By Shirene Hayes.
As I boarded the plane to Rio De Janeiro, for yet another fabulous birthday adventure, the song “The Girl From Ipanema” started playing in my head. As I landed, I started humming the tune. As I arrived at my lodgings for the next five days, the words were crossing my lips.
I spent my first full day wandering the streets of Ipanema. I had the most amazing, inexpensive lunch, complete with Rio’s famous cocktail: a Caipirinha. What is Caipirinha? It’s like a mojito meets a margarita! Delicious and refreshing.
While enjoying my second Caipirinha, I decided to book a tour of the major attractions in Rio. I had no idea Brazil is as big as it is, and the sights I wanted to see were so spread out that traveling with a tour was the most economical way to experience everything.
The next morning, I walked two blocks and caught the tour bus. First stop, Christ the Redeemer! The famous statue, classified as one of the seven wonders of the world, is covered with six million soapstone tiles and took nine years to construct.
As I approached the elevator, I realized it was out of service. Seriously? I have two reconstructed knees, and I’d have to hike up and down 252 steps?
I took my time, so it wasn’t too bad.
And the views at the top? Breathtaking! Experiencing my third of the seven wonders of the world was worth every step!
Next up was the Samba Dome, where Carnival begins. After that, the Olympic Park and Stadium. And then, finally, a traditional Brazilian lunch with enough meat to fill my tummy for days and days.
After lunch, it was time to visit what I came for: the Escadaria Selaron. These famous 215 steps have tiles from all over the world and took artist Jorge Selaron 20 years to decorate.
I wanted to get a few pictures of the magnificent tiled steps, but the day I was there it was crowded with people. So I suggest, if you wish to have a photo without all the tourists, return another day at dawn. I did!
Next, I took a gondola to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, which sits 1300 feet above the harbor. The Peak gets its name from the traditional shape of a concentrated loaf of sugar.
After experiencing the fun exciting places in Rio, I spent the next few days relaxing on the beach in Copacabana!
I feel truly fortunate that I was able to experience my birthday in such a beautiful and epic place like Rio. Now, every time I think about Rio, I start humming “The Girl from Ipanema”!
HAPPY TRAVELS, SHIRENE!