Rio de Janeiro: First days
Friday, May 6, 2016
Hi everyone! Since 5 days we are in Rio de Janeiro now. But honestly it feels like 5 weeks, because we have already seen so much! Here a short summary:
Top things we did/ saw in Rio de Janeiro:
The garden consists of more than 8.000 plant species including an enclosed orquidário with up to 600 species of orchids. Here are just some impressions from the beautiful garden:
We also saw some cool monkeys in the Botanical Garden!
Parque Lage and Christo Redentor
With English style gardens, little lakes and grottos the public park has a lot to offer. It is a really nice and tranquil place to hang out.
Also the trail to the Christo Statue starts at the Parque. The trail was really tough but it was definetly worth it. We walked trough the rainforest to the heights of Corcovado (710m). And again we saw monkeys!
My personal highlight was to watch all the other tourist who just arrived at the statue and immediately started to take tousends of selfies with Christo. It was really amusing for me.
Pão de Açúar
Definitely a must seen! We did the 30 minutes walking trail up Morro da Urca. From there we took a cable car to Pão de Açúar. It really is a breathtaking view! And there are monkeys again. Some tourists were feeding the monkeys. Actually we aren`t allowed to feed the monkeys, but tourists do everything for a good picture 😉
Walking along the Copacabana Beach
Walking along the Copacabana beach you´ll never be alone – especially as a tourist. There are so many beach vendors who are selling caipirinhas, coconut water and other stuff.
Besides that there a lot of people exercising in the middle of the day and running and cycling the beach path. During the night the beach kiosks with good live music are a great place to be. A really cool thing are the many floodlights on the beach, so people are playing volleyball and football in the evening.
Watching the sunset at Ponta do Arpoador
Between Copacabana and Ipanema there is a big rock called Arpoador. We just went there by accident, but it is definetly the best spot to watch the sunset! I think the pictures speak for thereselves.
Besides that we could watch some surfers trying to catch the big waves. Arpoador is known as the one of the best metropolitan surf spots in Rio de Janeiro, because the rock creates really high waves. Well, it was just the perfect ending of the day and honestly I could do this every day!
Renting a bike
Cycling along the beach path is just a cool thing to do. Also we went around the lake Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, a beautiful path around the lake in Ipanema.
Typical food and drinks
On our first day we had lunch at pay-by-weight restaurant. A friends told us that locals favor those restaurants for lunch because of the wide variety of Brazilian dishes. We tried the national dish of Brazil called Fejoada. It is a stew with beef or pork. Well to be honest, I didn`t like it, but at least I can say I tried it.
As for snacks there are a lot of snack stands and juice bars. They servev a wide variety of delicious but quit unhealthy salgados (bar snacks). For us foreigners who can not speak any portuguies it is always a surprise what we actually buy . So far we already tried Pão de queijo, bite-sized cheese-filled rolls and Pastel de carne, a square of deepfried dough filled with meath and cheese. Both were quit tasty, but as I said also quit unhealthy 😉
Very popular and yummy is the juice Acaí, it´s made from an Amazon berry and whipped up to a thick consistency, that´s why it´s eaten with a spoon.
And of course I bought a coconut on the beach.
Plus the hostel we stayed in, served free caipis – in the morning – well that´s what I call a good start in the day 😉
Places we stayed so far
The first 3 nights we stayed in the Hostel Cabanacopa, just 5 minutes walk from the Copacabana beach. Free breakfast, free drinkable water and clean rooms as well as clean bathrooms made our stay really pleasant. And like everywhere there were a lot of german people in the hostel.
Currently we are staying at a couchsurfers place in Gloria. It is always fascinating how welcoming couchsurfers are and how much they trust you. Our couchsurfer left the key for his apartment in a Lonelyplanet book about Rio de Janeiro at the receiption of his house. He was still at work so we could enter his apartment. It was a little bit scary but at the end everything was good. We have our own room and two beds, we can cook and wash our clothes and we even have our own key for the apartment. It is really interesting to get in touch with locals. We talked about the problems in Rio and he gave us some hints about what we can do.
Good to know
Back home we ordered the International Student Identity Card (ISIC), because with the ISIC card we have access to special discounts for students and can safe a lot of money. For example we payed only half of the price for the entrance into the Botanical Garden, juhheee
In Rio you buy your busticket inside the bus. But not the bus driver is selling the tickets, but another person who is sitting in the upper part of the bus. A ticket costs around 1 Euro.
Furthermore there is no lower coint than the 5 Centavos. That´s why for example people in the supermarket Round up or round down the price.
Foreigners are called Gringos in Brasil. By the way now it´s the beginning of winter in Rio that´s why there are not so many tourists here, what is quite pleasant I think.
You are not allowed to throw toilet paper in the toilet.
To be continued…