Here you’ll find travel reports about Castelo. Discover travel destinations in Brazil of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

12 travelers at this place:

  • Day8

    Rio de Janeiro

    November 3 in Brazil

    Next stop, Rio! My expectations were high, but it didn’t disappoint. Sure, Christ the redeemer was in the clouds 90% of the time, but within a few hrs of arriving we had stumbled across a street fair/party, with crowds of people drinking and dancing in the sunshine. It’s how I imagine Rio carnival (apparently it’s that x1000000!!). Later we went out in our neighbourhood (Santa Teresa) and tried feijoada, a delicious black bean and meat stew. Then on to a samba bar round the corner. The music and atmosphere is so contagious, so a few caipirinhas in, even Paul was shuffling his feet! One more drink on the street and that was game over - they free-pour generously..!

    Over the next few days we walked all along Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, hiked up the hill next to sugar loaf, hiked to a waterfall and did a walking tour. My step count is going through the roof! After one long walk we ended up in the Botofogo area where Paul managed to find the most hipster bar in Rio. Typical!

    As luck would have it, my friend Jo who I met in Nepal 10 yrs ago, saw my fb post and contacted saying she was coming to Rio. We’ve not seen each other since the Kathmandu days, so it was really great to catch up with her and Christel (while Paul watched the Spurs game over our shoulders!)
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  • Day98

    We Go to Rio

    November 4, 2017 in Brazil

    “When my baby, when my baby smiles at me, I go to Rio, de Janiero”. From the moment that we left Italy, we couldn't stop singing the Peter Allen song “I go to Rio”. And the Barry Manilow song “Copacabana” was also added to the playlist, which was on constant repeat. Considering we had a brief stop-over in Frankfurt before an 11 hour journey to Rio, this was a long time for two songs to be stuck in our heads.

    The pit-stop in Frankfurt allowed us to feed our currywurst addiction one last time. Boarding at Frankfurt, we also got to experience self-boarding, which is kind of like self-service checkouts at supermarkets but less orderly. Imagine a plane full of people trying to go through three checkouts all at once. According to Lufthansa's slogan it's quick, simple and convenient – maybe for the airline! The ironic part is that ground staff are still required at the self-boarding checkouts. Maybe its about work-related injuries and the prevention of RSIs (repetitive strain injuries).

    At check-in, Jason assigned himself the window seat and Ricky the aisle seating, hoping that no-one else would be assigned in between. We sat praying that the middle seat would be allocated to a skinny person. Fat chance when the majority of people in the world are overweight. Fear grew as a slightly overweight Brazilian giant walked towards our row. No lady luck for us. Throughout the long-haul flight, the giant was wedged between us. We woke up and found him manspreading across both of us. Luckily, we slept through most of the flight because the plane bounced its way across the Atlantic from Frankfurt to Rio. If we thought we were in a washing machine on the Neapolitan trains, the plane trip was not much different. At times, it felt like the washing-machine-cum-plane was on a delicate cycle and we were gently rocking. Then, turbulence set in and the washing-machine went into heavy-duty mode, shaking and bouncing almost out of control. Landing wasn't too smooth either but we were glad to be on the ground.

    When the Brazilian giant awoke, we found out that he was actually an Argentinian who had been living in Brazil most of his life. He had lots of advice about pick-pockets and thieves in South America. We were already a bit apprehensive about Rio from all of the media reports. If the Pet Shop Boys could be robbed by a member of the LGBTIQ+ community, what hope did we have? So we decided to try and blend in, by dressing down and giving up the razor. Unshaven and dishevelled, we could have passed for itinerant vagrants. One out of two ain't bad. If we had our McDonalds/Burger King free refill soft-drink cups, we're sure people would have dropped a few coins into it to help out the needy.

    We've been warned everywhere we have travelled to watch out for thieves. The other thing to watch out for is money exchange places. Often they don't advertise their commission and in Brazil there is a monopoly, so you don't have a choice. Having just landed after 11 hours on a plane, we didn't think about the conversion rate and it was only later we realised the commission was more than 40%. Highway robbery and that was before we even stepped out onto the streets.

    It's expected that where there are tourists, there are pick-pockets or someone trying to squeeze as much money out of you. But express kidnappings was a new phenomena for us. It's where you are kidnapped, taken to an ATM and forced to withdraw money and then you are released. So at the ATM, one of us would be the look-out and the other would do the transaction. Jason would continually ask for an update as he input his pin number. “Is the coast clear?” Jason would say. The only threat was a toddler straying from her mother from off the streets. The sounds of cars back-firing, though, didn't do anything to calm our nerves. Nor the policemen with machine guns hanging out of choppers, which flew just above sea level along Copacabana beach. We're sure that the police and army presence was to provide some feeling of safety but it tended to have the opposite effect for us.

    Apart from the many hawkers selling their goods, and blowing annoying whistles, groups of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) were scattered along Copacabana beach. This was not an uncommon sight in Europe either. It seemed every city we have visited had their own posse of JWs. And as many know, JWs aren't very accepting or tolerant of the LGBTIQ+ community. So throughout Europe, and now in Rio, Jason has been stopping and grabbing Ricky, planting a big kiss on his lips. Ricky hasn't been kissed so much in his life! Jason would then turn to the JWs and say “Out and about, spreading your hate across the World”. This time in Rio, two police officers were positioned beside a group of JWs and saw our antics. One of the police officers roared with laughter. We just continued to walk on our way, leaving the JWs to discuss our sins.

    The landscape surrounding Copacabana and Ipanema is stunning. The beaches, particularly on the weekends, are crowded with people of all shapes and sizes. Many people appear to live very active lives, playing volleyball, running or walking, and are very body conscious. Strangely, most people didn't actually swim in the ocean. Maybe they were too afraid that their possessions would be stolen. For every guy, or girl, with six-pack abs there was a skinny-fat (you know, skinny but with a slight belly) or a four-pack-fat person (someone who doesn't quite have a six-pack and has a bit of a belly). We know how they feel! Each new city brings with it a new addiction as we continue to gain weight. We now resemble a pregnant woman in her first trimester. Before we know it, we’ll be stuck with the baby bulge for life or at least for 18 years and it will be a bugger to budge. But it tastes so good!

    The new addiction in Rio was the national Brazilian drink, Caipriniha. Each day was spent with at least a wander along Copacabana beach and a stop at one of the bars for happy hour. Life is hard sipping on a cocktail and watching the eye-candy, clad in nothing but a thin sliver of lycra that leaves very little to the imagination. The stumble home was much more difficult than the walk to the bar that is for sure. The carrot dangling at the end was the treats we discovered along the way home: caramel-filled desserts, lemon condensed milk tarts or something we found at the supermarket.

    The supermarket at the bottom of our apartment was a tourist trap with prices being heavily inflated. So at our first opportunity, we headed to the supermarket where all the locals shop. Entering the store felt like an episode of Supermarket Sweeps or the Price is Right. C'mon down! Everywhere you looked, there were people and their trolleys weaving in and out of the aisles, knocking anyone down to get that bargain. One of the casualties was a Brazilian man, who Jason accidentally ran into with our trolley, clipping the back of his Achilles heel. To counter the accident, Jason's good deed was to help an elderly woman. Little old ladies in supermarkets seem to be attracted to Jason more than moths balls and crochet. This lady stood pointing at the frozen pizza in our trolley and rambled something in Portuguese. Jason figured she wanted one too so went and got it for her. It was easier than trying to explain it to her.

    Later on, the good deed was returned when we were searching for a post office. An elderly woman, again, stopped in the middle of the footpath and asked if we needed any assistance. She was unsure about the language that we were speaking but when we made it clear that we spoke English, she said “Speak slowly. I'm unfamiliar with your English”. Speaking very slowly, and in unison, she understood and then gave us precise instructions on how to get there. At the post office, we were warned once again about our safety by the lady who helped us work-out the system inside the post office.

    But what we really needed assistance with was to navigate the Rio bus system. It was much easier to catch an Über than try and figure which bus you had to catch and where you needed to change. It seemed that to get anywhere it would take at least an hour. Although public transport was apparently improved for the 2016 Olympic Games, the system is still not integrated well and the metro is limited. It did mean our step-count increased over the week.

    Once the overcast weather disappeared, we set out to see Christ the Redeemer, the most iconic symbol of Rio. The train trip up the mountain was half the adventure, as it chugged its way up the mountain, giving glimpses of Rio from above. There's actually only a couple of ways to get up the mountain: train or bus. The walking trail was recently closed because of the high incidents of robberies and stabbings. But lets gloss over that. The view alone was worth the trip. With a 360° view of Rio, you get to admire the beauty of the entire city. Christ the Redeemer doesn't seem that magnificent from afar but up-close the statue is much more impressive. It is an imposing statue, looming over you from 38 metres above. People lie down on the ground to get their perfect instagram photo, trying to emulate the iconic pose.

    While Rio is known for its beaches and beach culture, and we spent a lot of time walking along Copacabana, we were able to tear ourselves away from the eye-candy to explore other parts of the city, such as the Fort of Copacabana, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Botofoga, Santa Teresa and Escadaria Selarón. After being dropped off in Santa Teresa by our Über driver, we were on the look-out for street art. We were unsure exactly where we needed to go, but immediately we knew that we were in the wrong area. We saw posters plastered along the streets warning people that there had been a high number of assaults and robberies in the area. Exit stage left.

    Retreating down the Selarón Steps, Escadaria Selarón, we came across an Austrian woman selling Caiprinihas on the streets. To feed our new addiction, we jumped at the chance. Our conversation with Anja the Austrian started with us disclosing that we didn't understand Portuguese in Portuguese. The conversation then proceeded through the European continent into French, Spanish, German and English. We got to know Anja a little more. But Jason and Ricky couldn’t agree on some of the content of the conversation. Did she say that she had lived and travelled around South America for three or thirteen years before settling in Rio? It was such a hot day that it called for a second Caipriniha, and was an excuse to chat with Anja the Austrian again. Apparently the world also confuses Austrians for Australians. Anja is constantly being mistaken as an Australian along her travels. We've been mistaken for many different nationalities. Add Italian to the latest list. Perhaps the Über driver could still smell the cannoli from Naples on our breathe.

    Next stop: São Paulo

    For video footage, see:
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  • Day14

    Påväg igen

    October 21, 2014 in Brazil

    Nu åker vi till Salvador, Bahia. Hungriga efter en båttur, en busstur, två taxiresor och ett besök på fel flygplats blev vi lagom nöjda när ostbröd och dödstrött kycklingsandwich är vad flygplatsen har att erbjuda. 2 flyg och åtminstone en taxiresa kvar :) /Mats

  • Day19

    Rio de Janeiro

    December 12, 2010 in Brazil

    Sunrise om 5,21 am.
    Vlug naar boven om de opkomende zon te fotograferen. We bleven samen kijken naar de prachtige zichten tot we bijna aanmeerden in Rio.

    Vlug wassen, omkleden, ontbijten en naar de verzamelplaats voor onze uitstap: Jeep toer naar Corcovado.

    Verlaat de pier met de jeep en ga naar de heuvel van Corcovado, in het Tijucabos, het grootste stadsbos ter wereld. U zult de Christus van Rio kunnen bewonderen. Vanaf Corcovado ziet u de stranden van Copacabana, Ipanema en Leblon. De excursie komt langs Sta. Teresa, een traditioneel district met een mild klimaat en grote huizen die dateren uit begin vd vorige eeuw, hoofdzakelijk gebouw door Engelse spoorwegmanagers. Vandaag is het een kunstcentrum. Dit is het enige district waar je trolleys vindt in Rio.
    de werkelijkheid:
    Anderhalf uur rijden via de oude stad en langs de favellas en de wijk Sta. Teresia en zo door het tropische woud naar Corcovado de berg waar het beroemde standbeeld op staat... het was een aangelegde woud want de originele bomen waren gerooid om koffieplantages aan te leggen, pas in 1861 werd er terug bebost want de overstromingen in de stad door de ontbossing waren niet meer te stoppen!We stopten op een parking en werden met shuttlebusje naar de Corcovado gebracht waar we 50’ vrij hadden.

    Echt de moeite waard, eerst met een roltrap tot aan de voet van Christo el Redemptor, er is een Mariakapel in de sokkel, en men deed juist een rondgang. Het beeld is niet te vatten in een normale foto en er is ongelofelijk veel volk! Het uitzicht is prachtig met de stranden en de bergen!
    Na de vrije tijd en de tocht via de souvenierstalletjes reden we via tunnels en de stad langs het beruchte Copacabana strand. we zaten achterin een open jeep en de omgeving was inspirerend. Achter ons reden auto’s en motoren en de mensen waren vriendelijk en uitgelaten. Dirk boog zich voorover om foto’s te nemen en één van de medepassagiers deed teken dat hij moest oppassen voor zijn camera uit schrik dat hij gestolen zou worden uit zijn handen. We zaten hoger en reden met een snelheid waarbij niemand zou in de wagen springen! Je hebt toch bange mensen! Het was een super trip, dooreengeschud en zonder veel uitstappen maar zeker de moeite waard.
    Later bij het diner vertelde Theo dat zij op eigen gelegenheid de oude stad hadden bezocht. Ze namen een taxi dan kon zijn rollator mee. Toen ze iets dronken op een terras vroeg de serveuse of zij in gezelschap waren, toe ze verklaarden dat ze een taxi genomen hadden en nog wat zouden rondwandelden zie de serveuse: niet doen, het is hier gevaarlijk om te wandelen en jullie zijn te groot doelwit als toeristen alleen! Ze stond erop zelf een taxi te bellen en hen te zien instappen, je ziet wel dat je inderdaad moet oppassen en rekening houden met de omstandigheden.
    Na het lekkere Mexicaans diner hebben we ingepakt want de valiezen moesten vòòr 12 u op de gang staan!
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  • Day1

    Rio de Janeiro

    February 16 in Brazil

    Die Ankunft am Flughafen in Rio verlief sehr zügig. Es war heiss und feucht, halt Hochsommer in der südlichen Hemisphäre. Auf dem Weg mit dem Bus durch das Hafenviertel zur Silver Muse sah ich die halb verfallenen und herunter gekommenen Gebäude. Ich war zum ersten Mal in einem Dritte-Welt-Land.

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