Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Trip to Rio de Janeiro, Ilha Grande and Belo Horizonte

02.05 2013 - Quinta-Feira (Thursday)
Today was the day I would leave (comfy and cozy) Salvador to visit the previous capital of Brazil - Rio de Janeiro. I flew from Salvador Airport and arrived in Rio around 3 PM. I checked in at the pousada called "CabanaCopa" in the Copacabana neighbourhood, and it was maybe one of the best places I have visited - no problems whatsoever, and you got the feeling of being together with lots of friends. The atmosphere is very good, and the safety is not a problem. You don't feel like being a place where there is very dangerous at all - I can highly recommend the place, both because the rent isn't very high (for a 12 bed dormitory room- R$ 35,00 and R$10,00 for key deposit when I was there) and because they are a very young-minded place: they had connection to parties spread around the neighbourhood of Ipanema, Copacabana, favela and so forth, they had guided tours around the city, so you could visit Christus the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain etc. etc. Well, enough talk and selling, and more tourism experience!
I met with some friends at a metro station, located 2 minutes from the hostel, so we went out for a walk at the beaches and met up with a 4th. member, and we ate at Garota de Ipanema, where Antonio Carlos Jobim (Tom Jobim) and Vinícius de Moraes wrote the song "A Garota de Ipanema". With my interest in music and the fact I haven't been in Brazil before it was obvious that I was to visit the bar. I did so some days later again. When I get home again at CabanaCopa, I went up to the TV and computers and chilled with some people.

03.05 2013 - Sexta-Feira (Friday)
The day has finally arrived for the island visit! We meet up at the Rodoviária (the Portuguese word for Bus Terminal or Bus Station - where all busses to Rio stops) and goes to Ilha Grande - 03hs30 in bus and then 01hs45 by boat. We get there safely and we haven't booked a hostel, for which we regrets since they apparently has a convention-dance-contest-something on the island. Anyway, after 2 hours of search we finally finds a superb pousada called Pousada Albatroz a bit up hill for R$40,00 for 1 x 2 person bed and 2 x 1 person beds, with breakfast, called "Café da Manhã". We are heading down to find some food, and ends up being the food for mosquitos. We eat our food and settle down by a bar where we drink some Caipirinhas and Caipifrutas. We head home, ready for exploring the island in the morning.

04.05 2013 - Sábado (Saturday)
We start the day by eating breakfast, and heading downtown afterwards to visit some beaches. When we discover after our first beach visit that one of the better beaches is located over a hill the two friends go their way - it's fine by me, since they are dating. The other friend and I are going over the hill and I smash my big toe to pieces, and when I'm writing this a week later it's healing pretty much okay, but when the accident occured it was simply too nasty to describe... But, after a hike on 2 hours we reach our destination, and it was all troubles worth it. The beach is called "Dois Rios" and there wasn't more than 18 people in 2,5 hours. We bathe, play in the mud and decides to head home before it gets too dark. Unfortunately we are half an hour late on it, so the last couple of quilometres are hiked in utter darkness. We get home, luckily, and eat diner and drinking afterwards. The day was good, but my feet were simply too fucked to do anything other than walking a very short distance, so I didn't do anything wildly and young and stupid that night.

05.05 2013 - Domingo (Sunday)
We return to Rio today, and we split up with the three friends - the couple heads home to Niteroy, Rio de Janeiro, and the last dude heads back home to Juiz de Fora, which is a major city of Minas Gerais - the capital is Belo Horizonte. I am going back to the pousada, and I am welcomed with open arms - again. I spend some time talking with different people at the pousada - and it's really nice to get to know more people. I meet some from Finland, Norway, Denmark, Holland, one from Rumania, one dude from Lithuania, one Brazilian from Brasília and some from Spain, Ireland, Scotland and England. 

06.05 2013 - Segunda-Feira (Monday)
Today is a boring day, since it's raining outside. The plans I had with visiting Christ the Redeemer was cancelled, the visit to Sugar Loaf got cancelled too, but we watched "Game of Thrones" and some other movies and TV Series. The day was spend well, despite the lack of better weather because I made friendships which I hope will last long! There were curious monkeys around, but I didn't have my camera on me so I didn't get to take photos of them. Luckily, though, I have photos of the species from my hike to Dois Rios. This is the day I ate at "Garota de Ipanema", and I didn't regret it. 

07.05 2013 - Terça-Feira (Tuesday)
Today I went window shopping, and boy: if I had that amount of money I could by all the windows of Ipanema! I found a Starbuck's café in Ipanema, and drank some vanilla coffee and bought a mug as a souvenir - there can be around half a litre of coffee in it - it's damn big! This is also the day with the offer: 10 PM - 12 PM (two hours) of free Caipirina. They are a bit strong, so I drink around 4. Normally a Caipirinha cost around R$08,00 - R$10,00 a piece, and I paid R$25,00 at the pousada to get a ticket for the entrance, so I earned it back, luckily. I went with a group consisting of Finnish, Danish, Brazilian, Dutch, Australian + New Zealand and Lithuanian people from the pousada to this party, and it was a very nice evening to spend with people. It can be recommended, but it's only on Tuesdays.

08.05 2013 - Quarta-Feira (Wednesday)
Today I went by bus to the state of Minas Gerais, to visit the Hard Rock Café in Belo Horizonte, but first I needed to sleep in a pousada because the bus arrived late at Belo Horizonte - 10 PM in the night, where 7 hours were used in a bus from Rio de Janeiro to Belo Horizonte. I slept at pousada "La em Casa", a very chilling place with sweet staff. I grabbed a beer (Bohemia) in the night, and sat outside, listening to the birds, insects and just relaxed. It was very nice and "tranquilo".

09.05 2013 - Quinta-Feira (Thursday)
Today I went out drinking and eating at Hard Rock Café. They had a conference in the shopping mall, and a friend of mine and I crashed it pretty badly. After some jokes and laughs about cow milk we found the Café, where we got our beers and sandwich, and I got my sweater. Visiting a Hard Rock Café is a sort of tradition when I am in another country, or visiting cities (I specially have the Café in Copenhagen in mind when writing this, since I'm Dane and Denmark isn't a place to visit for me). The view was very good and can be recommended! Because I was talking to the taxi driver, that drove me to the shopping mall, liked music I got two of his burned CD's as a present and as a token of gratitude that I was talking Portuguese. It's that small things that can make a day, or trip, turn pretty amazing. 
I bought a plain ticket at the airport and returned to Salvador, where I went by cab home. I drove with 3 others, so the price was R$30,00 for me. 

The trip was amazing, but I learned 2 things.
1) Have your trip planned out, such as reserving days for visiting places like Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ etc. 
2) Go there in the summertime and not the rain rime - it's more fun with sun!

Pictures can be found here

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