Warm-up in South America: RIO DE JANEIRO!
Greetings from Brazil! We are warming up for our travels here in Rio. Not only getting used to warm climates after the cold European weathers, but also getting used to being on the road...
Getting out of Europe wasn't that simple as we planned, but all went fine in the end: we got on the Condor airlines plane on Thursday evening at about 10 PM in Frankfurt and got ourselves comfortable for the twelve-hour flight to Rio de Janeiro. However, after more than an hour of taxiing around on the runway, the plane got back to its' original location and we were kindly informed that due to technical problems we will not leave Germany before tomorrow. So, the rest of the evening activities included searching for the way out of the airport (together with a huge crowd of other confused passengers of our delayed flight), being "delivered" to the hotel, a short night sleep there and a deja-vu at the airport the next morning until we finally got on the plane which brought us to Rio.
And here we are! Lucky for us, a friend of a friend of a friend, Paulo hosted us in his very nice apartment, told us what is best to see and took us to local place to taste traditional Brazilian food :) So here we are: exploring Rio already for 5 days.
We visited the famous Christ the Redeemer on the Corcovado mountain. The day seemed sunny at first but the weather changes here so fast, that by the time we got to the classic little red train that would take us up to the 600 meters high mountain, we were informed that due to clouds, the view from the top will be limited. And it was limited... completely. Luckily the Christ himself would sometimes get out of the cloud to greet us in the crowd of probably few hundred other curious tourists.
We also climbed up the world-famous Escadaria Selaron - the Selaron's staircase which was made by Chilean-born artist, who at first intended to renovate the regular staircase in front of his house but then in process, his project grew into a 13-year-long work of art, which unfortunately was not finished as the artist himself was found dead in 2013. There are tiles included from over 60 countries - we searched for a Lithuanian tile but unfortunately we didn't find one. However there was one from Riga, Latvia and one more from Tallinn, Estonia among the many more.
Rio in general is a beautiful city, full of contrasts - the very poor live side by side with the very rich, the colonial architecture buildings from the times of Portugal ruling here are framed by the steep lush green mountain slopes and the mosaic of illegally built slums covering big part of those hills - they are called the Favelas. On our last day in Rio we visited one of them - Rocinha. The very warm, philosophical and easy-going local guy Carlos showed us around and introduced us to the authentic life of the Brazilian slums - from the main streets which look like a regular small town in a warm-climate country, to the underground areas where the sewerage contents run freely and dozens of rats are not even hiding from people walking around. While visiting Rocinha we tried the delicious street food, saw a small show of guys playing old plastic buckets instead of drums, youngsters dancing Capoeira, the traditional Brazilian dance/fight/game which since 2014 is protected by UNESCO and a simple everyday life of different poor to middle-class Cariocas (that's how Brazilians call locals from Rio) just a little further away from the famous Ipanema and Copacabana beaches.
Tomorrow we will travel a little more southwest along the coastline to a historic town called Paraty. Meanwhile we got the information that our motorcycles are successfully loaded to the container in Hamburg and should leave the shores of Europe sometime next week. In a month from now we should pick them up in Valparaiso, Chile. That is the direction we are holding while exploring Brazil, for now as regular tourists :)