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Top 10 Travel Destinations Leme

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42 travelers at this place

  • Day8

    Sugar Loaf and being a beach bum

    September 9, 2019 in Brazil ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

    Joe’s rich pasta dish last night must have not been the best choice, or maybe the tap water did it, but for whatever reason, we had a very late morning start. I took advantage and walked a few miles up and down the beach, and by 11 or so we were on our way to the “bondinho” (cable car) up to Sugar Loaf Mountain. It is a big piece of rock jutting out of the water, with amazing views. Getting there involves a stop on an intermediary rock, about half as high as Sugar Loaf itself. The views at every turn were pretty amazing, but I have to say I was left wishing I could have seen the bays and coves and mountains before all the high rise building.

    After a lunch in a beach café, I was once again left to entertain myself for a few hours, and this time I spent a good chunk of post-elliptical time sitting on the roof of our hotel in a beach chair next to the pool with views over the ocean below. Yes, very uncharacteristic of me to sit and do nothing, but it was relaxing, I will admit. Not sure about dinner tonight, that will depend on Joe’s stomach.
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  • Day9

    Back in full tourist mode

    September 10, 2019 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Last night I was once again mistaken for the women’s soccer coach. I looked her up and see that she was a very controversial hire and has not done anything good for the Brazilian team. Currently ranked number 10, that is their lowest ranking ever. Not a great doppleganger to have!

    Joe felt much better this morning, so we decided to head for Corcovado. The weather shows clouds and possible showers later in the week, so decided that though the morning was a bit hazy, we should carpe diem. Probably everyone has seen the statue of Christ the Redeemer way up on the top of a huge rock. The cog railway took more than a half hour to get up there, through jungle type forest. We spent about an hour up there looking around, walking through some paths from one view to the other, really a highlight of any trip to Rio.

    Unfortunately the Primitive Art museum we thought was right up the hill has closed, so on to Plan B. The Botanical Gardens. As is usually our experience, especially in small tourist venues, the café/restaurante in these places tend to be just fine. And this was no exception, a really nice, cool spot with decent food. Lots of orchids, 150 year old palm trees, jacarandá trees, you get the picture. Very pleasant, good recommendation Katy!

    Tomorrow we will probably head downtown to some more serious touristic visits — palaces, churches, monasteries and stuff like that.
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  • Day7

    On to Rio

    September 8, 2019 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    We sadly said goodbye to dear daughter, who is staying another day in Sao Paulo to see friends, and hopped on a short flight to Rio. At the airport, a group of about 5 was obviously talking about me, and 2 took my picture. I guess this is as close to famous as I will ever be — my son told me I should put on a Brazil selection shirt or jacket and then see how I get the royal treatment. :-)

    Uber has flooded the Rio airport. There are special signs pointing you down the Uber path, and a meeting point with about 20 parking spots. Three Uber employees direct traffic, announce arrivals of drivers, and call for passengers. The fare into town was about $10, compared to $50 in a cab. As you might imagine, there was nothing going on at the taxi stands.

    Our hotel is right on the beach named Leme, the so-called “quiet family zone.” We’re on the 15th floor with a pretty decent side view (I guess you pay more for a beach-facing view, but at least we are not in the back!). We have eaten, walked, and worked out (LifeFitness elliptical, woo hoo!), and it is night. The roof-top pool has a restaurant with great views. I assume the food is bad and overpriced, but we may just go ahead and splurge tonight.

    Since we have lost our tour guide, we will have to start reading up on the sights and planning a few days’ worth of activities. The one thing I was sure to do was book a feijoada in the Copacabana Palace for Saturday. Feijoada on Saturday is a Brazilian tradition and the one we had there 30 years ago was pretty good!
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  • Day11

    Folklore and Presidents

    September 12, 2019 in Brazil ⋅ ☁️ 29 °C

    We had a really nice combination of things to do today. First to the folklore museum — nice artifacts, but for me the highlight was the cute groups of school kids. Then a short walk to the former Presidential Palace now a museum, and the place where the dictator Getúlio Vargas committed suicide. The gun he used and his bloody nightshirt are on display, kind of grotesque, I thought. All of our day’s locations were within a km or so of each other, so we walked around downtown a lot. That is one of my favorite activities when in a big city.

    Lunch in another restaurant Joe remembered — another white tablecloth place, I am getting the idea that he was usually living high on the hog down here. From there we went to the Institute where lots of research was done. And since Joe has never met an academic bookstore he didn’t love, he was in hog heaven. We got inside the institute and walked around his old haunts, even though the archives where he spent the most time have been moved.

    Dinner tonight in a Lebanese restaurant — after a week in Sao Paulo with its excellent Lebanese restaurants, this one has a pretty high standard to live up to, we will see!
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  • Day12

    Feijoada Flop

    September 13, 2019 in Brazil ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    Joe kept insisting he had to have a feijoada. It’s the “typical” Brazilian meal, a pot filled with all kinds of meats, surrounded by plates of mantioc flour, collard greens, orange slices, beans, rice, etc. The place he remembered, the restaurant in the modernist Copacabana Palace Hotel, no longer serves feijoada. But we persisted.

    After a visit to the Copacabana Fort, built by the Portuguese to fend off the French, British, and Dutch (and maybe a few more), we took a long walk on two other iconic Brazilian beaches — Arpoador (named after the Harpoon Stone, from which harpooners supposedly used to hunt whales) and Ipanema. Now that I can compare all the beaches, I would say for sure that Copacabana is the prettiest — longest stretches of sand, widest beaches. But all of them have side lanes of traffic whizzing by and endless high rise apartment buildings.

    And then, having worked up an appetite, came the feijoada. Let’s just say it’s one of those experiences that should have been left in the memory and not repeated. I am glad I chose a salad. Now Joe is sleeping it off, and I am feeling superior for having been able to hop on the elliptical without feeling like I had a rock in my stomach. And now I am on the hotel terrace looking out as dark clouds move ini. All very dramatic.

    Home tomorrow!!!
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  • Day10

    Downtown Rio

    September 11, 2019 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    We had a vague plan when we left this morning. First stop, the Museu do Arte do Rio, in an old train station, Interesting collection, fun to visit, and with a great view from the sixth floor rooftop! Across the praça is the futuristic waterfront Museu de Amanha (Museum of Tomorrow). We didn’t visit it but really enjoyed walking around and getting the views of the port, Niteroi across the bay, etc.

    Joe remembered good lunches in the Cafe do Colombo, where we headed for lunch, getting lost and ultimately hopping in a cab. Belle Epoque, this place used to be for the upper crust, but is very democratic nowadays. Really lovely, with three different floors of different kinds of service. We took the top floor — better food and nicer surroundings.

    From there we walked to the National Library where Joe spent many many hours doing research way back when. It was a nice trip down memory lane. Across the street is the over the top Municipal Theater, built in the early 1900s in four years of non-stop building and cost overruns. The total price, ten times the projected cost, constituted 2% of the GNP for one year. But it is gorgeous — nothing built in Brazil, evry single thing was imported from Europe in pieces and then assembled on site. Stained glass from Germany, marble from Italy, etc etc.

    Time is flying — we have only two more full days and then a long haul back to the midwest.
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  • Day19

    Rio de Janeiro/リオデジャネイロ

    January 19 in Brazil ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    More than 20 years have passed since the last time I was in Rio.  I forgot how beautiful Rio is. With its magnificent granite peaks; sun-drenched, white-sand beaches; and colorful neighborhoods clinging to the hillsides, Rio is absolutely one of the most stunningly beautiful cities in the world.
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  • Day45

    Blame it on Rio

    February 17, 2018 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 84 °F

    My dear wife, Ali, is currently out of commission so this blog post on Carnival falls to me. It all started with our special tickets to the Winner’s Parade, a collection of the 6 winning Samba school entries capping off the fesivities of Brazilian Carnival. We heard about the the more than 450 block parties, the numerous street parades and the millions of people that attended the Ipanema and Cocacabana beach parties, but these happened just prior to our arrival and the city of Rio was managable for the past three days of our visit. We thought the Winner’s Parade on the last night of our visit was probably just a low-key show for visitors like us with our special passes and shuttle busses.

    Not so. The samba schools are dance clubs that work nearly a full year to develop the theme, samba music, dances and floats for their entries in Carnival. During the festivities, 5 or 6 of the 12 major schools (there are hundreds of minor schools) are selected to perform in the Winner’s Parade, which occurs in the Sambadrome, a structure built specifically for this event.

    We knew these basics ahead of time, but the reality was revealed when we saw the glow of light from the Sambadrome as our bus was crossing town, still miles away. The Sambadrome is like a linear stadium, but nearly one-half mile in length and seating more than 70,000 people. We reached our seats in the brightlly light parade stretch about 9:00 PM and people were asking us if we planned on spending the whole night. Say what?

    The first of the six schools entered the Sambadrome about 10:00 with pulsing music, fireworks, much noise and cheering. We had one beer and pizza by that point. Only then did we realize that each samba school has 3000-3500 costumed participants and 5 or 6 spectacular floats laden with dancing people who actively engage the audience. We had held off on drinking the national drink, the caipirinha, but the rush of colors, pulsating beats, costumed bodies and excitement of the event led us to unwisely succumb and imbibe as the evening progressed. I remember the name “caipirinha” by thinking of the word piranha, but it turns out the similarity is not just in the sound of the name.

    Each samba school takes about an hour to pass through the stands with a break between, during which we tried to process the overwhelming visual, auditory and social experience, (and get more caipirinhas). Then the next school starts up, with a different song, color scheme and theme (usually political, a rich field right now) and more overwhelming stimulus. We got home at 3:00 AM even with the favorable 1-hour time change that conveniently occurred that night. We didn’t even see the last two samba schools, fearing we would miss the early departure of our ship. So, Ali is in bed and I am writing. The photos accompanying this blog enhance this verbal description, but there is one word that I have never used that perhaps does it best…scintillating.
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  • Day265

    Rio de Janeiro

    April 22, 2019 in Brazil ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Jetzt ist es endlich soweit. Unsere Rundreise durch Brasilien zusammen mit Caros Mutti für die kommenden 3 Wochen kann beginnen - dachten wir. Leider begann der Urlaub mit einer 12-Stündigen Verspätung des Fluges aus Frankfurt und so ging uns der 1. Tag verloren. Ziemlich ärgerlich, aber zum Glück hatten wir für diesen Tag noch kein Programm gebucht. Für die folgenden zwei Tage hatten wir unseren Guide Lasse aus Tübingen. Unsere Unterkunft hatten wir auf Empfehlung von Nina und Daniel gebucht, die letztes Jahr im November hier waren und das Hostel ist wirklich super! Es liegt am Hang in einer ruhigen Favela mit Blick auf die Copacabana. Unser Zimmer hatte einen kleinen Balkon mit Hängematte und auf der Dachterrasse wurden leckere Cocktails und kleine Gerichte serviert.
    Den ersten Tag fuhr uns unser Guide durch die Stadt und wir besichtigten einige historische Gebäude wie die Oper und die Bibliothek. Wir machten eine kurze Fahrt mit der historischen Straßenbahn nach Santa Teresa und probierten ein typisches Gericht namens Açaí (Assa-I ausgesprochen). Es ist ein Sorbet aus der gleichnamigen Beere und Bananen und wird zusammen mit etwas Granola gegessen. Nachmittags besichtigten wir noch eine kleine Favela in der zwei Jungs es zu einiger Berühmtheit durch ihre Kunst geschafft haben. Sie bauten die Favelas aus geklauten Ziegelsteinen nach und rekonstruierten Geschehnisse um damit zu spielen. Irgendwann wurde jemand darauf aufmerksam und sie wurden international bekannt. Später schlenderten wir noch ein Stück auf dem Olympia-Boulevard und ließen den Abend dann bei einem Caipirinha und Samba ausklingen.
    Am nächsten Tag starteten wir auf die „Rio-Natur Pur“-Tour. Wir besuchten Rios Stadtwald der zu den größten der Welt zählt. Vorher machten wir noch einen kurzen halt in „Parque Lage“ für ein kleines Foto mit Pool und Christusstatue, sowie einem kleinen Snack mit Empanadas und Mate-Limo. Nach dem Vista Chinesa, einem Aussichtspunkt, den eine nachgeahmte chinesische Pagode schmückt, ging es weiter zum Museu do Açude, wo wir die Kunstsammlung, die vornehmlich aus alten Kacheln bestand, bestaunten. Interessanter als die Ausstellung, war die Bootstour, die wir im Anschluss machten und wo wir in direkter Nähe zu den Siedlungen Wasserschweine und Kaimane fanden. Jetzt hatten wir noch ein bisschen Zeit bis zum Sonnenuntergang, den wir auf einem Aussichtspunkt zwischen Stadt und Christus genießen wollten. So entschlossen wir uns kurzerhand zum Strand nach Barra zu fahren und ins kühle Nass zu springen. Die Begeisterung bei den Frauen hielt sich in Grenzen und so ging ich allein mit unserem Guide baden und ließ mich ein paar Minuten in den Wellen treiben. Das Wasser und der Strand waren einfach super schön. Jetzt stand als Abschluss noch der Aussichtspunkt „Mirante Dona Marta“ an. Wir nahmen noch einen Umweg durch die größte Favela in Rio in der nach Schätzungen rund 300.000 Menschen leben. Wir waren zwar etwas knapp dran, aber dennoch hatten wir von dem Aussichtspunkt eine tolle Sicht auf den Christus, den Zuckerhut und die Stadt. Besonders toll war, dass gerade ein Fußballspiel lief und die Tore sowohl im Stadion als auch in den einzelnen Stadtteilen mit Jubel und Feuerwerk gefeiert wurden. Als letzte Amtshandlung gingen wir jetzt noch in einem richtig tollen Restaurant im Stadtteil Santa Teresa essen, bevor wir im Hostel noch unsere Koffer für die bevorstehende Rundreise packten und ins Bett fielen. Die Zeit war wirklich viel zu kurz und wir freuen uns, wenn wir in 2,5 Wochen nochmal hier sind.
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  • Day47

    Exploring Rio

    January 2, 2018 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    It's the second day of January. New years eve in Rio was unbelievable in every sense of the word. I have never seen so many fireworks. Copacabana beach itself had 10 of the Wellington-size barges alone. The pushing crowds trying to get on the beach after 11pm were fun to begin with but soon got grating. Louis and I lost Eyob at about 11:45 (he's fine, don't worry).

    Louis and Eyob spent all of new years day recovering so I decided to walk to Botafogo, the suburb directly above Cobacabana. I think this is what they call an 'up-market' district (ie no slums/favelas). Leafy paths, expensive restaurants and great views. I'd live there.

    To be honest, we haven't done much sightseeing, but I don't mind. The heat is oppressive and I like just walking around. I could write about some interesting things. The guy next door to us walks around with a glock in his waistband, but you'd all prefer to hear about the tourist sights, right?

    Pics: (1) Fireworks; (2) View from Botafogo of Sugarloaf Rock; (3) Leblon beach.
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