Here you can see Lego Mark and Sadie at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain overlooking Brazil. Here you can also see a sparkling blue sky. This is something that we have been pleasantly surprised by, seeing as the weather forecast had informed us that every day of our first few weeks in Brazil would be non-stop rain. Michael Fish, eat your heart out.
Rio was simply an awesome city. Sadie had visited before back in 2010, but it was a newbie for me and frankly, the city had changed so much for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics that it wasn’t far off a fresh one for her too. We did all the touristy things, except Christ the Redeemer because it kept clouding over when we wanted to go up, and had a bloody lovely time doing so. It’s quite hard to describe Rio without descending into tiresome cliché, but the city really does buzz with activity all the time, and it doesn’t half look incredible in the sunshine. Our only regret was that we chose to go out in Ipanema for a night out, which was nice but a little tame, when we should have gone to Lapa – Rio’s newly gentrified historical centre and home to the best samba clubs – but sadly this was only learned the following day. Still, we were drunk enough for 3am McDonalds so we can’t really complain.
We then took a bus and a boat to Ilha Grande, a few hours to the South of Rio. Again, Sadie had been here before and pretty much hasn’t shut up about it in the intervening 6 and a half years.* Turns out that it wasn’t without good reason – the island is ridiculously beautiful. It has azure seas lapping bright golden sands, backing onto lush, green rainforests occupied by birds of paradise, not to mention the odd marmoset or two. My words don’t do it justice. To be honest the photos don’t either. It has to be seen to be believed.
Our few days here, despite the odd thunderstorm (they have to get it right occasionally), have just flown by, and we don’t want to leave, but Salvador beckons. It’s a massive city a few hours’ north of Rio, known as the samba capital of Brazil, which is no small accolade. If Rio buzzes, Salvador thumps. I may have been born with precisely no rhythm or co-ordination (or poise, balance, timing etc) but I cannot wait to make a tit of myself on the floor of a Salvadorian Samba bar. It’s going to be immense. MB
*Not entirely true. I only mention it every time I look at Timehop/Facebook/any time we visit a beach…so pretty frequently I’ll admit. When I last visited I promised myself that one day I would bring Mark back with me. SEE HOW NICE I AM. SGJ