Final day of the trip

Today is my last day and I am just waiting around for the airport transfer to pick me up to take me to the airport.
I got the transfer through the hotel for 20 reals….(8pounds) the transfer isn’t until 7pm so I have got a few hours to kill. I enquiries about a late checkout but the hotel is fully booked, however they did let me check out at 1pm so I guess that is better than nothing.
I Think I will just go for a walk on the beach for one last time and then Grab some lunch.
Looking back on the whole trip, it has been amazing! Like I said before, I have seen some amazing things whilst being in South America. I think the highlights have to be iguassa falls, buenos aires nightlife, Boca juniors stadium, sugar loaf mountain, Christ the redeemer statue and the favela tour just to name a few.
The people in all of the places that I have visited have been very friendly and accommodating. Where nothing is too much trouble.
even though I have been scammed by a few taxi drivers here and there, I feel that I have been extremely lucky not to have been a victim of the robberies/pick pocketing that I read on the forums during my time here. I think that you do just have to be careful, vigilant and be aware if your surroundings at all times!
the only time I was slightly scared about my safety was walking back to the hostel after a few drinks near the Lapa arches, and also walking back from the Indian restaurant in buenos aires at night time! A vast majority of the time I have felt very safe.
I think anyone coming to South America, just needs to read the forums before hand…. don’t come with flash jewellery,flash watches etc…. and come with an open mind. if you are able to embrace South America I am sure you will fall in love with the place like I have.
I am sorry to be leaving such a wonderful part of the world, however I am really looking forward to getting home and starting my new job on February 1st! So much for looking forward to my new job!! just received a phone call today saying that they are going to have to withdraw the offer as the are experiencing financial difficulties! so as soon as i get back i will need to start my job search again!! It really has put a downer on the whole trip, however in a funny kind of way i am glad i found out on my last day, rather than the first, as that would have really put a downer on the whole trip and I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy myself just due to the worrying of knowing when I get back I will need to find a new job!!!!!!
I am also looking forward to seeing my family and having some home cooked food!!!
my flight is at midnight, with a stopover in Madrid for 2 hours.
I get back into Heathrow at 5.30pm UK time tomorrow….then I have to catch a coach home to Leicester! I think I should get back home for about 11pm UK time tomorrow… so Sunday will be a write off I think!
Just sat at the airport waiting to drop my bags off….god I hate all this waiting around.
All I did today was walk on the beach a few times for a cpl of hours and then grabbed some lunch.
my check in doesn’t open for another hour! hopefully the plane leaves on time as my connection is only 1.30 hrs waiting so a delay would mess that right up!

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Rio day 8 v1

I woke up early today as I had organised a favela tour for 9am! we caught the bus to the favela with the owner if the hostel, who was doing the tour.
we got to the Santa Marta favela and rode the cable car right to the top of the favela. this was the first favela to be pacified in 2008. apparently now almost 21 of 50 have now been pacified.
it was a good experience going to the favela tour. once we reached the top via the cable car we walked back down and took detours to see the views and walk through the heart of the favela.
a lot can said of how the people lived. everyone has sky tv, wifi, and HDTVs!
In all honesty I didn’t expect that.
we went to the spot where Michael Jackson filmed ” they don’t really care about us” in 1996. the tour guide said that at this time the favela was still being run by the drug lords do MJ had to pay them money to enter the favela to film!
I felt saver in the favela then I did waking back from a few drinks to the hostel next to the Lapa arches!
apparently one person who was staying at the hostel got her camera nicked when walking back to the hostel at 8pm! The walk back to the hostel is quite scary in all honesty and when I was doing it I would always be looking over my shoulder.
I booked into my hotel in copocabana for my final night of the trip!
it is a nice hotel and is right on the beach again!
as my flight is really late tomorrow night, I am hoping the hotel will let me have an extended check out… I read that they did this for a few other guests on trip advisor so there is no harm in asking.
after checking in, I did a little bit of shopping to buy some gifts, then went to the beach for a few hours for one last time…
there were some people playing beach foot volley so I sat there watching them for about half hour.
Even though the holiday has been phenomenal, there is something inside of me that can’t wait to get home!
not looking forward to the 16 hour flight to get back to the UK! or the 3 hour coach journey home once I am in the UK!

Rio day 7

I got back in from drinks last night at 1am…which in all honesty isn’t as late as I thought it would be. However after my fourth 600ml beer, I think I was feeling a little drunk! It kind of made me realise that throughout the 3.5weeks that I have been away, I have only drank on 4 or 5 occasions! Think that is the only explanation for feeling drunk after 4 beers!
well after waking up and having breakfast, I decided to go to the Christophe redeemer statue as I felt a little cheated on monday due to it being overcast and not having any views!
I got to the ticket office about 11am, and at that time the queue was massive….the time allotted for the next tram was 2pm!
Rather than wait around for the tram, there was a minibus company that would take you up for 25 reals…and then you pay 25 reals to get in…….so I decided to that!
After all the queues for the tickets and the minibuses etc, I finally got to the statue at 1.30!
I am so happy I did go again, as the views were incredible, due to it being a clear day! It was well worth going again I think. Just to experience the views properly!
after I took some photos and took in all the amazing views I decided to go to the shopping mall.
it was about 3pm before I finally got down from the statue, so I went into the shop and asked where the nearest metro station was.
I had to catch the bus to the nearest metro station.
I caught the metro to the shopping centre and decided to have lunch at the food court there.
The shopping centre was big, but I don’t think there was anything worth buying.
after having lunch I quickly decided to make my way back to the hostel, as I didn’t want to catch the metro once it was dark.
The metro system in Rio is really good and easy to navigate your way around.
For a single ticket it costs 3.25reals…(1 pound) which for the quality of the metro system is an absolute bargain.
I think I am going to have a fairly low key,early night tonight as I have got a favela tour lined up for tomorrow morning. After that I need to check into the windsor mantinique on copocabana for my last night.
can’t believe that it has been 3 weeks already since I started my adventure!
I have seen some amazing things and have met some amazing people so I am so happy that I had the balls to do this in the first place. I have attached a few pics from part 2 of the Christ the redeemer….as you can see the views are amazing! However the pictures don’t do it justice!

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Rio day 6 night time

As mentioned in previous post, I decided to go out for a few beers in Lapa, after leaving the hostel I walked for 5 minutes before I hit the first bar, however I decided to think ahead and went to the end of the road of the bars and started there…there is some logic in there somewhere!!
I have realised that even though travelling alone does have a number of perks, there are a couple of things that I have missed during my time out in South America! These being; having a beer with someone and actually sitting down and having dinner with someone.. it is difficult when you are on your own, however I am glad I have done it for 2 main reasons.
1) I know I am able to do something like this and go travelling on my own anywhere in the world. (I think it would have been easier if i learned the language before I came as I wouldn’t be so reliant on meeting just English speaking people!!)
2) it has made me realise even more that it is no fun drinking alone, regardless of how much you drink! Lol
In hindsight, I would have booked myself into the “party” hostels, and/or slept in a dorm of 12 people as you can always find someone there to have a beer with, and from what i have heard there is something always going on! I think I found it even more difficult in Rio, as 7 of the 9 nights that I would have been in Rio is/was spent in hotels, where it is always difficult to meet people who are travelling on their own!
I think it all does depend on the hostel that you book. I never had any problems in my time at iguasa falls or Buenos Aires. I think the reason being that I was able to meet English speaking ( I know I sound very naive) people within my first night, which made it a lot easier. Coupled with the fact that the hostel in buenos aires actually had activities etc to integrate the people in the hostel!
Anyways thats enough drunken thoughts for the time being, time to get back to serious drinking as the night is still early!!

Rio day 6

I checked out of my hotel on copocabana to spend two nights at the global Rio de Janeiro hostel based in Lapa. I got a taxi to the hostel, all I can say is thank god for my phone as the taxi driver didn’t know where it was So i was showing him directions on my phone!
When reaching the hostel location, the heavens opened and started raining like I was back in the UK!
the taxi driver dropped me of at the wrong spot so I was walking around in the rain back and forth trying to find the hostel! after about 30 minutes in the rain walking back and forth, I was able to finally find the hostel!
The hostel is really nice. It is basically a family home where the rent the rooms out to travellers.
The hostel itself is located just under the Lapa arches and round the corner from the famous steps of brazil (Escadaria SelarĂ³n).
I have just taken a walk round the area of Lapa trying to find a cashpoint! After having found 4 banks, for some reason I was unable to withdraw any money out as they don’t recognise international bank cards!
So I went back to the hostel and searched for the nearest HSBC as I have been able to withdraw money from them without any problems.
I really like this area of Rio, in all honesty it feels like I am in a different city altogether.
I am looking forward to going bar hopping tonight for a few beers…should be good fun!
I am really happy that I decided to stay in this part of the city for a few days….I think this is where the real Rio is rather than the beaches!
I am hoping to go on a favela tour tomorrow, it all depends of there are enough people in the hostel that are Interested…. it is the favela where Michael Jackson recorded the video “they don’t really care about us” Which by chance is one of my favourite songs!
oh well, time to rest for a while before I go for a few beers me thinks…

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Rio day 5

I went on the city tour yesterday…it was really good and I was able to see most of the sites that I wanted to.
I booked the tour via the hotel for 230 reals (60 pounds) and this included entry to the sugar loaf, Christ the redeemer, cathedral, and also included lunch.
the views from the sugar loaf were amazing! We got there for about 9.30 so it was before the masses began to arrive….the views really were something else. Unfortunately, due to the weather, I was unable to see the Christ the redeemer statue from the sugar loaf….
once we finished the sugar loaf, we went on the city tour to see the cathedral,maracana and the sambadrome.
The cathedral is amazing, the tour guide was saying that the capacity of the cathedral is 20,000 people!
we were unable to go into the maracana due to the renovations, so all we did was drive past it.
during the tour, it pretty much rained all day, so the tour guide was delaying going to the Christ the redeemer statue in the hope that it would clear up.
Unfortunately it didn’t whilst we were there, so the views were non existent from the statue as it was all covered in clouds….with me still being here for the next 4 days, I am contemplating going again when it is a clear day.
the statue itself is amazing! and I was able to get s few good pictures when the cloud cover cleared up intermittently…
I move hotels/hostels today and am going to one based in Santa Teresa, apparently it is only 5 minutes from the Lapa arches so I am quite happy about that.
with me being so near Lapa, which is supposed to be party central, I think I may go out for a few beers tonight…
hopefully the hostel in Lapa is nice as I have only got 3 nights left and I don’t want the hassle of trying to book another hotel today!
the good thing is I have got a room to myself so I don’t think it will be a problem!
the frustrating thing about the city tour, something which the tour guide had no control over was the weather! it rained all day whilst we were on the tour, and when the tour finished and we were getting dropped of to our hotel it was bright blue skies and the sun was out!! Sod’s law I guess!!

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Rio day 4

Yesterday was a funny old day..
I woke up early ish and decided to go to the market that they had round the corner from my hotel….they had lots of nice stuff however I thought the market on copocabana was better.
I didn’t buy anything from the market and after wondering around for about an hour I just went back to my hotel.
I decided to check the Internet for Indian resturants near my hotel and according to google I found one which was about 10 minutes away in a cab next to leblon beach…
So I got myself together and decided to venture to the restaurant….
after walking half way and then catching a cab, I got to the place to find out that it was shut down!! Needless to say I was disappointed!
So I just found a random place to eat on leblon beach and then caught a taxi back home…
I had booked a tour through my hotel to go to the sambadrome to watch the samba schools fight it out for a place at the carnival…
That was an amazing experience…it was slow to start but once it got started it was amazing!
I can only imagine how good the carnival will be when there are more than one school taking part!
It really was an amazing experience even though I got back really late. I got back at 1am, that normally wouldn’t be a problem, however I had to be ready for 8am today to go to the city tour that I have booked!
I am really looking forward to the city tour…it includes all the main attractions!
I am hoping it is a clear day as I don’t want the clouds to obstruct the views from the sugar loaf mountain and also the Christ the redeemer statue!
it also goes to the maracana, however with all the renovations that are taking place I am not sure if we will be able to go in!
It is going to be a long day as I am slightly hungover from yesterday and I am tired!! an extra hours kip would have been ideal!

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