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Two weeks in Brazil

Rio, Ihla Grande, Paraty, Sao Paulo (Brazil)

View South America on murfclaire's travel map.

Landed in Rio on Thursday 13th May, weather was class and we went straight down for a walk on the Copacabana - yes I sang the song and did a dance! We spent the first day finding out bearings and then set off for Christ the Redeemer on Saturday morning - if we knew how to speak an iota of brazilian portugeuese this would have been a lot easier as we decided to make our own way using the local bus (which is about as well signposted as Dublin Bus). Buy they say its not the destination that counts.....its the journey?? Take the 183 bus to Corcovado for anyone who needs to know! We eventually made it to Corcovado and as the tram is out of service due to rains earlier in the year we had to bus it up the long winding very steep road. We werent at all feeling lazy when three guys passed us out on bikes. Unfortunately Christ himself was getting a bit of a facelift so we got our pics taken in front of scaffolding but it was amazing to see it and the views and wonder how it was built all that way up on the mountain over 80 years ago!!

On our way back we decided to visit Santa Theresa - another comedy show trying to find our way up - but we got there eventually and had a stroll around the cobble streets and a trip back down on the famous tram, holding on for dear life. We stopped off in Lapa Irish pub and then home before getting ready to head out for a few drinks to - as all us paddys tend to do - an irish pub. Shennanigans in Ipanema was the destination and we just so happened to bump into the Irish navy who were on a PR trip in South America and were having a night off. They invited us to a civic reception on their boat the following day with free drink and food.....needless to say we were delighted to take them up on the offer! Murf was even more chuffed when he found out there was to be Clonakilty black pudding on offer!!!

Sunday morning we went to visit the Sugar loaf mountain (bus 513 there and 512 back) which had the most spectacular views - seriously i was nearly pinching my self when we were up there! It was here my mosquito bites started to make an appearance, they were getting very ugly to say the least and the locals were staring at me (for one probably because i was so pasty and two my hidious looking legs). Back to the hotel (yes we were posh backpackers for the first few nights in Rio) and the preparations began for our trip to LE Niamh which was docked at rio port. Getting there was another interesting journey, we took the metro to our stop and when we got out realised we were in the middle of the slums - i swiftly removed all jewellery and stuffed it away and quick marched to get a taxi. Finally got to the ship and they were delighted to see us as out of 120 guests inivited only around 50 turned up so they needed help eating all the sausages ) After the reception we were invited to the captains cabin for a drink and then we went into town with the gang for a few caiprinhas.

Our last day was spent catching a few rays and we also caught sunset at Ipanema beach which was also a pinch myself moment. Rio is an amazing city, expensive but definitely worth the trip.

After five days in Rio it was time to say our goodbyes and we headed for the lovely island of ihla grande, a laid back car-less, atm-less (so bring as much money as you need) island around 150kms south of Rio. Met a load of backpackers on the ferry on the way over and ended up a lot of them were staying in our hostel in ihla grande (Aquario). The first accent we heard when we got off the boat was a kilkenny one - a girl that has been working there for the last year and who turns out to be somehow related to Murfs sister in law - small world! We had an all you can eat bbq at our hostel on the first night, live music and a good ould disco afterwards. We went on a boat trip the following day to a load of beaches around the island and jumped off the boat at a few places into the blue ocean - it was just paradise. So we took loads of pics and came back to the internet cafe to upload them all and what does Claire do only push the memory card in the wrong slot and it disappeared BUT the nice people at the internet cafe opened up the hard drive and got it back for us the next day.....we didnt mind paying the fee as all our Rio pics were now safe. we had planned a day of sunbathing for our last day on the island but of course the clouds came to visit and we had to settle for a few beers overlooking the beach and planning the next leg of the journey..making it to Iguazu Falls.

First off, we left the island for the little village of Paraty - the bus ride from Angra dos Rios was fairly bumpy (memories of Patsy Wrynns journey to cavan came to mind!). Paraty is a nice spot, not much happening - except a religious festival of some sort which meant there was a nice market there which of course meant cheap food which were beginning to love! We stayed in a really nice hostel just overlooking the river called Hostel Paraty - well it was lovely until we were heading to bed and a MASSIVE cockroach crawled across the ground in our room. After several attempts to kill it (in hindsight im glad i didn't as apparantly they lay a load of eggs when they're killed), the night was spent on top of the bunk bed hoping we were safe. Obviously we got out in one piece....it was a close one though:) Then it was time to leave Paraty for the long long journey to Foz de Iguazu, with a pit stop in the massive bus station in Sao Paulo.

As cousin domhnall pointed out to us, stray dogs are everywhere in Brazil. all over the city of Rio, playing on the beaches on ihla grande, waiting for buses in Paraty......world war 3 nearly broke out when one followed us back to our hostel in ihla grande and started a fight with the local mongrel......needless to say we didnt own up :)

6 hours to Sao Paulo and 14 hours to Foz du Iguacu, a long journey over the border and we were at our next destination....Puerto Igaucu in Argentina

Posted by murfclaire 18:27 Archived in Brazil

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