When In Rio.....December 15, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C
Of course, we weren't going to travel all this way and not do at least a few of the "must do" in Rio things.
First, let's talk booze! Specifically, let's talk Caipirinha, Brazil's national cocktail. It's a mixture of Cachaca, lime and sugar. Cachaca is distilled sugar cane juice and it packs a wallop at anywhere from 38 - 48% proof (the homemade moonshine version can be even stronger). According to Wikipedia, in 2007 Brazilians consumed 1.5 billion liters of the stuff!
Rather than do too much damage to our livers, we elected to do a web search for the best Caipirinha in Rio and we were directed to Academia de Cachaca in the upscale Leblon district. Located right next to Ipanema, Leblon is about a 4.5 km walk from our apartment, so we set out at around 11:30 to ensure we wouldn't be drinking before noon.
When we arrived at Academia, there were quite a few customers having lunch, but not too many had Caipirinhas on their tables. OK, on a Monday afternoon, most of them probably had to get back to work, so a potent cocktail was probably not their best choice.
Brenda ordered a classic lime Caipirinha and I chose the passion fruit version. Our drinks arrived in short order and were served in a squat little old-fashioned glass. We'd seen Caipirinhas being served on the beach in tall glasses and figured, for the price they were charging here, they could at least give us a decent pour. After my initial disappointment wore off, I took a sip through a straw without first stirring the drink. I guess all the cachaca was sitting on the bottom as I could feel my chest hair multiplying when the firewater went down my throat. Yikes! OK, I didn't have a lot in my stomach at that point, but the drink went straight to my head. "Holy crap", I thought, "I'm not going to be in any shape to carry Brenda home!". In the end, we were more than happy with the size of the drinks and merrily teetered our way out of the bar.
On Tuesday, we made our pilgrimage to the top of Corcovado to visit the statue of Cristo Redentor (Christ the redeemer). We rode up the mountain in a mini bus that left from Copacabana beach. The sinuous road up the mountain is relatively narrow and ridiculously steep in some places, yet I was astounded to see a bike lane indicated all the way up. The summit of the mountain is 709 meters above sea level. I could not imagine riding my bike up this hill, yet we did actually see one brave soul pedaling his way to the top in the 39 degree heat.
The statue is impressive. It is 30 meters tall and, much to my surprise, is covered with a mosaic of sandstone. It truly is awe inspiring as is the view from the summit, which is the highest granite dome formation in Brazil. Equally awe inspiring is the panoramic view of the city. You can see downtown Rio, Sugarloaf Mountain, the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, the Maracanã Stadium, and several of Rio's favelas.
Of course, while in Rio, we had to try one of the local favorites: Acai. It's the frozen pulp of the Acai berry and is served as a sorbet in just about any snack bar in the city. We've adopted one spot that charges R$8.00 for 500 mls, about $ 2.75 CDN. In the heat we've been having the last few days, there's not much more refreshing than a nice tall Acai. And, of course, we always take in the numerous health benefits of consuming Acai. Did you really think we ONLY eat it because it tastes good? Yeah, maybe.Read more