Friday, 15 May 2009

Rio de Janeiro (Part 3)

Back in Rio for the last three days of our trip, we made our way to the Selaron Steps, named after the artist who created them. Over a 19-year period, Señor Selaron has transformed this backstreet staircase into a tiled work of art. It's featured in numerous music videos (U2, Snoop Dog), films and magazine shoots, and it is now a major tourist pull. Selaron was on hand when we visited and gave us the opportunity to pose with him, and purchase one of his paintings – which we were more than happy to do.

Next, we travelled to Santa Teresa on the tram which crosses over the large Lapa Arches. If you hold onto the outside of the tram, you don't have to pay anything for the ride. However, you might smack into a parked car or a lamp post on the way up. Santa Teresa was very quaint, and we found a very atmospheric bar for lunch.

Yesterday, we went straight to Ipanema beach - one of the most affluent parts of Rio and one of the best beaches in the world. Lunch was at a local bakery where we gouged on more salgados and drank açai juice. The juice is the colour of red kidney beans and tastes like Actifed cough mixture (but in a good way and with none of the drowsiness). Around the city, we saw lots of shops selling nothing but Havaianas.

We headed into Lapa last night to celebrate the last evening of our travels. From the bus, we saw thong-wearing “ladies of the night” lining one street. In a tiny street-side bar, a Brazilian 'samba jazz' group put on a very enjoyable show with a number of 'standards'. Nice. The beer and caipirinhas flowed into the early morning, so we were feeling a bit worse for wear today.

For our last few hours of sightseeing, we visited the cathedral. Although it's a controversial building from the outside, the stained glass windows inside were formidable. Hearing a classical version of Cat Stevens' “Morning has broken” inside was an unexpected treat, at least for Andy. Next door to the cathedral, the Petrobas building has been compared to a rubix cube.

We leave Rio tonight (Thursday 14 June 2009 2300) and arrive at Heathrow tomorrow afternoon.


Rachel said...

What an amazing year - looking forward to seeing the photos when you get back to Edinburgh! see you next week :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for an opportunity to "travel" together and see the world!


uncle John and auntie Liz said...

Well what an amazing year you have both had. We've enjoyed every minute of your travels, learning lots.
Lovely seeing you both again on Saturday 16th!
Love uncle John and auntie Liz