23.01.2013 32 °C
We woke around 8.30am, after broken but not bad sleep. To be expected really when we're not used to sleeping in a building with this many people.
The room and our tiny bathroom (by the way, I have no idea what it says on the wall?!):
After a quick shower we headed down to breakfast. On offer was bread, cheese, ham, apples, bananas, coffee, tea, milk and water. There's a toastie machine so we decide to make cheese and ham toasties, however not realising how slow the machine was, Andrew buttered the outside (like we would at home) and with all the other travellers waiting behind us we took them out too soon and ended up with a soggy, buttery sandwich Because of the queue, Andrew ate them (gross!) and I made a normal cheese sandwich.
After realising my mini hairdryer had less power here than at home (disappointed!), we got on with the day. We started with a walk to the local beach, Praia de Botafogo, which has an amazing view out to Sugar Loaf Mountain. Without thinking I turned to face inland and there it was - Christ the Redeemer in full view! It looks amazing, watching over the city, and made me really excited to see it up close.
From there we walked around Botafogo, and came upon the Metro system and decided to take the train to Ipanema then walk to Copacabana. We managed to work out which line to go on (thanks London Underground, nothing is more complicated than you!) and bought cards for a single trip. However, when we got to the turnstiles we didn't know where to put the card?! Cue another Brazillian person talking to us and us not understanding!
We got to Ipanema beach and it was beautiful. White sand, turquoise water and the mountains in the background were amazing. We walked from one end to another, with the water lapping at our feet, and stopped half way to sit and watch the surfers. Along the beach, and across Rio as far as we have seen, there's lots of street art and graffiti, which I love. In between Ipanema beach and Copacabana beach was a hill where you got a great view of Ipanema beach.
Walking to Copacabana we stopped for food. There are so many places to eat and drink, but on a budget we have decided to try and be good right from day one. We found a place that sold Salgado, which is like a Cornish pasty in shape but with a sweet, pizza-like dough, and filled with either beef, chicken or cheese. We had one beef and one chicken salgado and a Ssprite (one for you girls!) that cost around £3 altogether and was really tasty.
On the way to Copacabana:
Moving on to Copacabana beach, it was packed full of people. White sand, turquoise waters and mountains again but more dramatic this time. The waves were incredibly high so we sat and watched as families swam and we're hit by the waves, even though there was a no swim warning in place! As with most tourist beaches there were a lot of sellers, with food, drink, sarongs but never before have a seen a man sell bikinis hanging from a beach umbrella! So now we know, you don't need to bring flip flops (havaianas are in fact only £7 a pair!), bikinis or sarongs with you to Rio. We ended the day with our first cold beer on Copacabana beach:
We returned on the bus, which wasn't an easy system to get your head around especially as we didnt check the number on the bus stop outside the hostel. Back at the hostel I noticed I was sunburnt! Typical! After covering up and a quick trip to the supermarket, where they keep deodorant under lock and key for some unknown reason (mine had broken in the trip, covering my wash bag!), we got ready for the evening.
Tom Lancaster had suggested we tried Feijoada, a typical Brazillian dish of pork and beef in a black bean stew with rice, cabbage, pork crackling and Farofa, a toasted manioc flour. This also came with orange segments and not sure whether you ate it with or after, I asked the waiter - he didn't understand me! We went for after and apparently that's right (we asked a tour guide the next day). We washed this down with a Brahma, which Andrew says tastes a lot nicer here than in the UK (quote "This tastes like arse at home"), all while sat outside on the 6th floor looking out at Sugar Loaf Mountain.
We tried to find a place called Bar do Adao, recommended for great bar snacks, but after having to go back to the hostel because my 'fancy' flip flops broke (thanks ASOS), we went to the right road but the wrong end and decided it looked dark! So we went to a very well lit bar on the main street and ordered the beer the locals were drinking, Itaipava, which wasn't on the menu so of course was 1 reai cheaper - about 33p but every little helps! There was no ABV on the bottle so I am assuming they were pretty strong!
This is where I blacked out... Joking! (Seriously mum and dad I'm joking!!!) We shared two bottles and went back to the hostel