We left Rio De Janeiro Thursday afternoon after just one day short of a week. Earlier that morning I captured this beautiful rainbow and thought it must be a good sign, but we both forgot about the rainbow during the turbulence to Buenos Aires: It was a 3-hour flight and it was very bumpy and neither of us are good with that. I wonder how world travelers could be afraid of some turbulence. Then it was a quick and easy flight to Montevideo, Uruguay, where we rented a car and drove about an hour and a half to our destination.
Rio was an emotional roller-coaster for us. The highs being Rio’s beauty and culture. Its beaches go on forever and they are filled with beautiful people who are just as beautiful on the inside. Carnival was a grand experience with parties everywhere and they don’t stop until after sunrise. The parade that Denise wrote about was an awesome celebration. They built a stadium for this parade and it holds close to 100,000 people. We took an overpriced ride to the parade; the driver charged us 3.5 times the regular fare, but this is the same in the States if you try to get Uber on a holiday in the rain. That did not bother me as much as the difficulty we had getting into the stadium. Thank God a police officer escorted us 30 minutes to get us on the right track. Once we found our seats we sang and danced in the rain with everyone else and it was worth the hassle of getting there. I heard never to go to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and I bet people say the same for Rio. We shared the city with more tourists than normal and could not get to different spots in the city at times because of the giant street parties that blocked traffic for hours. Our last day in Rio was perfect. We rose bright and early and were the first hotel guests to enjoy the breakfast buffet. Christ The Redeemer opened at 8 and we tried to be the first ones there. Along the way Denise thought she spotted a cat, but it used its front leg like an arm and we realized it was a monkey. Bikers and runners beat us up this 2300-ft mountain, and the view was still magnificent even with the other tourists that had the same idea. We snapped selfies and took on the view. On our way down we stopped by a quiet little town high in the cliffs, Santa Teresa. I realized that Rio had many faces and a week is not enough time to see them all. We finished our travels to Rio with mass for Ash Wednesday and unlike the traditional ashes on the forehead – Brazilians have to go big or go home — they put a handful of ashes on the top of your head, which I personally liked better. Then we finished with a Brazilian feast with Denise’s friend from GMA, Patrick, and his friend Sue. Like always I was sad to leave this paradise, but our time had expired and Uruguay was waiting.