Hello Rio


Rio, Brazil

Well it is so hot and humid I am breaking out a sweat just typing this! Our first day in Rio has been an interesting one. I have to apologise now because I think I have only taken four photos today, but there is a good reason for this I promise.

Finding Your Feet In Rio


Beetles and VW's seem to be the transportation choice for many

Our aim for today was to “find our feet in Rio”. Haha well somehow we managed to do the complete opposite, and got very lost lost! Twice! On a scale of 1 to awesome map reader I would say that that our map reading skills are currently at about a two.

We had two maps, but the problem was neither were that detailed and only had the main big roads marked. Of course to a veteran map reader this wouldn’t have been a problem, but for us it made getting lost very, very easy, and get lost we did for the majority of the day!

Getting Lost In Rio

Ok, first off we tried to get to the main bus station as we needed to see about prices for our bus to Sao Paulo. The main bus station you say, this should be easy to find. Well that was what we thought and anyone who has been to Rio de Janiero before will probably laugh at us, but it took us at least double the time it should have to finally get there.

We tried to follow our maps but it was really easy to mistake a small side road as one of the main roads marked on the map. It doesn’t help that even the so called “small” roads here in Rio are hugely wide by our UK standards.

It wasn’t a problem though, we enjoyed walking around, even in the stifling heat, and we got there eventually and found what we needed. The bus companies seem to price match a lot and there were two main tiers for the bus to Sao Paulo from Rio. 69.00 Brazilian Real, or 81.00 Brazilian Real for the more luxury (or just generally comfy) option. Its a only a six hour journey so relative to some of the buses we will be getting its only a baby, and we expect to find much better value once we get out of Brazil.

The Favela

Our previous “lostness” luckily didn’t pose any risk to our safety, unfortunately the second did. It happened the same way as the first. This time we were trying to get to the city centre, again something that should have been really quite easy. Following our map we made the same mistakes as before, but this time to a worse extent. Taking one wrong road after the other we ended up walking down a street that we believed would take us right to the center. We were very wrong, the further we walked down the more run down the buildings became, and I was acutely aware of the strange looks we where beginning to get from the locals sitting on the street edge in their dirty plastic chairs.

Despite this we continued to walk (next time we should follow our instincts) and eventually we reached a dead end. This really was a “Where Now?” moment, but we didn’t have much choice other than to walk back the way we came. At this point I realised we were walking at the base of a Favela. Just behind the run down houses on the left of the street rose hut after hut hanging onto the steep hill/cliff face. I must be so awkward living on such a steep gradient.

Vila Carioca Hostel Rio de Janiero

We were very pleased to see our hostel after the accidental excursion to the Favela

As we walked back along the street a group of locals (from the favela?) started to call to us in Portuguese and even Ben who has already proven he speaks pretty good Spanish couldn’t understand a word they were saying. My initial reaction was just keep walking as I thought they were trying to get us to come into their house, or what was left of it! Turns out they were actually trying to help us. They had realised that we were lost, having walked past them twice, and managed to sweet talk a bus driver to get us out of there by giving us a lift to the Central Station for free. That was a relief.

Funnily enough this was about the third time we had been offered help by a local without even asking for it!

Unfortunately being lost for so long meant we saw nothing of Rio’s famous landmarks, and I didn’t dare to get my camera out, but looking back it was a worthwhile experience! It also reminds you that not every one is out to get you, even in the more dodgy of areas.

Tomorrow we aren’t going to make the same mistakes. We have planned our routes and we will take more notice of road names trying to stick to the main roads. I also need to make up for the lack of photos I took today. See you soon!

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  • It’s great what you guys are doing! Enjoy Rio and the heat – don’t leave any stones unturned!!

    • Jozef

      Thanks Jonh! Getting more used to the heat now! Plan to explore a lot more effectively today haha

  • I’m so envious of you! I loved Rio! Make sure you eat at Galitos, a chain of chicken restaurants (there are locations in both Copacabana and Ipanema.) So good!

    • Thanks for the tip Michael! Will chec them out today!

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  • Hey guys, that’s awesome that you got lost! Sometimes it’s even better for “getting to know a place” than seeing all the sites. Funny, we were just sitting at dinner tonight talking about how we wish we spent less time in New Zealand and went to South America early…in particular Brazil for Carnival. Anyway, all the best for your time there…we arrive South America on 3 March starting in Chile. Wonder if our paths will cross??

    • Thanks a lot! We will be heading up towards boliva and peru later on and plan to end in santiago so our paths may well cross! Have a great time in Chile, will be looking forward to your tips 😛

  • Shirley

    Hi it looks like you’re having fun already getting lost etc. Jozef have a lovely Birthday today Rio style,enjoy, with love & lyls Nan xxxxx

    • Thanks nanny we are having a great time. Talk to you soon XxxX

  • I can just see the three of you, finding your ‘feet’in Rio. Glorious post and I will follow them all. As to maps: I have my problems with them too, as often I find that the map does not coincide with reality. I got stuck more than once because suddenly there was a bridge or a dead end which did not show on my map.

    • Haha thanks Inka, we said to each other this trip could just be comprised of mistake after mistake haha Oh well it makes life more interesting!

  • Jacqui

    Have a great 19th birthday today & better luck finding the good places to visit. Comforting for a parent to know, that there are genuine people who were happy to help. Have fun & look forward to more pics!! xx

    • Thanks Mum. We will do better today, got it all planned out. Will definitely be taking more pics aswell. Speak to you later XxxX

  • How lovely that the locals are so friendly. What a great start to your trip. I hope you continue to have fun, in a laid back way.

    • Haha its a good job they are, we would still probably be down a shady side alley somewhere otherwise!

  • Lucy

    Hello Boy’s and Happy Birthday Zef! Great to read about your eventful first day, first of many no doubt. Have a better one today up Sugarloaf Mountain? xox

    • Ben

      thanks very much mum. and zef says thanks aswell. we are just having breakfast planning our day, sugarloaf, Copacabana beach and some other activites which are not yet decided. xXx

  • Steve

    Glad to hear 1st day turned out all right in the end. And that you have planned your route better for today.
    I see the bus to Sao Paulo is exactly the price I saw from surfing the net. You’d think there would be a couple that undercut the others? glad to hear that your mosquito repellant would repel a rhino. They might be flying around somewhere. Hopefully today, you will see some of Rio’s attractions.

    • Thanks dad! We had a much better day today and din’t get lost once! No they all seem to price match exactly but we have one booked now for Sao Paulo tommorow. Haven’t seen any flying Rhinos yet! XxxX

  • Rob D

    Happy Birthday Jozef. Cant think of a better way to spend it.

  • And the adventure begins!

  • Oh, and happy B-day Jozef! What better way to spend your 19th.

  • Can’t wait to hear more about your adventures! I’ve always wanted to go to Rio.

    • Thanks Laurel Rio is really good! Im sure we will ahve plenty stories to tell!