2 Mar

Hands down, my favourite city in the world, Rio is one of the few cities I’ve visited that gives off a vibe. It feels like a city that has been carefully constructed around a jungle, and it feels alive in so many ways.

Sure you’ve got malls and shopping districts, poor areas and rich areas, cinemas, restaurants and wild nightlife, but it’s little things that makes this city so vibrant and full of life and colour. Like the playgrounds and basketball courts full of the noise of children and teens playing. Games of chess being played on street corners by groups of elderly men, smoking their cigars and jostling each other as they joke around. The cobbled stone streets with tall, dilapidated buildings looming either side, full of colour, broken shutters painted in all shades and washing hanging from the balconies. Or perhaps it’s the beaches with sand like delicate sugary glass beads, so beautiful you want to bottle it. Or the way many of the roads have been transformed by the tall trees which line it, so big and old that canopied shade is heavy, vines have grown so long they hang to the road and roots ripple across the street and pavement. Or perhaps it’s the many parks, so rich with greenery you could easily believe you’re lost deep in the jungle as tiny fluffy eared monkeys chatter in the branches above you. Maybe it’s the amazing sunsets, or the shimmer on your skin that only comes from exsisting in a climate that is always warm, or the insane amount of music that is played on every corner, every night, that reverberates through your soul and makes your body move… yes this actually happens. New York might be the city that never sleeps, but Rio is like it’s flamboyant brother!

Our Air BnB here was amazing – a few stories up, we had breakfast served to us every morning with fascinating conversation and a treetop view complete with those fluffy earred monkeys. Our wonderful hosts even took us to a samba concert, which was unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. The music was loud and wonderful, the musicians were incredibly talented and I could not believe the energy and endurance this band had. I swear it was longer and louder than any other concert I’ve been to, and people just used it as an opportunity to dance (really well) and loose themselves to the rhythm. If music ever had colour, it could be seen here. 

Mostly, we spent our days walking and bike riding, sight seeing and strolling along Rio’s famous beaches. We did all the touristy things – visited the Christ the Redeemer statue, went on the cable car up Sugarloaf mountain, walked the famous Selaron Stairs and even paid a visit to Parque Lage,made famous by Snoop Dog and Pharrels music video “Beautiful”. That place really was beautiful – botanical gardens with a mansion at the centre and a stunning pool at the centre of it all. And we did some not so touristy things, like sleeping late, enjoying the pool at our AirBnB, finding ourselves at a sketchy skate park and sitting by the water eating too many Pao de Queijo’s, which are the most delicious Brazillian cheese balls.

Honestly, this city has my heart, and maybe it was because Rio was the beginning of the end of our trip, or maybe it was the romantic haze of colour and vibrance, or maybe it was just that this city is so full of life that you can’t leave without taking some of it with you, but I’d go back in a heartbeat for a little more Samba and a pocket full of those cheese balls any day.