The Potato Chick
Travelling, eating and my other favourite things...
Iguassu Falls, Brazil & Argentina
In a sentence...breath-taking.
Food we loved...brigadeiro – a rich ball of condensed milk and cocoa. We washed it down with an ice cold sugar cane juice – ridiculously sweet and so refreshing.
After the madness of Rio we headed back to nature with a trip to Iguassu Falls. Such was our exhaustion from Carnival, we estimate we spent at least 16 hours of the 22 hour bus trip asleep. Luckily, this meant we arrived refreshed and ready to tackle both sides of the Falls, which sit on the border of Brazil and Argentina.
We were blessed with glorious sunshine on the Brazilian side. We were not so lucky on the Argentinean side and it was very difficult to take photos which did it justice. Eventually the rain cleared up and we agreed that, while the Falls were spectacular from every angle, the Argentinean side was the best.
Unlike the Rio post I’ll stop writing and let the photos speak for themselves.
Next stop...Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Brazilian side
The Argentinean side
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In a sentence...insane.
Food we loved...hot dog completo – a hot dog accompanied by a dazzling array of self-serve items including various condiments, corn, peas and raisins. Amazingly delicious at 2am (according to Nick).
I’m not even going to try and do a quirky or funny little introduction for this post. There are no words that could adequately describe being in Rio de Janeiro for Carnival. As old, grey and demented as I may get, I will never, ever forget this experience.
By way of brief explanation for the uninitiated, Carnival is a festival held before Lent each year. While people commonly associate the festival with images of scantily clad samba dancers parading through the Sambadrome, just as important are the street parties which take place on nearly every block. Plenty of tourists come to soak it all in, but it truly is a festival loved by the Brazilian people. After all, they’re the only ones who have the stamina to party day and night for two weeks.
We hooked up with a couple of New Zealanders from our dorm to hit our first block party, conveniently located just around the corner from our hostel. The street was absolutely packed with people drinking in the sweltering heat. There was music, ridiculous costumes and plenty of vendors selling whatever drink you could think of. Within a few hours the party wound up and we spent the rest of the night roaming the city, from Ipanema beach to Lapa – there were parties everywhere. The atmosphere was electric everywhere you went and even the trains were filled with singing and dancing. By the time we woke up the next morning the city was getting ready to do it all again.
Another night we headed out to the Sambadrome, Rio’s purpose-built stadium, to watch the parade of the samba schools. We were blown away by the scale of it all, there were so many enormous floats and thousands of dancers in colourful costumes. It was 5.30am by the time the last performers came past us and the sun started to come up on what had been one of the greatest nights of my life.
As we left the Sambadrome we were pretty excited to stumble across huge piles of discarded costumes. While some of them were a little worse for wear Nick picked himself up a fabulous little number.
As much partying as there was to do (those Caipirinhas weren’t going to drink themselves), we also saw plenty of Rio’s most famous sights.
We stayed in the very cute (and well located) neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. Billed as Rio’s equivalent of Paris’ Montmartre, it’s filled with hills and street art and supposedly a lot of artists live in the area. Our hostel had this spectacular view over part of the city.
We really hit the jackpot on a free walking tour as guinea pigs for a guide giving his very first tour. Our favourite part was Escadaria Selaron, a huge staircase which over many years has been decorated with tiles by Chilean artist Jorge Selaron. You could have spent hours there looking at all the tiles. Most of them were pretty ugly yet they all combined to create something which looks amazing.
We visited Flamengo, Ipanema and Copacabana beaches and were astounded by the sheer number of people on each beach – most of whom did not seem to be able to swim. It was great to people-watch with a cold beer in one hand and a prawn-filled skewer in the other.
But even a place as fantastic as Rio was not without its disappointments.
Christ the Redeemer was not as imposing as I had imagined and the experience of seeing him up close was hampered somewhat by the 3 million other people trying to do the same thing.
Secondly, we both arrived expecting the beaches to be filled with smoking hotties in g-string bikinis. Wrong. Rather, they were filled with fatties in g-string bikinis! And by “fattie”, I don’t just mean slightly chubby. Whilst on the train one night I noticed that the seats reserved for elderly, disabled and pregnant passengers are also reserved for one extra category – “obeso”. Now, Portugese is not my strong point but I’m pretty sure I can guess the English translation for that word...
Next stop...Iguassu Falls, Brazil & Argentina.Posted 5 March 2015.Special thanks to our wonderful (and long-suffering) parents whose generous monetary Chrismas gifts funded our flight to Rio xoxo.