable – better than any flight I took! You can just sleep as in your bed at home, everything is there.
It was in the bus when I have experienced once again friendliness of Brazilian people – it was one old lady sitting across me in the bus, she probably noticed that I’m a foreigner, as I was looking around, answered people in English and made photos of landscapes (which were really beautiful and colorful). And it was a moment during our trip, when that old lady whispered to me, not speaking as I didn’t speak Portuguese, just making some sighs, and showed me that we were passing some beautiful place in the mountains… It was nice, proving one more time that human emotions overcome any language barriers 🙂

Helena met me in the bus station (Lele, she was on AI the year before, and she lives in Rio – I stayed at her place till the end of my trip, spending Christmas time with her family), and we headed to Lele’s flat. When I entered it, the first thing I saw was an amazing view from the balcony – Lele’s house is situated at the Lagoa, very good and nice district of Rio, we could see their famous Christmas tree, made of lights and standing in the water, ocean and hills around. Simply amazing 🙂

I spent 3,5 days in Rio, going around – I went to Corcovado (mountain with the statue of Christ, one of main attraction in Rio and one of biggest statues in the world), went to Copacabana beach (yes, that famous beach!!! However I didn’t feel the rhythm of samba, carnival is happening in February), just swam (more precise, jumped several times in the waves), got some sun, walked around…

Rio is an interesting city, in which colonial Portuguese architecture is combined with modern business style, with addition of south-american specific. You can see half-dark because of high office buildings street, with gothic churches hidden in the middle, and shadows of palm trees covering all that… And beaches, full of people, sun and music just a block away!
In one word, it’s RIO 🙂

We went with Lele to an old city district, by an ancient funny tram, which didn’t have doors, just benches, and you could stand on the side while it’s moving, as people did may in the beginning of 20th century – and of course I did the same:

Lele told that she has to make a movie there – that part of Rio looked really old and it seemed as breezing of time stopped there, only people are modern, but habits, food, buildings, cafes on the corner – all that keeps atmosphere of old times.

Another impression of Rio – a cathedral, that looked like none of cathedrals I saw before: cement con, that looked more like forgotten detail of space ship 🙂 People say it’s the ugliest – or the most unusual – religious building of Rio.

My favorite place was however – Sugar Loaf, or Pao de Asucar. It’s not as high as Corcovado, but it’s a very interestingly located cliff in one of Rio’s bays. To get there, you have to take two rounds of cabins, where the floor is from glass and you can see how the ground goes down while you go up to the rock – being the only way to get to Sugar Loaf. More adrenalin I think than at Corcovado, and the view – I liked it more.

Sugar Loaf has many quiet places in the garden to sit and to look above the sea, above the city. It takes your breath and you just stand, smiling for your destiny that managed to bring you to this beautiful place

Another happiness of mine was the day when we were supposed to live the city to the mountains, but decided to stay one more day. It was sunny, hot, the day was free – of course me and Lele headed to the beach. That time it was Ipanema, which is liked more by Rio habitants. I managed to get some tan, and of course got a bit burned – what could you expect of a blond in Rio?? 🙂 On the way to the beach we managed to buy presents to my family and friends that I was looking for a long tome for, had lunch in a Japanese restaurant (oh my god, sushi buffet with unlimited takings – I could hardly move, so much I ate there!).
I’ve realized I love, LOVE Brazilian food! Dozens types of meet, fish, vegetables, wonderful juices, meet again – this is the food that my stomach felt in love with 🙂 Their typical dish, or part of the dish – rice with beans, very simple, cheap and tasty. Now I’m cooking it in Rotterdam sometimes 🙂

There is one place at the Lagos of Rio, with several café and a small deck – you can just sit, talk, listen to music, look at the water, city, lights… beautiful place, created to think thoughts about life. We were sitting with Lele there (it’s her favorite place), eating corn, listening to some Brazilian or French rhythms, and life seemed just wonderful at that sunset in Rio… Can’t stop smiling remembering all that 🙂

In the evening we took a boat, as true tourists (which I was basically), to see the Christmas tree of Rio at the close-up. Christmas magic indeed 🙂

And so it was, my last day in Rio. I think I wouldn’t be able to live there for a long time – it’s not safe enough (especially when you don’t speak Portuguese), traffic is terrible, it’s hot and loud. But for that time that I was there – I loved it. Beaches and cheap taxis, streets and mountains, good food and smiling people, music and holiday mood …
Brazil, Rio, Rio… I was happy to have it! My dream has finally come true – in the “city of God”.