A foggy early morning on Copacabana Beach at the start of day 8.
Looking down on Copacabana with the tree covered hills looming in the background
A panoramic view from offshore with Corcovado mountain and Christ the Redeemer fully covered in cloud.
After a morning jog along Avenida Atlântica we had a tasty breakfast at the hotel.
We had booked an Urban Adventure for today so after breakfast we headed down to the meeting point outside the Copacabana Palace Hotel where we met up with our guide for the day, Alex.
After stopping to buy some water, we then headed down to Cardeal Arcoverde Subway Station.
After alighting at Carioca Station we headed up to Carioca Square.
Alex gave us a brief history of Brazil, and how the Portugese speaking portion of South America stayed together to found one big country while the Spanish speaking part split up into multiple smaller countries. He explained that this was basically because the Portuguese monarchy moved to Brazil.
In 1808, Prince Regent João of the Portuguese royal family, under threat from Napoleon, moved to Brazil. Once Napoleon was defeated in 1814 however, other European regents demanded that the royal family return to Portugal, deeming it unfit for the head of an European monarchy to reside in a colony. Instead the Crown established the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves, creating a transatlantic kingdom and ending Brazil’s status as a colony.
When the royal family eventually returned to Portugal, João’s son, Pedro de Alcântara stayed on. Soon after, the Portuguese court tried to turn Brazil back into a colony however, sparking an independence movement – which Pedro joined. Pedro declared Brazilian independence in 1822, and shortly thereafter, the newly-titled Dom Pedro I became the first ruler of the Empire of Brazil. After a three-year war Portugal officially recognized Brazil’s independence on 29 August 1825.
After the brief but very interesting history lesson we walked through Lapa onto the Carioca Aqueduct. Built in the middle of the 18th century to bring fresh water from the Carioca river to the city. In 1896 the aqueduct was adapted to serve as a viaduct for the Santa Teresa Tramway, which transports passengers between the centre of Rio and the hilly Santa Teresa barrio.
We then continued our walk through Lapa. A mural painted in 2016 of the late Brazilian F1 driver, Ayrton Senna.
Walking down Rua do Teotônio Regadas where stopped at a mural painted on the wall. On the right is Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón.
A few steps away was Escadaria Selarón (the Selaron Steps). Selarón moved to the Lapa in the 1980s, settling in a house next to the stairs. In 1990, he began decorating the stairs leading up to the Convent of Santa Teresa in fragments of blue, green and yellow tiles – the colours of the Brazilian flag. In later years most of the tiles were donated by people from around the world.
A Māori man wearing a moko tattoo from New Zealand.
A tile from South Africa.
There are 215 steps measuring 125 metres long and are covered in over 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world.
The steps were declared a city landmark in 2005. Unfortunately Selarón was found dead on January 10, 2013, at the age of 65 on the famous Lapa steps.
And a perfect backdrop for another selfie. The steps are famous worldwide featuring in music video's by Snoop Dogg, U2 and we also spotted a couple of American musicians filming a rap video while we there.
We then piled into a local bus for the ride up the hill to the barrio of Santa Teresa.
Santa Teresa and arose in the 1750's on the Morro Desterro ("Right Hill") was one of Rio de Janeiro's first expansions out of the initial Portuguese settlement in the city center.
Alex introducing to a local artist who utilised old junk to turn into pieces of art.
At the end of the 19th and early 20th century Santa Teresa was an upper class borough home to many European immigrants. It ceased being an upper-class neighbourhood long ago but has been revived as a fashionable hotspot, famous for its winding, narrow streets which are a favourite spot for artists and tourists.
An old VW Beetle parked on the cobbled streets.
Street football ahead.
Pai e filho.
Stopping for a drink of Brazilian coffee flavoured craft beer.
A mansion built during the colonial period. The small blue door below was for the servants quarters.
Tiles of the Santa Teresa Tram. In 1892 a tramline was built along Rua Joaquim Murtinho and Rua Almirante Alexandrino connecting the neighbourhood with downtown Rio de Janeiro
Stopping at a popular neighbourhood café.
And where we bought some fresh Pão de Queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) and Açaí na tigela to enjoy while we continued our walk through Santa Teresa.
A colourful mural on the wall of the Santa Teresa Tram. The iconic yellow trams have become a symbol of Santa Teresa.
The Santa Teresa Tram is one of the oldest street railway lines in the world is also the only remaining metropolitan tram system in Brazil.
Making our way down the hill to Carioca Station.
And looking down on Praça Cardeal Câmara as the tram continues along the top of Carioca Aqueduct.
Back in Lapa we then caught the Subway to Botafogo Station.
Outside Verano Restaurante e Pizzaria where we headed for lunch.
Verano was a “comida por quilo” (food per kilogram) restaurant which are quite common in Rio de Janeiro.
I opted for a few selections at the sushi station. Very tasty and the price was very reasonable.
Walking west along Rua São Clemente with Mount Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer in the distance.
Some locals hanging out at a bar in Santa Marta.
Our first stop after lunch was a visit to Favela Santa Marta. The favela is situated on Dame Martha's Hill is one of the steepest favela's in the city.
Our local guide who lives in the favela, Emilio, at the entrance to the favela cable car.
The government in recent years had installed a cable car to help transport both people and goods up and down the favela.
After riding the cable car up the hill, we stopped to take in the view of the favela and the city beyond.
Emilio taking us for a walk through the narrow alleys and steps. The favela is home to 8000 residents, with 500 wooden houses, 2000 brick houses, 4 kindergartens, 3 bakeries, 2 sports fields, 1 samba school and a small market.
Some locals hanging out on a balcony.
A mural of Michael Jackson on a wall. A Spike Lee directed music video of his song, They Don't Care About Us was partly filmed in the favela and we got to meet a lady who had been an extra.
Hauling crates up the many steps.
Mãe e filho.
Some of the colourful buildings back at the bottom of the favela.
While researching for our trip to Brazil I was aware of the some of the controversy of so called 'poverty tourism' and was a little hesitant about doing a favela tour. But as the tour was organised by the favela community association, local residents working as guides and a lot of the money going back to the community helped to assuage some of my concerns and at the end I was glad that we opted to do it.
After the very interesting and fascinating afternoon in the favela we walked to the Subway to catch the train to Praça do Lido.
Christ the Redeemer on the Subway wall, a famous icon of Rio and our next and final destination of the day.
At Praça do Lido we got our tickets for the van ride up to the top of Corcovado mountain.
After a winding 20 minute ride up to the top of the 710 metre tall mountain, we climbed the stairs up to enjoy the breathtaking view of Rio below.
Looking up to Christ the Redeemer.
To the south is Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon
And another great backdrop for a photo.
On the far left the strip of buildings on the side of the hill is Favela Santa Marta, where we had visited a few hours earlier.
And down at Praça do Lido where we thanked Alex for the great tour of some of the highlights of Rio and the awesome day.
Back at Avenida Atlântica which was alive with people out and about enjoying the evening on Copacabana promenade.
For dinner we headed to one of the restaurants on Copacabana Beach that were built in the lead up to the 2016 Olympics.
And enjoying the view from the hotel bar at the end of a great day in Rio de Janeiro.
The view from our hotel room window at the beginning of day 9.
The sun rising from the east with Leme Beach just below.
The barrios of Leme and Copacabana with Mount Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer visible in the distance.
Enjoying an early morning walk along Copacabana Beach.
A panoramic view with the morning sun now rising in the sky.
Forte de Copacabana with the 305mm and 190mm cannons visible.
Looking down on Cantagalo Hill, situated between Ipanema and Copacabana.
And Copacabana Beach again with Pão de Açúca (Sugarloaf Mountain) at the top right.
We would be busy today with a food tour through Rio so we limited ourselves to a minimal breakfast at the hotel.
At Cardeal Arcoverde Station to catch the train to Laranjeiras, the meeting point for our tour.
With Vive, our guide for today. Vive was originally from São Paulo but had spent the last 5 years studying in Rio de Janeiro. On the tour today was also a couple from Western Australia who were spending 5 weeks in South America for their honeymoon. Our first stop was a street market selling fresh foods of all sorts.
Our first tasting was Caldo de Cana com limão (freshly squeezed sugarcane juice with lime). The sugarcane being run through the crusher.
I had tasted fresh sugarcane juice in India and Cambodia before but the addition of the lime juice really made it so much tastier and it was really refreshing.
Vive said that the streetmarket changes location regularly, popping up at different places throughout the week.
People in the market were quite friendly and luckily didn't mind a gringo poking a camera in their face.
It was great to walk around a vibrant city street market and take in all the sights, sounds and smells.
At the end of our walk through the market, Vive had some more tastings organised for us. First was some Caju (the cashew fruit where the nuts grow atop of). Quite an interesting taste, and quite juicy but paradoxically also dried your mouth out at the same time.
Next was Atemoya (custard apple hybrid) and Manga Palmer (sweet mango with no strings).
We then bought some Beiju de tapioca com queijo e oregano (tapioca pancakes topped with cheese and oregano) from a street vendor for our final tasting at the market.
The tapioca pancakes were quite delicious and a great finish to our urban market experience.
After a short taxi ride we arrived at Nova Capela, a bar and restaurant in the barrio of Lapa. Even though it was still morning I couldn't say no to an offer of a glass of Choppe Brahma draft beer.
Nova Capela was a highly rated old school traditional Portugese restaurant.
Bolinhos de bacalhau (salt cod and potato croquettes) served with a little bit of chili oil.
After a short walk we then arrived at our next stop, Boteco Belmonte.
A bottle of Velho Barreiro Cachaça. Vive said it was important to see the bottle of Cachaça before the bartender makes your Caipirinha to make sure he doesn't use the cheapest and nastiest brand.
And the bartender making sure to pour in plenty of Cachaça into our Caipirinha de jabuticaba e limão (caipirinhas made with jabuticaba berries and lime)!
With our sizable Caipirinhas to fuel us through the rest of the morning, we continued our walk through the streets of Lapa.
Stopping at Escadaria Selarón (the Selaron Steps) again, although I was quite content to just sip on my Caipirinha rather than climb the 200+ steps again.
Our next stop was a local juice bar.
A wide range of juices available.
We got to try three different juices; Suco de amora (Blackberry juice), Suco de Acerola (sour orange juice that tastes like vitamins!) and Suco de Graviola (juice of the guanabana/soursop fruit).
And some fresh and tasty Pão de Queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) to share.
Underground again to catch the Subway to the barrio of Flamengo.
Outside our penultimate stop of the tour, Tacacá do Norte on Rua Barão do Flamengo.
Tacacá do Norte was a popular Amazonian restaurant and was very busy with Cariocans getting a bite to eat for lunch.
Getting to try some Tacacá, a soup common to the north of Brazil, made with salty shrimps and Jambu leaves that made your tongue tingle!
And some Açaí na tigela sprinkled with tapioca which is a common topping in the North. The Açaí was also quite a bit different than what we had previously tasted on the trip. Noticeably creamier and not so sweet which made it quite a bit easier to eat and enjoy.
Walking through the barrio of Laranjeiras to work off the overindulgence.
And at our final stop of the tour, Severyna de Laranjeiras, a restaurant specialising in Brazilian Northeastern cuisine.
A chilled bottle of Cerveja Terezopolis (locally brewed pilsner beer) to quench the thirst after all the walking.
To start we had the Pasteis (deep-fried pastry parcels filled with cured beef) and Queijo Coalho com melado (slabs of cheese from Northeastern Brazil served with sweet cane syrup).
Some Brazilian beef kibbeh, a dish originally from the Middle East but now found throughout Latin America from Levantine immigrants that arrived during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Followed by a sumptious feast of several Brazilian dishes, including Carne seca com abobora e feijão de corda e manteiga da garrafa (air-dried, salted beef with pumpkin and beans, served with 'butter from the bottle'), Moqueca de camarão (stew of shrimp, made with coconut milk, peppers and palm oil) and Escondidnho de carne seca (creamy cassava puree with cured beef, topped with grilled cheese).
And finally cafezinho (coffee to finish) and a bombom cupuaçu.
We got to sample and taste alot of different food and drinks on our 5 hours on the Eat Rio Food Tour and got to experience and enjoy a wide range of Brazilian cuisine. A culinary adventure that is definitely recommended if you're ever in Rio de Janeiro!!!
After thanking Vive for the amazing time we caught the Subway back to Copacabana.
Chilling out on the hotel rooftop after all the hardwork from gorging our way around Rio.
After a bit of nap, we headed out to Praia de Botofoga. Looking across to Pão de Açúca (Sugarloaf Mountain).
The sun starting to dip below the mountains.
The panoramic view across the bay.
And enjoying the fading light at dusk on the beach.
Back in in Copacabana we went for an evening stroll along the Promenade and bought some souvenirs to take back home.
And then headed for dinner at La Trattoria on Avenida Atlântica where Rianda had some soup and I enjoyed a tasty cheeseburger at the end of day 9.
Enjoying a last morning run on the beach at the start of our final day in Brazil.
And indulging in one last hotel breakfast buffet.
After checking out of the hotel and storing our bags, we caught the Subway down to the barrio of Ipanema.
After a short walk we arrived at Ipanema Beach.
Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Mountain) in the distance.
It was the first day of the weekend so the beach was busy with Cariocans enjoying the sand, sea and sun.
Beach umbrellas and deckchairs.
Areia e mar.
A panoramic view with Ipanema Beach on the right, the Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel & Resort in the middle and just below Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Mountain) on the left is Vidigal Favela.
Looking down on Ipanema and Christ the Redeemer in the distance on the far left.
We then enjoyed a leisurely stroll down the beach.
After the walk along the beach, we walked through Leblon.
We then headed underground again at Antero de Quental Station to catch the train back.
After stopping at Botafogo, we walked to the Sugarloaf Cable Car. Looking down on Praia Vermelha (Red Beach).
A helicopter taking off for a scenic flight from Morro da Urca, where the first cable car stops.
Looking across to the second cable car that goes up to the 396 metre tall Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain).
A Marmoset monkey begging for food as we queue up to take the second cable car.
Enjoying the view from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.
And a great place for another vacation selfie!
After skipping lunch we were feeling a little hungry so shared one last Açaí na tigela.
Looking out over Rio before taking the cable car back down again.
After making our way back to the hotel, we grabbed our bags and hailed a taxi to Santos Dumont Airport (SDU) to catch our flight back to São Paulo.
Our flight this evening was with Azul Brazilian Airlines. As we had carry-on only, we just had to print out our boarding passes from one of the kiosks.
Grabbing a coffee and a chicken pastry after passing through security.
Our Embraer E195 waiting at the gate. Azul was established in 2008 by Brazilian-born David Neeleman (founder of American low cost airline JetBlue).
With our tickets only costing $40 each I had low expectations, but with ample legroom and seatback IFE I was pleasantly surprised.
And the free snacks and drink were a bonus too.
We arrived on time just before 7:30pm at São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport and then caught the shuttle to Terminal 2.
Our flight back home didn't depart until 1am so we had a bit of time to kill.
Carl's Jr. cheeseburger for dinner.
Airside with the two boarding passes to take us through to Dubai.
Boarding the ET 787 for the flight to Addis Ababa.
And climbing the rear stairs to the ET 777 at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport for the final flight back to Dubai after an amazing nine days in Brazil!