RIO DE JANEIRO (38)
Back to Copacabana and Ipanema
Destination Rio de Janeiro, the second travel to the former capital of Brazil.
Back to Copacabana and Ipanema, after having spent the day in downtown Rio.
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Day 2, 16.00
Que gatinhas! Beauty kitties!
It already had been four o’clock when we arrived at Biblioteca Nacional. The students were still inside, they were about to finish their introduction hours inside the library. We went to the backyard of the library. Stella already had noticed a small square that was publicly accessible. Five cats were lying down on two benches, enjoying the sun. Que gatinhas, beauty kitties! Those lazy cats! They only moved when I approached them with my camera. In one synchronized movement they quickly vanished. The square was not large: a paved terrace that was surrounded by trees and shrubs. Some shrubs were in full bloom; their red and pink flowers created a colorful contrast with the green leaves.
Mirror image of our bus
About fifteen minutes later, we were assembled by the leader of our group. We followed our leader, to the bus that was parked a few hundred meters away. Again, the bus driver did not know the route very well, and no one know the route to our hotel in Copacabana. This time, I could help him, since I had obtained a city map. It was easy to locate the hotel on the map. The leader gratefully took my map; he and the bus driver carefully selected the optimal route to the hotel. Fortunately, the avenidas were not crowded at that hour. The grumpy bus driver guided his vehicle smoothly through the wide avenidas, the narrower side streets, and winding alleys. Since the road to the hotel was not easily accessible for the bus, the driver had to park the bus a few hundred meters away. And again, like one week before, we had to walk some distance with our luggage.
The renown hotel in Copacabana
Like a docile flock of sheep we walked to the hotel. The rooms were quickly distributed; I joined a group in a room that was next to the room where I had stayed one week before. It was the room of Debora and her friends. Now I had to share the room with five others. Four women, two men. A couple, a younger sister of the girl, Stella, and Stella’s friend. There were three bunk beds. I was fortunate enough to occupy one bed below. Next to me was the younger sister. Her name was Audrey, fifteen years old. She was a quiet girl, but she was sometimes very talkative. We called her ‘criança (kid), a nickname she did not really like.
To be found along Avenida Atlântica…
We all took little time to refresh ourselves, with a refreshing shower. We did not want to lose too much time, because we wanted to visit the nearby beach before dark. For Audrey, it was the very first time in her young life that she visited a beach, and she was very excited about that. Less than an hour later, we locked our room and went to the beach. They asked me what beach would be more interesting for a nightly visit.. I advised them to visit Ipanema Beach, because of the breathtaking sunsets and the view from the rocks near Arpoador Beach. Since my earlier visit to both beaches, I was their guide. I chose a different route, which was shorter and would lead us faster to Ipanema Beach.
Ipanema Beach is almost deserted..
We walked along the shopping streets. The streets were decorated with Christmas illumination. The facades and the trees were decorated with meters of rope lights. The illuminated streets reminded me shortly of the dark days before Christmas in The Netherlands. The big difference between the two countries, in the time before Christmas, is the temperature. Winter in The Netherlands, tropical heat in Rio de Janeiro. A real contradiction, wintry decorations in the tropics.
A refreshing night dive.
My route led our group of six directly to Ipanema Beach. Audrey was very excited: she kicked off her flip flops and started to run on the beach. Noting is more comfortable for your feet than the contact with fine sand. The sand was still warm, after a long, sunny day. Most beach goers already had gone. The beach was almost deserted, except for a few lost tourists and beach lovers. The sun already had started its daily route to the horizon. Soon, the sky had a pinkish red color, and quickly was changed into the violet blue of the early night. For me, it was an excellent opportunity to take pictures of another breathtaking sunset. I was told that during some summer days, beach goers applaud then the sun is almost set. Probably to show their gratitude for another joyful sunny beach day. For me, it also had been a successful day: a fresh drive in the rich history and culture of Rio, ‘A Cidade MA-RA-VI-LHO-SA’!
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom