This city has been praised by so many people that it is difficult to get new qualifications that exalt it, so, what remains is to turn to the feelings that surfaced when visiting it, for me the main one, an immense joy!

Ipanema and Leblon Beach

It is not only its exuberant natural environment, with mountains, forests and beaches, Rio de Janeiro also has a rhythm and a vibe of its inhabitants that transmit something like a frenzy.

Do Arpoador beach

Yes, the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City), as it is also called, is an infallible seducer, no doubt the place of Brazil that everyone wants to know, either for its world famous Carnival or for the tropical fantasy it represents.

After being in Ceará, Pernambuco and Bahía, the state of Rio de Janeiro was my next destination in Brazil, where I arrived on a sunny day. I had no room reserved, so from a public telephone at the Galeâo airport I called a hostel in the Copacabana area that appeared in my guide to ask if there was availability. They said yes and I took a taxi there, the service was expensive but I didn't want to waste time, it was already noon.

I checked into a shared room in the hostel and with a map in hand I went to know the surroundings of Copacabana and of course, its beach, which was five blocks from my accommodation. It was already about three in the afternoon, so I went exploring the area the rest of the day.

Copacabana beach at sunset

Although it is an urban beach, with all the negative that it can mean, Copacabana, with its 4.5 km extension next to the beach of Leme, is very beautiful. White sand, the deep blue color of its waters, a lively environment with its Postos (kiosks) and Botecos (bars) in the open air, people playing soccer, the art deco architecture of several buildings that surround it, a lot of greenery, beach vendors and the mix of local and foreign visitors, are things that give this place a vibrant character.

On the promenade that surrounds the beach the sand artists exhibit their incredible works

For my second day in Rio de Janeiro I planned to go first to Ipanema!, perhaps the most famous beach in Brazil.

I paused on the road because I ran into the Hippy Market that is mounted on Sundays in a square in the area. There are crafts, clothes and other interesting objects at a good price.

The Hippy Fair or Market is mounted at Praça General Osório

I continued towards the coast and suddenly I had the beach of Ipanema before me. It was like a reverie. The day was completely clear, the sea shone and the joy of the people who enjoyed their free time was perceived in the environment: some exercised, others swam, some drank coconut water ... walking along the sidewalk of black and white waves that surrounds it I felt like Garota de Ipanema, the famous Bossa Nova song of the sixties with music by Antonio Carlos Jobim and lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes.

Ipanema, like Copacabana and other nearby urban beaches, have cold waters with strong currents, I checked it when a wave rolled over me, in fact this indigenous word means “dangerous or bad waters”, so it is not advisable to get away from the shore.

From the tip of the Ipanema beach you can see the statue of Christ the Redeemer, look at the upper right

In addition to the Postos (kiosks) that are on the beach identified by numbers and that also serve to know who frequent each area (fitness people, bohemians, LGBT, athletes, families, etc.), the area has many cafes, bars and restaurants that give it a particular touch. For years this beach and its neighbor Leblon have been frequented by artists and intellectuals.

At the end where Ipanema borders Copacabana, there is the Pedra do Arpoador, a huge rock that is like a viewpoint and surfing is practiced in that area of the beach.

During the time I spent here I got the impression that in Rio de Janeiro people don't work, they just enjoy hahaha ... obviously it's not true, but Ipanema's environment made me think that.

View of Ipanema and Leblon from the Pedra do Arpoador

Av. Delfim Moreira in the area of Leblon and in the background the Morro Dois Irmãos

The next place I visited that day was the Botanical Garden, really very beautiful and relaxing, with huge palm trees, the Pau-Brazil tree, cactus collection, insectivorous plants, orchids, bromeliads, collection of medicinal plants, rose garden, water lilies , monkeys ...

From the Botanical Garden you can also see the monument to Christ the Redeemer

When I left the Garden, I walked along Borges de Medeiros Avenue, which surrounds a part of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freites, a saltwater lagoon that has many attractions, including a cycle path and pedestrian path of just over 7 km, boats that can be rented, kiosks with food and drinks and occasionally other activities such as live music.

Rodrigo de Freites lagoon

I started my third day in Rio de Janeiro early taking a bus to the Urca area, where the Pâo de Açúcar (Pan de Azúcar) cable car is located, also an iconic place that you cannot miss, with spectacular views of the city. Fortunately the sky was totally clear.

This two cable car system was inaugurated in 1912 and moves first to the Morro de Urca, 220 meters, and then to the other nearby mountain, the Sugar Loaf (Pâo de Açúcar), at 396 meters.

Old cabins of the cable car system

From Morro de Urca you can see the spectacular Guanabara Bay, the beaches of Botafogo, Flamengo and Vermelha ... all landscapes that reaffirm why Rio de Janeiro is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

From here you can also see Christ the Redeemer

The heliport, for those who choose to see the city from above

Guanabara Bay

In this station there is restaurant, souvenir shop, playground, heliport and even an outdoor theater.

For those who do not want to climb Pâo de Açucar with the cable car, there is the option of climbing

When continuing the ascent to the Pâo de Açucar with the second cable car, you don't know what to look first when you arrive, if the view towards Copacabana, the sea or beyond the Christ the Redeemer, is an overdose of beauty.

In Pâo de Açucar (Sugar Loaf) you can go hiking, there are some paths

It was not easy to take a picture of this monkey, he kept moving ...

Beautiful pieces in precious stones in the Amsterdam Sauer store

Vermelha beach

As if the beautiful visions had not been enough, my next stop of the day was to go see some works of the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, one of the most influential of modern architecture.

For that I went to the center, to take the ferry on Praça XV de Novembro towards Niterói, a city that is east of Rio.

Leaving the port located in the center of Rio de Janeiro

From inside the ferry

Upon reaching the terminal is the Popular Theater of Niterói, a beautiful structure that I could only see from the outside since access to the public was closed ...

The other work I wanted to see from this architect in Niterói was the Museum of Contemporary Art. I asked and took a bus there, it was not far from the ferry terminal.

Niterói is on the other side of Guanabara Bay and can be reached by ferry or by the 14 km Río-Niterói bridge.

If in photos it looked like an alien ship, live and direct the vision of this building makes you feel on another planet.

Niterói Museum of Contemporary Art

Its curvilinear structure is one of the things I admire about Oscar Niemeyer, his creativity was not limited to the straight lines that we usually see in most buildings. Unfortunately the exhibition halls were closed to the public, so those who visited it that day could only be in their open areas.

Niemeyer projected this museum as if it were a flower standing out in space

To end my third day in Rio, on my way back to the hostel I found myself near the Copacabana beach with a concert by various artists in which I stayed for a couple of hours.

Copacabana by night

Although they recommend being alert because that area is not very safe at night, it did not seem dangerous to me and when I left the event I went calmly to the subway.

Mural in the subway station

To be continue…


Photos taken by me with a Sony Cyber Shot 7.2 mp digital camera