Experiences of a Dutchman living in Belo Horizonte, since December 2004, from month to month.
December 2006, part one: First encounter with Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro.
(Click here for the complete overview of ‘A Foreigner in Brazil 2006′)
I fulfilled a long-cherished wish in the second week of December: a visit to the city of Rio de Janeiro. Little more than a year ago, I traveled with Claudia along the former capital of Brazil, when we traveled from Vila Velha and São Paulo, by bus. The highway is located at considerable distance from the city; therefore: I did not see anything of Rio during that travel. Jader, who had invited me to the unforgettable travel to Salvador some months earlier, called me and asked whether I was interested in a travel to Rio or not. I did not hesitate. We were about to depart from the campus on Thursday night, at 11 pm. There was a wild student party going on that night. Even the Brazilian friends considered this party as a wild party. It took some time before everyone (including myself, I have to admit) had quit the party and entered the bus. It was already 2 am, when the bus finally left the university campus.
Distances table, on the way to Rio.
The highway from Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro is one of the better highways in this region. Part of this highway is duplicated: four lanes instead of two lanes. At the border of Minas Gerais with Rio de Janeiro, just after having passed Barbacena, the highway follows the slopes of a mountain range, and contains a large number of sharp turns. Hence, the bus ride to Rio de Janeiro, a distance of less than 450 kilometers, lasts at least six hours. The bus trip went well, despite the sometimes prolonged bus stops when fellow travelers wanted to have some more beers at the stop. We arrived at the ‘entrance’ of Brazil’s second-largest city at about nine. The bus now followed a wide avenue that was called ‘Linha Vermelha’, the Red Line. This Red Lane led to the famous districts of Botafogo and Flamengo.
Jader had arranged a cheap pousada (hostel) for us to stay. This pousada was located between the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. The bus was not able to stop there; we had to walk a few blocks with our luggage. The rooms contained two or three bunk beds and a shower. The first thing everyone did, besides unpacking the luggage, was taking a refreshing shower. We did not waste too much time, since we all were excited to visit the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. The beach of our first choice was Copacabana Beach. I joined two other travel companions, and also for them it was their first time in Rio. We followed Jader’s instructions – he knew Rio very well – and walked straight to the beach.
Even at this sunny and warm day, it was very quiet on Copacabana Beach. While this day was a holiday (Anniversary of the City) in Belo Horizonte, it was a normal working day in Rio. We stayed on the beach for a while; we enjoyed the sun, the lukewarm ocean water, and the magnificent views around us. Dozens hotels behind us, rocks in the water in front of us. And far behind, there was the famous Pão de Açucar (Sugar Loaf) Mountain. Our very first beach day in Rio was a big success. A few hours later, we decided to leave the beach, and get some more rest at the pousada. When I arrived at the entrance of the pousada, another small group asked me to join them, since I already had walked the route to the beach. I did not hesitate, since I did not really want to stay in the pousada during the day. I walked with them to Copacabana Beach. We did not stay on the beach, but we continued our walk along Fortress Copacabana, along the large shopping center, through the small but world famous park ‘Garota da Ipanema’. We arrived at Arpoador Beach, which is located next to the enchanted Ipanema Beach. Leblon Beach is located beyond Ipanema Beach.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (38). Back To Copacabana And Ipanema (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (39). Sunset At Ipanema Beach (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (35). Catedral São Sebastião II (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- COLORFUL BRAZIL: Apartment Block, Rio de Janeiro (RJ) (adrianoantoine.wordpress.com)