Last weekend we decided last minute to head to Rio. Since we have kids, we thought we’d break up the drive and sleep in Paraty for the night. We stayed at the Pousada Eclipse in Paraty, which is farthest from the town, and right off the freeway. With free wi-fi, 2 beds, and a clean room for R$160 a night, I was fine with having to park in town. So no photos of this VERY VERY beautiful city, as we basically drove in and thought we’d grab lunch… so I left the camera in the car. Then we started to walk, as we didn’t realize that half the town is foot access/ cobble stone only. Of course this meant I had to stop and by Haviannas, as I was wearing heels, and you can’t walk these streets in anything but flats.
Paraty is a MUST MUST MUST. The streets are quaint, and all the restaurants looked great. They have little cultural events all the time, as they need something to attract people. When we were there it was a big dance showcase. We didn’t go in, but in the jeito of Brasil, we passed off our squirmy 2 year old to the waiter (we ate at 7 so no one was in the restaurant), and he took him into the show across the street since he had access to it. SOO wrong right? I would never do that in the US, but this is Brasil. For R$30 we went on a buggy ride of the city, I recommend it, as you get a real quick look at all the shops etc, and then can decided where you want to go, versus walking the whole thing. And you hear a bit of the history. If we had actually planned to stay in Paraty, I would have loved to go on one of the many day trips on a boat, or taken a class at the cooking school they have there (classes in English too). Paraty is known for the art/culture, and there were some unique shops and art galleries. Alas, we were only “resting” here, and didn’t do much other than look and kick ourselves for not visiting sooner.
Sooo Rio… I have to say, it was nice to be somewhere warm instead of cold like Sao Paulo is right now.
My initial observations on Rio, are the following:
- Architecture in Rio is older and more ornate, there are a lot more buildings and churches here to enjoy
- The graffiti style in Rio is different- first there is more art graffiti, second the tagging is more curvy than the spiky styles of Sao Paulo
- The beach fairs they have at night, probably have the best touristy chotchky crap I’ve seen yet, I actually wanted to buy a lot of it
So lessons learned on this trip:
- ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS check the camera battery before leaving the hotel room to Pao de Acucar– hubby pointed out each and every “photo moment” that I missed
- Check the weather at Corcovado before you go. It seemed sunny until we got to the top
- Carry and extra shirt, and bring a second baby carrier- just in case you’re on top of a big mountain and your kid decides to kill both the Moby and your shirt.
- Set up a baby changing area on the counter in the bathroom, before you go to bed, so that when your kid poops at 4am, you don’t wake up the 2 year old too.
- Bring a point and shoot camera, not just your fancy Cannon, as your husband will expressly forbid it to be taken to just walk around Rio with. It’s the shark rule- it’s okay to swim in shark infested waters if everyone else is a target too (major tourist areas– not the beach)
We stayed at the Windsor Palace for R$360 for a King + twin. It was a great deal for Rio, and the room and hotel was clean and 2 blocks from the beach. They recommended a Churrascuria in Copacabana called the Palace for dinner. I think it’s the first one I’ve gone to that I really really liked. Again a list.
- The meat was delicious, AND varied, they had shrimp, squid, bbq pork ribs, and the best picanha I’ve had (better than Fogo de Chao)
- The appetizers on the table were good- garlic fried shrimp, onion rings, farofa
- There was a sushi bar, where you could order any roll you wanted or just slices of sashimi– and it was a welcome break from the usual meat fest
- The salad bar had a hot bar- paella, grilled salmon, pasta — again a nice change from just red meat
- For all of that the price was only R$70
The 2 year old was of course free, but he pounded down food like I’ve never seen him do before, he thought it was all delicious too. He also polished off an entire cup of watermelon juice (which is just weird to type in English. Suco de Melancia just seems right).
All in all, Rio was lovely, warm and I enjoyed our quick drop in, and right now as I snuggle my 2 month old to steal his body heat as Sao Paulo is cold as usual, I miss the sunny beaches.