Ready for some more Rio? We rented a really great apartment two bedroom apartment in Ipanema. It was just a couple blocks from the beach. Rio is crazy expensive as far as hotels go, but this apartment was really nice and reasonably priced. After having a great day with Rafa and getting the lay of the land, we ventured out on our own over the next few days.
We started out walking down to Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. It was so cool to suddenly be standing there on some of the most famous beaches in the world. We got there early in enough in the morning that they were not very crowded (they were packed later in the day). I never realized this, but Copacabana and Ipanema beaches are right next to each other, just separated by an old military fort. You could go out on to the rock peninsula and get a view of both beaches.
^^Ipanema Beach - lots of people out surfing.
Perhaps the best part of being in Rio, was the fact that we were there with Julie's parents. Julie's dad had served part of him mission in Rio in the mid 1960s. He hadn't been back since, so it was fun to see what he remembered and hear about his experiences there.
Zara is after her mother's heart. She loves the beach. Isn't it just beautiful. The sand was like powdered sugar soft.
Another example of the interesting nature of Rio. Here we are on Ipanema beach, and right there is a huge favela next to some of the most expensive real estate in the city. Those guys have a sweet view.
More favelas above Copacabana beach.
We had lunch at a really cool restaurant overlooking the beach out on the peninsula that separates Copacabana and Rio.
Zara was such a good little traveler. She'd just hang out in the ergo carrier, she quite enjoyed some relaxing on my lap and wearing my sunglasses while we ate lunch.
From there we decided it was a good day to head over to wear we could take the tram up to the top of Sugaloaf mountain. Something we were very excited about. A place that provided another amazing vista of the city.
Here is where Zara came in very handy. There was a quite a line to ride the tram, but someone immediately noticed that we had a baby and they whisked us up to the front of the line. Brazilians are so nice to people with babies. Americans on the other hand, often just look at you like, "why didn't you just get a dog?" Brazilians are awesome. There were two separate trams, one about half way up, and then another up to the top. ^^At the first stop about half way up.
Then boom. We were there, on top of the world. We got there while it was light, then had the pleasure of watching the night take over. Above you can see Copacabana beach on the left, then around the point at the end of the beach is Ipanema. On the right is another part of the city, then the main downtown part of the city is off to my right (you can't see it in this photo). Rio is really big.
Julie's dad had been looking forward to taking her mom up there for many, many years. It was so fun to feel his excitement to finally be there with his sweetheart.
It was a bit overcast, but it provided for some beauty photos. ^^Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer Statue off in the distance).
Zara and her mama loved it.
The next few photos were taken as night fell. It was amazing up there. Lucky for me I had Julie and Zara there, otherwise I might still be up there taking pictures. Julie is so patient with me when I get a little overexcited about taking pictures.
See that little white dot in the middle of the photos? That is Corcovado. We spent a long time up there that night just taking in the beauty and looking out on what seemed to be never-ending city lights. We headed back and got some dinner and then fell asleep very quickly.
This crazy cathedral takes a modern spin on a church. Looks like a huge pyramid on the outside, and this was the inside. I would guess these stained glass were like 125 feet tall.
Went to a "kilo" restaurant for lunch where you get whatever you want and pay by weight. This is the Brazilian way of life. Julie's parents have these places down to a science. They knew exactly how much to get and how much it would be. I, on the other hand got a little carried away - but it was really tasty.
The Opera House. Modeled after the one in Paris.
There are no paved sidewalks or streets in the part of Rio. They were all cobblestone or cool mosaic stone patterns.
There are juice bars on every corner. Somehow, all of them are busy too. Just about every fresh fruit imaginable and they'll blend it up for you right there.
This was one of my favorite spots we visited. Real Gabinete Potugues de Leitura - this library houses over 250,000 volumes of Portuguese literature. I thought the books were cool, but the room was amazing. I think if I spent time in there every day I would become more smart. It was gorgeous.
From there, we wandered the streets a bit, and walked through some markets. ^^I always love rip-off sports merchandise in other countries ie this awesome Yankees hat sporting Mets colors. Don't wear that sucker in NYC.
Cool old buildings everywhere. It was fun walking a few steps behind Julie and her parents and taking it all in. See the sidewalks?
Julie's mom is the best. It was so fun to spend so much time with her and realize that so many of Julie's best traits are a direct result of her mother.
We finished off the day, and our time in Centro by going to visit a really cool old church. As luck would have it, it closed 3 minutes before we got there. So, we admired the cool doors and took a taxi back to our apartment.
That night we went to an amazing restaurant. I think that the food is one of the best things about Rio. It was a bit pricey in general, but these places served up some amazing food. If you're ever in Rio, go to Zaza Bistro Tropical (conveniently named after Zara) and Gula Gula. That's it for now. Next and final post from Rio coming soon (Corcovado). Check out Rio Part 1 below if you haven't seen it yet.