Brazil: Rio de Janeiro

After our short stop at Iguazu Falls, we were back on another flight for Rio de Janeiro.  This was John’s favorite place he visited when in Brazil last November.  It’s amazing how nice and relaxing flights are when you don’t have two toddlers to entertain!  Don’t get me wrong, I was missing those sweet kiddos like crazy, but I was not missing flying with them ;).

The first day we had in Rio we visited the iconic Sugar Loaf or Pão de Açúcar in Portuguese.  Being in a country that spoke Portuguese was challenging for me.  It did help me see how much my Spanish has improved with living in Lima, but I was discouraged at how little I understood of Portuguese!  John had been taking lessons for the past year, so his was good enough to get us around, which was a good thing since I was basically useless on that front!

Half way to Sugarloaf!

Half way to Sugarloaf!

The tram up to the top had beautiful views!  It was a nice clear day, with just a little bit of haze.

View from the top of Sugarloaf

View from the top of Sugarloaf

The weather was warm and the sun was shining – it was a great break from Lima, which can be pretty foggy in April.  What I loved most about Rio was the temperature.  It was 80F when we woke up each morning, and 86F by the peak of the afternoon.  Not bad, not bad.

Rio below

Rio below

I was nearing the end of the first trimester by this trip, so thankfully the debilitating nausea that had plagued me the previous two months was subsiding.

View from the top

View from the top

At the back of Sugarloaf was a nature trail.  You had to walk down this super steep ramp to get there!

Ramp to the nature trail

Ramp to the nature trail

Not many people know about it I guess, because while there was a good crowd at the view points, there weren’t many people on the trail.  It was a nice walk and we saw quite a bit of wildlife.  The coolest thing we saw were these little monkeys – this one had three or four tiny baby monkeys hanging on her back!

Mama Monkey

Mama Monkey

We also saw some lizards, big birds (maybe hawks), and mosquitos…darn.  That’s something we’ve taken for granted in Peru!  No mosquitos!  The views were just incredible – there are tons of tiny islands all around Rio, which was really cool to see.

Beach below and islands

Beach below and islands

What a nice day!

What a nice day!

When we had explored all Sugarloaf had to offer, we headed back down to the city to do some more exploring.

The next day we visited another one of the 7 Wonders of the World: Christ the Redeemer.  We waited a while to board the train up Mount Corcovado.

Train Station at Mount Corcovado

Train Station at Mount Corcovado

It was a pretty ride, through lots of vegetation and there was a cool breeze blowing through the train car.  Once at the top you can either take the elevator or stairs to the statue.  This statue was built between 1922-1931 and created by French sculptor Paul Landowski.

Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer

 It is the largest art deco statue in the world, standing 98 feet tall, with arms stretching an incredible 92 feet.  Unfortunately it was very crowded the morning we went, so it was hard to get a picture without a photo bomb :).

At the top of Mount Corcovado

At the top of Mount Corcovado

Photo bomb!

Photo bomb!  And baby belly.

 But it was still amazing.  The views of Rio were again just breathtaking.

View from the top of Mount Corcovado

View from the top of Mount Corcovado

Sunny day

Sunny day

After our trip to Christ the Redeemer, we went downtown to visit the Museu de Arte do Rio (or MAR art museum).  We just happened to show up on half-price day, which was nice.  It had some really interesting exhibits, with mostly modern art.  I’m not a big fan of videos and lights in my art, but other than that there was some cool stuff.  John liked this one…

Victim of violence

Victim of violence

Not sure what this was supposed to be…again, interesting though.

Modern art

Modern art

What was really great is that nearly all the art was about Brazil – or even Rio more specifically.  It was cool to get a glimpse into the history and culture of the favelas and this huge city.  The view from the top of the museum was really beautiful.

Harbor view from the MAR

Harbor view from the MAR

 This was the harbor that once had been the bustling center of Rio back in the day, bringing in all those items from abroad.  Rio as a city is big, but it felt a lot more warm and friendly than some of the big cities I’ve visited.  Probably because everyone was happy to have beach time :).

Our apartment we rented through AirB&B was just a few blocks from the Ipanema Beach.

View of Sugarloaf from Ipanema Beach

View of Sugarloaf from Ipanema Beach

 We enjoyed our last afternoon relaxing and reading while soaking up some sun and sipping some fresh coconut water!

Perfect day for the beach

Perfect day for the beach

Wading in the ocean

Wading in the ocean

 That night we made it to The Girl from Ipanema (Garota de Ipanema) restaurant, known throughout the world from the top-charting song of the same name.

At dinner

At dinner

 The food was hearty and delicious and the atmosphere was great fun – with windows open to the street and a packed room, you felt like a part of the fun, busy city.  We’d enjoyed Rio.  It had been a wonderful getaway!

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