Saturday, January 08, 2011

More highlights from Rio

One of the things that Gina wanted to do the most was take a helicopter ride around Rio, particularly around Christ the Redeemer. That was our big splurge for the vacation and it was totally worth every penny. We'll have a video coming soon with footage from us in the air, but in the meantime, here are two of us with our feet still on the ground.

O Cristo Redentor
Gina was so excited she almost wet herself
One of the things that I miss most about Brazil is the fresh juices of every kind. Restaurants, bars, botecos (see below), beach huts, etc. all serve fresh juice. They simply add fruit, water (or milk), sometimes a little cane sugar and blend. I was so proud of Gina, she tried as many different kinds of juice as possible and loved most of them. This juice below was one of Gina's favorites. It's pineapple blended with milk and a bit of fresh mint leaves - served ice cold.
Enjoying suco on Copacabana
Rio is known for it's Botecos - tiny restaurant/bars scattered all over the city but particularly in our neighborhood of Santa Teresa and the nearby Lapa neighborhood. They typically started out many decades ago as bars with a bit of live music (usually samba, boss nova, etc.) but have now converted to be more of quaint little restaurants with a few tables inside. People drink too much and sing too loud, but a good time is had by all. One evening we walked down the street to a boteco hot-spot in our neighborhood and found this little gem, Marcô, where we had authentic Rio-style Feijoada (black bean stew with pork and beef, collard greens, rice, and farofa).

No meal in Brazil is complete without Guaraná
The breakfast at Birgit's house nearly made it worth it. Since we're not coffee drinkers, Birgit's maid Nice (pronounced Neecee) made Gina fresh lemongrass tea each morning and it became Gina's favorite part of Rio. She even cut some from their bush for us to take home. Don't tell customs.
Morning tea
Another can't-miss in Rio was the Contemporary Museum of Art in Niterói, across the bay. You know Gina and her museums, she can't come within 100 miles of a famous museum without visiting it. Because it was New Year's Eve day the museum was closed for a private function so we didn't even make it inside. We've read that the art collection isn't anything spectacular and the best thing to see there is the building itself, or at least that's what we're telling ourselves.
UFO sighting
The famous architect, Oscar Niemeyer had it easy here, he just had to design it. I feel bad for those poor engineers that had to figure out how to make it stand up on its own.
Contemporary Museum of Art - Niterói
We might have made one more trip to the Confeitaria Colombo, and it might have something to do with a certain waffle drowned in chocolate, topped with ice cream.
I honestly have no idea how I gained 10 lbs in 2 weeks...
The first time we rode the bonde over the famous Lapa viaduct we actually had no idea that we were on it. We just thought we were on a really high bridge since we couldn't see it from our vantage point inside the bonde car. We had to go back and investigate to ease Gina's acrophobic tendencies.
Bonde car on the Lapa Viaduct
Don't you worry, as with any trip we've ever been on, I did a fair amount of Landy stalking. Here we find a beautiful South American variety nestled below the neighborhood castle. Sleeping under her hood is a 300 tdi 4 cylinder turbodiesel engine. I want that.
Gina says I'm worse than the paparazzi

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