Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blogocation: Rio de Janeiro - Part 1

Yo. It has been a busy summer, but it is time to get these photos up on here. This was a trip to remember and I want to have record of it. It has been several months since we were in Rio, but you'll be happy to see these photos - trust me. Not because I am a good photographer, but because anyone with a camera in Rio can take amazing photos cause that place is amazing.

We left Foz do Iguacu really early in the morning (like 6am so we left our hotel at 4:30). Let's say that we spoiled ourselves the night previous when we had stayed at Hotel das Cataratas and the place we stayed the second night was sub-par to put it nicely. We hopped on a flight and were off to Rio. 

I have to say Rio is a place that I have always wanted to visit...and it lived up to the hype - for real life (s/o to Noah and Kristi there). The topography there is just amazing. No wonder the Portuguese were excited about it when they found it and settled there. Where else in the world is there an amazing city, amazing beaches, all in the shadows of these huge jungle mountains that are shooting up toward the sky everywhere you look? 

We decided that we wanted to hire a guide for our first day in Rio to show us around and take us to the further away places by car. I found Rafa on tripadvisor. This was my best find to date on tripadvisor. Rafa was the most enthusiastic, entertaining, over the top person I have met. Just look him up on tripadvisor if you want to see what I am talking about. I think there were about three hundred exclamation points in the 4 page email he sent me in response to my confirmation that we wanted to reserve his services where he talked about the amazing stuff we would be doing. He had some really nice reviews on tripadvisor so we went for it. It was well worth it. 

^^ The view of some of the crazy mountains flying in

First Rafa took us around to the other side of the bay to Niteroi - the city where he was born. You can see Rio behind us. See the Christ the Redeemer statue up there on the right?

The Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum - designed by Oscar Niemeyer

Niemeyer designed it to frame the bay and Rio in the background.

One example of Rafa's awesomeness. I was taking pictures when he yelled at me, "Eli! Get over here!" I walked to over to him as he was putting this awesome headdress on Julie's dad. He then grabbed another one and put it on me and insisted on taking a photo. Meanwhile, he picked out two really cool necklaces from some tribal natives who were there selling jewelry they had made (see in the photo below) that he bought for Julie and her mom.

Next we got in the car and drove up this crazy hill to the Parque de Cidade where we were greeted by this breathtaking (literally) view of the bay and Rio. Holy cow it was amazing. It also happens to be a place where the paragliders take off. That is where Rafa paraglides. I almost talked him in to taking me. How cool would that be??

 ^^ Another example of awesome Rafa. He orchestrated every aspect of this photo. Julie's dad saved the day.

Next we drove back across the bay to Santa Teresa. The bohemian cobblestone neighborhood resting on the hillside overlooking the city.

It was full of amazing street art.

Zig zagging cobblestone roads hugging the jungle mountainside.

Santa Teresa houses the Escadaria Selaron. This is an interesting story. Click on that link if you want to know more. Basically, this Chilean guy, Jorge Selaron lived in Santa Teresa. He thought the steps were boring. So one day in 1990, he started putting tile on the steps to make them look better. One tile led to another, and after years of doing this, it turned into an amazing piece of art with Tiles from more than 60 countries. People heard about it and would send him tiles to incorporate into his steps. 

Someone sent him one from Utah and DC.

^^ Here is his tile artwork of the bay that Rio sits inside of.

Zara thought it was pretty cool.
Pretty amazing right? Sadly, Selaron died earlier this year...but it looks like he pretty much had the stairs covered. 

Rio is full of color. So many cool architectural details. 

To finish the day, Rafa took us all the way to the top of Santa Teresa and into Tijuca national park. ^^^ An amazing component of Rio are the favelas. They are everywhere, and they are often just nestled in to other part of the city. They take up a lot of what I would assume is prime real estate. 

We were greeted by some monkeys. 

Rafa took us to his spot up there where the helicopters take off. I wish we had the ridiculous amount of money it cost to take a helicopter ride, but we were pretty much on top of Rio and had a really cool down to the bay and the city and up to the Christ the Redeemer statue. 

Rafa whipped this flag out for a beauty shot that he again orchestrated. Ya Brazil! Notice the airplane - one of smaller Rio airports is right in the city, so you fly right over the city when you come in. Note to self for next time - fly in to that airport. And note to you, get Rafa as your tourguide when you go to Rio. 

^^Sugar Loaf (the Portuguese named it that because they thought that is what it looked like. Not sure I see that. It was an incredible view nonetheless. You can see the trams going up it, that is where we headed the next day. And thus finished our amazing first day in Rio. We finished it off with a trip to a Juice Bar (they are literally on every corner) for some fresh Passion Fruit juice. Mmmm. Come back in the next couple of days to see the next post and more of Rio. 


charity said...


Jonah and Aja said...

So awesome and amazing!!! Your photos rock and plus that is one photogenic city. Thanks for posting!