Rucks & Bikes

In true preparation for a day of rugby we treated ourselves to a lie-in the next day and then retraced our steps from the night before. We were gutted to find that though the assurances of the previous night were nonsense – they were showing the Manchester United game. Remembering our internet searches we headed out to the only place we had not been the night before. The furthest place from our hotel, a British owned pub called The Lord John/Jim, with joy we read the sign outside – “6 Nations – Live Here”. We managed to catch the last half an hour of the Welsh game and the whole of the English beating the French. The landlord owner almost spoilt the day though. He had imbibed a few too many Heinekens during the game and almost came to blows with one of the patrons over £12. Everyone ran up a tab and paid when they left but when one British guy (living and working in Rio, with a Brazilian girlfriend…..yes he was not going to cause a problem in his own back yard, it was obvious) came to pay, his credit card was not accepted. The guy then offered to be accompanied to a cash point to withdraw money and pay then or call his girlfriend who would deliver the cash. The landlord though, just flew off the handle and threatened to call the police, further threatening they would only accept his version of affairs. We felt he was really over the top with his reaction and had just stepped in to help out our countryman, calm things down & pay for his beer when his girlfriend arrived and paid up. Lesson for bar owners might be, leave the drinking to customers, and if you want to keep them treat them with more respect.

Ipanema beach - any room for a little one?

Leaving with a sour taste we then decided not to take the lazy option but instead to walk off our own food & drinks and head back to the hotel on foot. The walk took us from near the end of Ipanema beach to near the furthest end of Copacobana beach, a couple of hours walk, just enough to make us feel better as we had indulged in chips (fries) during the rugby. We also watched some fantastic games of volley-football. Football played over a volley ball net. We would have loved to show you a video of it, but being conscious that standing with a camera out would make us targets we wimped out. It’s down to you & your imagination, or maybe Youtube of course!

The ocean's calling us....

We decided on a night in, catching up with emails and more skype conversations, nipping out only to buy a couple of subway sandwiches. Our staple in the US had followed us to Brazil.

Bicycles were the order of the day for Sunday. We were informed by the hotel that we could hire them from various points along the beach so we headed down and duly collected two, slightly battered bikes. We headed down Copacobana beach with the aim of hitting Ipanema beach then turning right to the lake.

It's too hot to ride this thing!

All was going well until we met one of the early Carnival parades. The mass of people were not easy to negotiate with a bike, after we had struggled for a while we decided to bale out & take any road right away from the beach in the hope it would take us to the lake.

If I just ride over a few people....?

We made it & the lake rewarded us with beautiful views. The trip back to Copacabana was more testing as there was a nasty uphill section. It had to be taken as we were under time pressure to return the bikes.

Leafy lakeside

Bikes returned, we ventured onto Copacabana beach. Following the various hints and tips to avoid mugging we went down stripped of all jewellery, and sadly for you Dear Reader, we didn’t take the camera either. The sea was cold! Significantly colder than Morro de Sao Paolo, with an incredible undertow. Linz kept close to the edge as Colin dove into the waves. The sun went down and we got cold (yes, we really have acclimatised) so it was back to our hotel for a drink & snack on the rooftop bar and some Skype conversation with Colin’s family.

The view from our roof to Copacabana!

Our time in Rio was finished off with an Arab meal at a beach front restaurant. Can’t beat a good old kebab!

Our conclusion is that Rio is a fun town, with a lot for tourists to get stuck into. Had we had a few more days the lake was definitely worth more of an explore, and more time on the beach wouldn’t have gone amiss. As for the safety aspect we felt as safe as we have in all the major cities we have visited so far. In fact, we were more uneasy in Salvador than in Rio, and probably at more unease in Seattle back in September too. We feel that the old adage applies in Rio, if you look like a victim you’ll probably end up as one. Linz did overhear 3 people in our hotel that had been mugged with one of them having a gold necklace snatched off her neck which is terrible but you do have to wonder at the sense of wearing a gold necklace to the beach in Rio. If you don’t have it with you, you can’t have it stolen and if you don’t look like you’ve got a lot you won’t be a target. Definitely a good excuse for our “shabby chic”!


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