I can´t say enough about the time I have had the past few days. Buzios ended up being amazing. The Nomad is by far one of the best hostels I´ve stayed at. It was right on the beach and in the center of town and I met the most amazing people there…from Argentina, Sweden, Norway, Israel, Austrailia, and of course, lots of Brazillians. The hostel had a fun bar and a great courtyard and everyone pretty much gathered there each night to drink and then head out to the clubs. The clubs were fun, definitely wouldn´t rival Vegas or another big party town, but were still a good time. No one really really goes out in Buzios, or Rio for that matter, until about 1am, so it makes for a lot of late nights and sleeping til noon.
On Saturday, I traveled to Rio. I arrived late in the afternoon, so I didn´t have a chance to do much other than walk around Ipanema. I met a fun group of guys, a couple of Americans, a Scot, and a guy from Holland. We ate at a small local food bar (which they called the old mans bar), grabbed some beers, and then went out about 1am to a small/bar club somewhere in the middle of Rio.
On Sunday, I went to the beach in Ipanema and walked as well down to Copacabana. I don´t think I have ever seen such a crowded beach in all of my life. Apparently, the weekends are the busiest and there was literally a sea of colored umbrellas and people for as far as the eye could see. It truly made for some pretty amazing photos.
Last night, we ended up staying in the hostel and I shared my drinking game that I learned in Lima and before you knew it, we were laughing hysterically and shotgunning beers. I did, however, make it up in time for my tour this AM and miraculously felt pretty good.
The tour today was pretty phenomenal. The day started off cloudy (it´s been beautiful and sunny every day since I left Iguacu), so I was a little nervous that the views from the Christ statue would be bad or that we wouldn´t be able to see it well, but the sun came out just in time.
We started the tour by going to a beach where the majority of hanggliders land, then off to the forest and to a pretty impressive waterfall. We saw monkeys and some interesting raccoon looking animals (keep in mind this is all just a short drive from the city center). Next, it was on to the Christ the Redeemer Statue, then on to Santa Teresa and next the Lapa Steps. The steps were pretty surreal. Unlike the statue, they were fairly empty, and once again, I got some great colorful photos. I also met the Chilean artist who´s been working on them for years and he asked me to send him a tile from Portland. He´s constantly redo-ing them and according to the instructions, if I send a tile from Portland, I will receive one from the wall in return.
Lastly, we were dropped at Sugar loaf and took the gondolas up to one of the tallest peaks near the beaches…the views were once again amazing and I was taken aback at just how large the city was and how beautiful it was from the top of the peaks.
Tomorrow I am off to Colombia and Cartegena. I will definitely miss Brazil, however, I´m definitely looking forward to a new place altogether….and being able to speak some of the language 🙂 Til next time