Fonte da Saudade

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  • Day45

    Rio de Janiero, Brazil (part tres)

    February 17, 2018 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 82 °F

    What a fabulous day in Rio! The 4 of us hired a guide to see some of the popular sites plus some other sites that we might not be able to get to on a regular excursion. Luciana quickly assessed our group and saw that we were interested in seeing as much as possible and we did indeed! She had some great connections and she would phone ahead to one of the more crowded sites and have someone she knew there purchase the tickets for us and have them waiting when we arrived.
    Our first stop was the Christ the Redeemer statue. We took a cog train up there that at times seemed to move nearly vertically. There is something special about actually seeing something so iconic. The clouds obscured our view over the city somewhat, but it was a magical moment none-the-less.
    We sped across the city to take the 2 trams that go up to Sugarloaf mountain. The views were spectacular and we learned a great deal about the layout of the city from Luciana.
    Next was a drive-by of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Apparently, there is quite a “beach life” in Rio. Luciana said that most of the people on the beaches are locals and you always go to a specific area indicated by a number along the road. For example, she always goes to number 9. All of her “beach friends” are also always at number 9. Within 9, she goes to Moises beach shack. For very few reals (about 31 cents per real), Moises provides you with a chaise lounge, an umbrella, will get you any refreshments that you wish from any restaurant and will watch your stuff if you go swimming. She said that she’s known her beach friends for years, but she never sees them anywhere but the beach. Hhmmm...
    Our late lunch was near Ipanema Beach. We specifically asked to have the typical Brazilian dish Feijoada. It is black beans, garlic and a number of different meats served with rice, cassava flour and kale. Delicious, especially paired with a caipirinha and a shot of some unknown alcohol that is supposed to “open up the appetite”.
    Back to the van, where I immediately fell hard asleep until we arrived at the Rocinha favela for a short walk. The favelas (about 1000 of them in Rio) are almost like small cities. They are quite poverty stricken and struggle with crime and disease, but there were some small improvements in the one we visited. There is electricity (illegally obtained, but not pursued for payment), running water and some technology such as cable tv. There are many services such as groceries and clothing shops, but there is no infrastructure to speak of.
    All the rest of the time, Luciana regaled us with lots of stories about Brazil, life in Rio and some of the people she has served as guide for in the past.
    With our heads about to explode from all the information, sights, sounds and smells of the day, we head back to the ship to prepare for an evening at the Carnival Winners parade. Who knows what that will bring?
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  • Day72


    December 10, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    After Salvador, Rio feels like a different country. Salvador felt edgy and a little dangerous. Rio by contrast is very vibrant and cosmopolitan, or at least Copacabana is. We haven't had occasion to venture further than Ipanema yet.

    Copacabana is a fairly affluent neighbourhood and the cost of fruit reflect this. Mangoes, bananas and papayas are easily R$1 to R$1.50 more per kilo than in Salvador and we don't see bargains like pineapple for R$1 like we saw in Salvador but the relative sense of safety here is a good trade off.

    Our newest yummy discovery is açai sorbet. We read online that the best açai was at Amazônia Soul in Ipanema so we headed there yesterday to try a bowl. A large bowl costs R$22 ($8 CAD), almost three times as much as the bowl we tried the day before at Sorvete Alex in Copacabana. True, the R$22 bowl was amazingly good and creamier in texture than the R$8 bowl... but not that we thought the R$8 bowl tasted bad. In fact, we quite loved it. I guess we'll have to do more investigating :-)
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  • Day102


    December 10, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    As much as I dislike the song and the artist, since I've been in Rio, I can't shake the earbug out of my head.

    We're staying in Copacabana and, of course, every time I see the name of our neighborhood written on a sign, my inner voice immediately starts singing that insipid little ditty. God help me, I have to endure two more weeks of this!

    Other than that one annoyance, Rio has been most enjoyable so far. As Brenda says, it feels like we've arrived in a completely different country since leaving Salvador. It's a lot more cosmopolitan, everything seems to be better maintained and definitely it's more affluent. Unfortunately, it's been either overcast or raining almost the entire time we've been here, so we haven't done much other than scout out our surroundings, eat and plan the rest of our stay here. On the plus side, we left the oppressive tropical heat and humidity behind us in Salvador with the temperature here hovering around the high 20's. Next week it's supposed to warm up considerably so we'll take in the sun and sand on the Copacabana (At the Copa,....) beach.

    We also feel much more at ease here than in Salvador as there are always throngs of people everywhere. Of course, we're still on our guard and will not be doing anything that could result in another mugging. As such, I haven't been strolling the streets with my camera and the photo on this blog is a stock internet photo. Sorry.

    The fruit here is equally as good as in Salvador, but prices are much higher, although still a far cry from what we'll be paying back home. I'm kind of dreading heading home and leaving behind all this ripe and juicy tropical fruit.

    One of the most popular treats here is Acai. The pulp of the acai berries is frozen and blended with different ingredients to make a sorbet style treat that's loaded with antioxidants. We've tried two versions so far: a R$8.00 version and a R$22.00 version, that claims to be the best in the world. It was excellent, but I'm not certain it was worth paying 3 times the price for it. I'm sure we'll experiment with many more versions before we leave here.

    Yesterday we walked the three kilometers to Ipanema, but despite looking for her, I never saw the girl. It was nice and a little more affluent than Copacabana (...the hottest spot north of Havana...), but overall we prefer our neck of the woods.

    All in all, I'm certain the next two weeks are going to whiz by and we'll be back home before we know it. We're very heartened to see the warm temperatures Ottawa has been experiencing and hope they'll continue on through January. Please!
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  • Day77


    December 15, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Caipirinha is Brazil's national cocktail. It's made with lime, sugar and "cachaça" which is a hard liquor distilled from sugarcane. You can get one at any bar, or at eating establishments that serve alcohol, or even at the beach. We finally tried our first caipirinha after being in Brazil for 19 days.

    Many online reviews rave about the caipirinhas at Academia da Cachaça located in Leblon so that's where we went. Academia da Cachaça serve the traditional caipirinha made with lime but also caipirinhas made with pineapple, passionfruit and other seasonal fruits. We ordered one with lime ($R 12.50) and one with passionfruit ($R 17.50).

    The traditional lime caipirinha is reminiscent of a margarita or pisco sour but not half as good. The taste of the cachaça is just downright unpleasant. I preferred the passionfruit caipirinha just because the passionfruit hid the taste of the cachaça better. Overall, I'm not sure it's an experience I need to repeat.

    The caipirinhas at the Academia weren't large - the ones we saw on the beach were twice as tall - but on an empty stomach, boy did they pack a punch. We both felt pretty zoosed after we drank them down so we staggered over to the Pão de Açúcar across the street and ended up ordering a pizza margherita to soak up some of the alcohol.
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  • Day79

    Local markets in Rio's Zona Sul

    December 17, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    We finally found some local markets in Rio. The discovery came about while searching for tours in Rio and I came across a "Fruit Tasking & Food Market Tour" at Although we never took the tour, we did take advantage of the weekly produce fairs listed for Rio's South Zone:

    Monday: Rua Henrique Dumont in Ipanema
    Tuesday: Praca General Osorio in Ipanema
    Wednesday: Praca Edmundo Bittencourt in Copa
    Thursday: Rua Ronald de Carvalho in Copa
    Friday: Praca Nossa Senhora da Paz in Ipanema
    Saturday: Rua Frei Leandro in Jardim Botanico

    We went to both markets listed for Copacabana and were astounded by the wonderful selection, quality and price. Yesterday, at the Praça Edmundo Bittencourt market, we bought 3 beautiful heads of different lettuces for $R5 ($1.82 CAD) and 8 small papayas for $R5. Today, at the Rua Ronald de Carvalho market, we bought 2 large papayas, 8 passion fruits, 24 oranges, 6 small cherimoyas, a bag of tomatoes and a big gooey piece of manioc cake all for $R29 ($10.57 CAD). The best bargain were the oranges, 2 dozens for $R5!

    We experienced a bad case of sticker shock when we returned to Canada from Thailand. Methinks the sticker shock will be even worse returning from Brazil.
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  • Day0

    Leaving UK

    May 6, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Flights were booked in Sep to Rio, out from is up to us, eek!!!
    STA Travel. £900.
    The time has arrived, our bags are packed... I've opted for a small 40l, Anna has opted for 65l for everything but the kitchen sink.
    Let the adventure begin!!!!

    Accommodation is quoted per room per night; buses are per person; taxis are per ride; food is per meal for both of us.
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