15.09.2007 - 21.09.2007 27 °C
Our final destination Rio De Janiero.... we arrived at about 1 in the afternoon after our bus journey from Ilha Grande and we had a city tour booked at 2 so we were straight back into tourist mode after our relaxing few days on the beach...
We started with Christ The Redemer (Cristo Redentor) statue which we hadnt realised was absolutely massive, you had to drive up the mountain to get to it, but from images we had seen previously we thought it was going to be a lot lower, but it was awesome. The mountain itself is called Corcovado ( Hunchback) and then Christ stands tall on top, it was pretty amazing and we were all quite dumbfounded for a bit. There is also a small wee chapel on top that you can go in and say a wee prayer while up there which was pretty cool. Obviously though the top was jam packed with tourists and everyone was cramming for the pictures but it still didnt take away from the place.
We headed back down the mountain and through the city suburbs of Centro and Santa Theresa stopping at the cities cathedral and Candalaria for a bit, we were on a bit of a tight schedule as we wanted to make it up Sugar Loaf mountain for the sunset, but it was quite amusing when we got to this famous cathedral in Rio that holds 20000 people that the sign outside was advertsing their radio station!!
We made it to Sugar Loaf for about 5pm and managed to get the 2 cable cars up in time to watch the sunset over Rio and see Christ the Redemer glow over the city lights...very cool, it was a fab view over Rio and especially with the lights on the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches they looked super, even though most of the lads were more excited about seeing the Maracana football stadium from the top!
That night was our last as part of the tour and in true irish style we had dinner in a pizza place and headed to the Irish pub Shenanigans in Ipanema! Was good craic and we even managed to find another irish pub owned by a cork man who said he would show the All Ireland the following morning if he woke in time! We made it to the Irish pub the following morning along with about 20 others but the Cork man didnt make it up out of his bed so in the end we didnt get to see the match but it had been a good night regardless.
On the sunday night however we were headed to the Maracana stadium for what was a huge football match, the 2 teams Flamenco and Vasco De Gama - big rivals, were playing in the local derby and it had already been rescheduled once so the fans were all well up for it this evening! We got there and it was just crazy, it was unbelievable the largest stadium in the world and it was packed out and you would have just thought it was a massive rave up party because the build up to the match alone was incredible, the locals definitely know how to put on a good show and are passionate about their football! It was very hard not to join in and especially when the lads were coming round with cans of beer for 3 reais every 2 seconds!
Some of the props were fab, they had huge football jerseys of each team, fireworks, huge inflatable balloons, and any amount of flags although the Flamenco one with Mo from the simpsons was a particular favourite!
Great night and the score ended with a draw so everyone was happy!
The following morning we felt as if we had finished our trip, all the hype was over and we were on our own then for a few days to relax on copacabana and Ipanema beaches, and would you believe it we got a bit bored, we were just so excited about going home and seeing everyone that the sun and beaches and even shopping couldnt make the week go in any quicker - quite shocking really when you consider where we were! But we did love Copacabana beach, the salesmen were incredible and the people watching even better... a lot of speedos and g- strings!!
We did go out for a romantic dinner with lots of wine though to congratulate ourselves on making it around the world together and still be very much in love with each other at the end! ahh... and even after some cracking karaoke lionel richie tunes were sung badly we agreed that it had been a fantastic trip and wouldnt have changed any of it!
We also thought that for all the questions that will be asked when we get home or for others who read this we thought we would compile a quick list of bests in case anyone is following in our footsteps or plan to.............obviously all the relatives and friends we stayed with are excempt from these as it goes without saying how fab they were!
Best places we visited:
South America - Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls, Galapagos & Brazil in general.
China in Chengdu surprisingly did a cracking muesli and fruit
Paraty in Brazil did a great continental number with ham, cheese, fresh bread, fruit and a nice cuppa tea!
Uruguayan Ranch/farm Barbeque
Lake Titicaca fresh salad and meat rolls on the boat
Thailand Red curry on the beach in Ko Tao
China in Chengdu did a super Tibetan Yak casserole stew thing
Best Hotel that we treated ourselves to:
Singapore The Scarlet hotel...extremely arabian nights!
Sensei Paradise resort in Ko Tao Thailand - very honeymooney!
Australia - Cairns Dreatime host Chris is well sound
Amazon Jungle logde - no electricity but candles were fab!
Best Campervan motor park:
Wanaka New Zealand - great showers!!
New Zealand 90 mile beach on the north island
Thailand Ko Phangnan
Trekking for 4 days to Machu Picchu!
Living in a toyota hiace campervan for 4 weeks with each other and making it from the very bottom tip of the south island to the very top tip of the north island without strangling each other!
The last blog entry and we are headed for Rio international airport now to check in and watch Ireland play France in the rugby and a few farewell beers! For all those in Belfast we will see you in the local kings head tomorrow night...cant wait!!
Deb and Ger