“Samba de Janeiro” Brazil Part II

Dedicated to dad. Ps: It has been spellchecked.

There’s a lot that can be written about Rio de Janeiro (the so-called River of January) I’m sure. Interestingly for us though, we managed to make it the rain and flood that killed 70 people that week. Despite the weather, we were there for the New Years Eve and I have never seen a firework show of that extravagance. A rare experience. Here are some notes...

The Beaches

The city is set out over 3 marvelous beaches, namely Ipanema, Leblon and Copacobana. Of these we found Leblon to be the most laid-back and relaxed. Very far from the rush one comes across in Copacobana. Since we visited them the first day of the year, they weren’t very crowded and I’m sure a lot of people were still in their homes having the day after the night before.

The Hotels
• Hotel Majestic - This is the hotel we stayed at. Very central and has all the basic requirements for a holiday. ( For more info: http://www.majestichotel.com.br/)
• Copacobana Palace – A classic. (1702 Avenida Atlantica, Copacobana)
• Marina All-Suites – Actually the travel guides had it all wrong and this hotel was not that special. (696 Avda Delfim Moreira, Leblon).
• Fasano Hotels – For the design conscious. Philip Starck has designed this one. The chains’ hotel in Sau Paulo was ravishing. (http://www.fasano.com.br/)

To do’s
• Rio Scenairum at Lappa: We really enjoyed a night out at the Rio Scenarium, 3 floors of restaurant+live music and you can dance on any floor that meets you taste. There was samba on the first floor...

• Sugar Loaf & Corcovado: On our first day in Rio- before the rain started- we got a chance to see these tourist sites. These landmarks are as grandeur as they seem to be in the pictures. The way up to Corcovado is an interesting road where you get a chance to sightsee the Favelas. The area surrounding it is actually a rainforest! Upon our arrival I had announced I could “live” in Rio, upon learning the types of snakes living in this ecosphere I quickly changed my mind.

• Confeteria Colombo/Lapa district (32 Rua Goncalves Dias, Centro)

• Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro/Metropolitian Cathedral: 4 rectilinear stained glass windows was built between 1964 and 1979. Designed by Edgar Oliveira da Fonseca this modern design reminds one of the modern pyramids.

• Petrobras Building is just across the street from the Metropolitian Cathedral and this steel-like building has a quality of its own.

• Niterói Contemporary Art Museum: If its modern architecture you’re after then you are in search of Mr Oscar Niemeyer. This Brazilian architect is one of the most important names in international architecture scene with works including the UN headquarters in NYC, the Serpentine Gallery in London, National Congress of Brazil and the Cathedral of Brasilia in Brasilia. The Contemporary Art Museum (which I read but we didn’t visit by the way) was finished in 1996 when the architect was aged 86. Its shared like a UFO and with its modernity overlooks the city from the coast of Niteroi.
(For more on the architect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Niemeyer)

• Jardim Botanico and the lake region are also nice for a sunny day out. Since we had a limited amount of those – I am not the one to recommend.

Four words for you Schulz, Salina, Maria Bonita.

• Schulz for the shoes. Please refer to the picture below, honestly, need I say more?

• Salina for the bikinis.
• Maria Bonita for the clothes.

The Food
• Local stuff: Tapas/Adego Perola @ Rua Siqueira Campos, 138-1 Copacobana. Please visit this place. Eat cod balls and horefully you’ll remember this posting. Its a taste I will not forget.

• Alessandro e Frederico. A very nice cafe at the Ipanema district, the bread and the subtle design of the cafe is very welcoming. (www.alessandroefrederico.com.br)
• Meat fruit meat fruit. Lots of it.

Artstuff: The graffiti and The pavements
You’ve danced and eaten and walked the streets for sightseeing. For me though, Rio’s vibe came from its art. Art is so young, so edgy and surrounds you all over the city. In Rio art doesn’t hang in gallery it’s scattered everywhere. Wow...


“Lambada-ing” Brazil Part I

Before I write about Copenhagen, my trip to Brazil intervened. It was inevitable.
The boom and the bustling of the BRIC countries have been talked about for sometime now. It was our turn to begin with the big “B”. We set of too Sau Paulo only to miss our transfer flight to Salvador that evening and eventually make it to our destination (Morro de Sau Paulo) in 36 full hours!
It was worth it.

Morro del Sau Paolo is the capital of the island of Tinhare off the cost of Salvador, laid back with great nature and food offering.

Hotel Recommendation:Hotel Villa Guaiamu
A very laid back hotel with hammocks in the garden and the basic necessities of life. (Including AC!) But more importantly it is the garden in which the ‘Blue Crabs’ of the island, that have nearly become extinct is preserved. These land-based crabs have been hunted down in the island for their meat, but in this hotel you have the perfect opportunity to come across their blue-purple-teal green colours on a sunny afternoon.

What to do around the island?
• Caiparinha at the 2nd beach,
• Watching sunset at the light house and lounging out on the club on the way back-sorry, cant remember the name but its impossible to miss!
• Oven-baked pizza at Chez Max
• Swimming, sun-bathing, swimming, sunbathing, swimming....
• Local fruit+drink stands for freshly made cocktails. (We liked mango,cherry, watermelon mixed with Martini Bianco, very subtle and heavenly)
• The Boat trip around Island of Tinhare and Island of Cairu. Tinhare is a paradise on earth kind of place. Surprisingly 40% of the island is owned by Mr Ferrari.
• With the boat trip you get to visit the island of Cairu with 17th century monestry, colourful buildings that remind you of Lego. The backdrop of Tinhare island is made up of a rainforest like nature... and there is also a great stop on the way for oysters. Lots of them...

The Bahia region in the North of Brazil is home to descendant African community in Brazil. Hence the bold colours scattered everywhere.To explain better here’s a quote from TimesOnline:
“Once the slave capital of Brazil, the city earned its reputation and wealth with sugar, shipping in West Africans to work the plantations, building another colonial confection with each small fortune. When they were finally freed, those slaves stamped their culture on the city with rhythmic axé music, the balletic martial art Capoeira, and their own lilting accent on the Portuguese language.”
“The sea, you see, is where the Brazilian soul wants to be. Or perhaps it’s simpler than that, and they just like a nice beach. Either way, once morning hits, Salvador seems to move en masse to Barra – an urban beach 10 minutes from the centre. This sunny stretch has always exerted a siren-like pull – it’s the first place the Europeans settled in Bahia, and Gilberto Gil used to hang out here in the ’60s, when he fancied a break from ‘The Girl from Ipanema’, his annoyingly ubiquitous worldwide hit.” (From: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/destinations/latin_america/article1743635.ece)