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17 January 2010

Brazil!

written by: Birgit & Don

Brazil is the first South American Country we have ever visited - and the furthest we have ever gone to see our friends. This is a travelog of a fantastic trip through a beautiful country, along with a lot of pictures.


To start with, we would like to say to Bruno & Talita, Gustavo & Lilian that we are extremely grateful for the overwhelming courtesy you have shown us and the tremendous effort you all have put in to make this trip so wonderful. We can assure you, you made it extremely hard for us to get back to normal life in London!

During the 2.5 weeks we spent in Brazil, we have had many memorable events. This blog here can obviously only cover some of it, so you are all welcome to visit us sometime so we can tell you all about it over a cup of fresh coffee :-).

Rio de Janeiro (29/12/2009 - 02/01/2010)

Rio was (next to Iguaçu, see below), the longest stage of our eventful holiday. There were many memorable things that happened within those four days, many that could not be captured by photos. The heat in the smallish flat we shared, the noise of the Av. NS. de Copacabana, the seemingly endless 24h downpour and the anxiety about the onward trip that went with it.

And then there are all the other highlights! We were extremely lucky to have spent that one hour of sunshine on top of the Sugerloaf, just before the heavy rain started which, sadly, caused all the landslides along the Costa Verde and on Ihla Grande, killing many people in the Hotel Sankay. We escaped the rain and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee in the stylish colonial Café Columbo, before heading over to Ipanema for Dinner in Venezius, the bar in which part of the famous song "The Girl of Ipanema" was written.

On New Year's Eve, while the rain subsided and the sky cleared just in time, we cooked at 'home' (Buying the ingredients at the local supermarket was an eye-opener! Glad to see that the end-of-the-world-shopping maniac is not just a German thing...), then walked the two blocks over to Copacabana, to the most amazing New Year's Party in our lives! Two million people on the beach, all singing and all dancing, while the sky above this 4km stretch of beach was completely filled with fireworks!

Another highlight of our time in Rio, next to the visit to the Christ statue and the botanical garden, was definitely the night at Bruno's Uncle. Man, that was the very very very very very very best BBQ I have ever tasted, the best in the world! I can't write too much about it, because otherwise I will start feeling hungry...

Ihla Grande (03/01/2010 - 05/01/2010)

After the hustle bustle in Rio, this car-free island was an oasis of tranquillity. The only means to set over to this lovely island is by taking a ferry boat from one of the many coastal towns along Costa Verde. Once over on the island, we couldn't wait to plunge into the sea at the Praia Preto. We had a roaring time there, going snorkelling along the coast, dining on the beach under the rising moon, hiking up the hills to a waterfall guided by a straying dog - and throwing black mud at each other on the beach...

Paraty (05/01/2010 - 07/01/2010)

Paraty was one of the most beautiful places we have visited during the entire trip. Defying the difficulties of walking on the cobble stones in flip-flops, we visited every corner of the colonial car-free old town, went on a most exciting horse ride through the forest, enjoyed the performance of the famous doll theatre, and - of course - did not miss our chance to visit one of the many famous cachaça distilleries around Paraty!

Ihlabela (07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010)

Ilhabela was a bit of a contrast to Ihla Grande and Paraty, in that cars are allowed and consequently, everything was much more noisy. We only had a day’s time on Ilhabela, and this time, the weather did not seemed to be on our side. The coastal road was partially closed, hence we made the most out of it and enjoyed our time on the beach close by, before hitting the road again - all the way into the Megacity of...

São Paulo (09/01/2010)

Once again being extremely fortunate with the weather, we visited many very interesting places in São Paulo, including the CFD lab (nerds!!) and the Football museum, treated ourselves with the largest Mortadella sandwich of the world in the municipal market, and rounded up the day with posh cocktails at the super-cool roof-top bar ‘Skye’ and in buzzing Vila Madalena. Bruno guided us through his now home city and made the day a total success!

Cataratas do Iguaçu (10/01/2010 - 14/01/2010)

We flew out to Foz do Iguaçu and stayed for two days in a little youth hostel, Paudimar. The first thing that struck us was how helpless we were suddenly without our faithful guides! And the second thing was how bloody many Germans were running around! The hostel was literally full of Teutonians!

Rain had to hit us sooner or later, so even on our first afternoon in the bird park, we were getting a few drops on our heads. The visit to the Brazilian side of the waterfalls was fairly overcasted as well, and so we took a little excursion to the Itaipu hydroelectric power plant. You know, I couldn't live without fluid dynamics for too long..

Then, the next day, we ventured into Argentina, with the most bizarre bus driver ("Chica si, chocos no! Boca!!"). It was on the argentinian side that we got completely soaked in rain while sitting in a open top safari jeep driving through the rain forest... and just as the rain stopped, we got onto the boat that rode along the river right under the water falls... wet wet wet!

By now, we were so desperate to see the waterfalls in sunny conditions that, when the sun suddenly re-emerged the next day, we hurried out of the little town all the way to the national park (1.5hour bus ride + 1 hour walking/transit train inside the park), just to marvel upon the beauty of the waterfalls once more, with a rainbow spanned across the Devil's Throat. Impressive!

We rounded up our trip with a dinner at a lovely restaurant by the river, although sitting outside proved to be a baaaad idea - I still have mosquito bit marks on my ankles!!

And with that, the trip came to an end! We flew back to São Paulo to spend another day with our friends, but then it was time to bid farewell - although it was much more hectic than we thought (airport nightmare, long story... one of the storied best told over a beer...)

 

Comments

Lilian Assi likes this blog post.

(Posted on 05 March 2010)

Amelia wrote on 06 March 2010:

As usual, a vivid and humorous account of the trip. I am sure I love to hear more about the trip over a cup of fresh coffee. I like all the pictures they are so beautiful. Strange that I only realise about this blog today!

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