Rio de Janiero is one of the major cities in Brazil and happens to have a lot of global events on it’s plate in the next few years. The Catholic World Youth Day celebration this July, the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and of course the Olympic games in 2016. With millions of tourist coming from all over the world, it is no wonder why this location is one of the fastest growing cities on Earth.
First of all, there are many beautiful things about Rio. There are very touristy things to do and many not so touristy things to do. I feel that explored a good mix of both. However, one thing that I did notice that was completely opposite from what I was reading online and friends is regarding safety. I was probably reading reviews from 2006 or something because despite what many said, I felt pretty darn safe during my time in Rio, even with my camera hanging from my shoulder the entire time. People need to realize that this city is going to be home of some of the biggest international events ever and that the government is going to do everything it can to give the city a safe and fun reputation prior. So, I am going to do my part right now and tell you that Rio de Janeiro is a safe place to visit, especially right now.
When thinking of Rio, many immediately think about one of the seven made man wonders of the world, Christ the Redeemer or Cristo Redentor in Portuguese. Oh yeah, did I mention that Brazilians are super proud of their Portuguese language and culture over Spanish like the rest of South America? They are kind of like what Quebec is to the rest of Canada. Anyways, it sounds absolutely lovely when spoken. Back to the large statue of Jesus. I was told early on that the photos I saw on the internet aren’t necessarily the most frequently observed views in real life. More so to my case right during the summer storm season, a full view clear shot of the wonder was about a 50/50 chance. And to my luck, it was completely covered in clouds on my first day and attempt there. However, being able to see a gigantic shadow in the mist was pretty breathtaking as well.
My photo-op with Christ would have to wait another day. I took to the streets of a neighborhood called Santa Teresa, just a little East of the big city. It was once a high-end place to live but in the last few years, it has transformed into a thriving and lively place for local artists and young travelers. I could definitely see why on immediate arrival. Everything was locked and closed! Apparently 8 AM is way too early for those locals and I found out that things really pick up in the afternoon. Oh well, so I decided to just go for a nice stroll. I was informed that following the rails on the road would ensure a higher chance of safety, so I followed suit for the most part. Lots of color and graffiti work by locals can be enjoyed on almost every wall. The neighborhood consists of a lot of winding roads and hills that take you up and down. There is a very strong bohemian vibe going on as well. But this all made for a very enjoyable walk without too much distraction.
Later on in the day, the artists and restaurants opened up shop. I had one of the most amazing cod fish and rice dishes I ever had at a place called Sobrenatural (Super Natural). They specialize in great seafood and I absolutely loved it. Besides the amazing cuisine, the other great thing about this place is it’s location. This restaurant is right beside the tram rails. Another magical moment was when a light spread of rain started to drizzle down making the colors of the neighborhood pop and become saturated even more.