Note: Dusty Azure is the name of a type of butterfly.
Brazil made me believe in travel miracles.
At the beginning of the year, I was still trying to decide where to go. I kid you not when I say that one evening I sat down and started to look for plane tickets prices to a lot of capitals in South America and Europe. The prices for Brazil weren’t looking that bad. Then, I had a bright idea (ahem!!). I decided to take a look at where I was able to go using my accumulated miles. Let me say I have never had luck exchanging my miles for a ticket. So, I was kind of surprised when I found out I was able to get a free ticket to Rio de Janeiro. I called the airline reservations number and an agent confirmed I was able to get the free ticket. So, I got one and bought another one. What a blessing! I still cannot believe I went to Brazil in a sort of BOGO offer.
Well, let’s talk about first impressions. What I discovered when looking at Rio de Janeiro for the first time.
First, it was good to experience the kindness of the people after a long red eye flight. After 11 hours of flight time, we arrived to Rio de Janeiro more than tired (American Airlines legroom sucks). I didn’t want to pay a lot of money to get to the beach area (where we were staying). A friendly lady explained how to get a bus to the Zona Sul (the beach part of the city). Once in Copacabana, we got lost. Yes, lost in Rio!!. But again,the locals were willing to help. The owner of a store called the hotel to get directions. He explained me how to get to the place and voila, we found our hotel in a cinch. So, friendly and cool people, checked.
Even though I felt tired, I was ready to explore after dropping the luggage at the hotel.
We started by having a snack at a corner store. That is where I had my first taste of passion fruit juice. I didn’t even remember when was the last time I had a tasteful passion fruit juice. I started to like the city. I don’t know. Maybe it was love at first sight.
What else I noticed?
The black and white, wavy pattern of Copacabana’s sidewalk is truly pretty.
The favelas are really close to the beach. And when I say close, I mean close.
Not everything that looks like a mansion on the top of a mountain is a mansion. My camera zoom revealed the mountain was Sugarloaf and the mansion was the cable car station.
And then, there is a guy that watches over the city. He is everywhere.
One thing that I don’t really understand is why in Rio a continuous strand of beach has different names. For example, I was staying near the division of Leme and Copacabana. It looked like one beach to me but well, there should be some logic behind this entire naming thing.
So, to one side, I was able to take a look at Leme Beach.
And the other side was occupied by the world famous Copacabana Beach.
In this first walk next to the beach, I chose to explore the Leme side. The beach takes its name from the Morro do Leme. Morro means promontory or hill. Take note since Rio is full of morros and they are the ones responsible of its unmatched beauty.
Part of the morro is surrounded by a walkway. From there, I was able to admire the first impressive view of the beach (just one from the many ones I had the opportunity to witness). Take a look below. That is Copacabana in its entire splendor. Beautiful blue waters, white sand, cafes and high rises lining the beach. Plus, you can see all those morros popping up in the distance (see what I was talking about). Hey, try to spot Corcovado in the photo shown below.
A few hours in Rio made me understand why many consider it the most beautiful city in the world. A lot of places are famous for its monuments, ruins, buildings or well-designed urban life. All those are great to experience but they were created by man. In Rio, natural beauty reigns and nobody can compete with what was created by God. This area in its natural state has enough splendor to draw people. The landscape is unique (just look at all those rocks standing tall all over the place).
What do you think about my first peek at Rio de Janeiro? Have you been here? What came to your mind when you were able to admire the city for the first time?