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From Rio to Ilha Grande

Last bits of Brazil

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When we flew back to Rio de Janeiro, we couldn't believe that our family was leaving and that our 2 weeks together in Brazil were over...all the laughter and good experiences lived didn't leave space to realise how that wonderful time together was consuming quickly. Back in Rio, we all went to our hotel in Copacabana (yes, a proper one! with a decent bed and an en-suite toilet!), and went for a walk to the beach right next to it. A few hours later Marco, Patty, Joey and Luli disappeared in a taxi, and we felt nostalgic but happy, because our friends had crossed the Atlantic just to spend some time with us. We knew anyway, that another meeting was going to take place upon our return in Europe, so there wouldn't be any time to miss each other!

Maria flew to Rio with another plane late that evening and she made it on time to grab some dinner with us. We met up with a friend of Nick from Italy who was casually in Rio with his girlfriend, and spent a nice evening together. We repeated our ritual in Rio i.e. walk to Ipanema, stop at Poli-Sucos, a little sunbathing and bikini shopping, oh yes, it felt good to be back in Cidade Maravilhosa! Maria left after 2 days and we managed to meet up with Claire and Craig, a Scottish couple we knew from Halong Bay, and there we were, 6 months later in the same city! We had dinner at Santa Teresa and saw the fireworks opening the show at the Sambadrome, so we decided to walk down to where all the masses were. Everyone was dressed in fancy carnival costumes, adorned with feathers and all sorts of brilliant ornaments that must have cost an arm and a leg. Around the Sambodrome there were many people reselling used tickets, and after a little bargaining Claire and Craig went inside. We didn't have money so we couldn't get in, but were happy to see the atmosphere that embraced the city. It was magic, and we were experiencing it. Our four days in Rio passed by quickly and we saw how the carnival kept people partying every hour of the day non-stop; the passion these guys demonstrate for a party is overwhelming; they're definitely the best partiers ever!

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Brazil is big and full of interesting places, but we decided to take it easy during our last weeks and stayed around Rio de Janeiro. We first went to Buzios, known as the Brazilian St. Tropez (Brigitte Bardot made it famous), and a wonderful spot just 3 hours away by bus from Rio. The town of Buzios is cute, posh, small, well-maintained, and is located in a peninsula with more than 20 beaches, so it's attractive to tourists. We stayed 7 nights at the Che Lagarto hostel, new and well located. Apart from beach hopping there's not that much to do in Buzios, but one thing that you must visit when you go there is Arraial do Cabo. We went there on a tour and took a boat trip to the two best beaches we saw in Brazil; Prainhas do Atalaia and Praia da Ilha do Farol. So called the Brazilian Caribbean, the sea has an amazing colour and unique ecosystem, as it's where the Patagonian currents meet the Caribbean, and voilĂ ! Breathtaking oceanic landscapes overwhelm your senses. During our stay in Buzios we met Claire and Craig again, and had the most amazing time on a party boat trip - FREE CAIPIRINHAS! What else could we ask for?

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From Buzios to Ilha Grande, another jewel from Brazil. It used to be a prison for the most dangerous convicts, a port for pirates and the base of a lazaret. Unspoiled, with a small population in the village of Abraao, we felt we were in the middle of nowhere. Despite our willingness to explore the island, it never stopped raining during our stay there, making it very difficult to do anything. Still, we managed to go on a couple of boat trips, one of them left us off at the best surf beach in Brazil, Lopes Mendes. Lopes Mendes and Lagoa Azul were probably our favourite spots in the island, but still it's hard to tell since the horrible weather didn't allow us to discover the north part of the island.

After 5 bad weather days we went back to Rio de Janeiro to spend our last night in Brazil and in South America. We stayed at a depressing hostel called Casa6, and it was also raining there...and we were sad. Sad because we realised that the trip was coming to an end. We took our last strolls in Ipanema, drank our last juices and went to the beach. The famous mountain of Ipanema was surrounded by clouds, and the beach was empty. Suddenly the beautiful atmosphere of the city was gone, there were no hot guys and girls showing off their Brazilian swimming costumes, no music, no one playing football or jumping the waves. Only the pareo seller was there, holding the Brazilian flag, making an effort to earn some money, even if it wasn't a very productive day. We walked towards him and bought a sarong with the Brazilian flag on it, as a souvenir to take with us to Europe, to remember how special this country is.

Twenty-four hours later we were inside a British Airways airplane on our way to London Heathrow. It was time to go back home, but it was different; we were different.

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Posted by sonianick 17:04 Archived in Brazil Tagged round_the_world

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