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January 2013

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Flight map from Rome to Rio de Janeiro Bookmark and Share

I usually spend long flight watching movies or writing, but this time I was so tired. I slept during most of the flight and I didn’t even see a movie!
The flight from Rome lasted for about 12 hours, and we arrived in Rio de Janeiro early in the morning.

View from the Hotel Mercure Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro

It was hot and humid when we got out of the airport. We took the bus to the neighbourhood of Botafogo, where our hotel was located.
Rio is an expensive city (even when coming from Europe) and accommodation prices can be high.

That’s why we decided to spend little time here: we preferred to save the money to visit some more remote places, and hope to come back and stay for a bit longer in Rio someday.
Still, we wanted the best possible start for this trip, so we slept at the Caesar Business Botafogo Hotel, comfortable, very well located and not so expensive (we had a really good deal).
We decided to begin the trip by sleeping in a nice place. After all, we were about to sleep mostly in hostels and campings for the upcoming months!

The metro of Rio de Janeiro

We had a bit of jet lag, but we didn’t have time to loose, so we went to the city centre.
Our first surprise was the subway. The trains of the Rio de Janeiro Metro are the longest I’ve ever seen! Their size is just perfect for a crowded city, some other towns should follow this example.

But the subway doesn’t cover (yet) the whole city and not all public transport in Rio is as smooth as the metro. For example, the next day we waited for a bus for more than an hour.

Rio de Janeiro skyline, with the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian

We stopped at the station Cinelândia, had lunch, and wanted to catch the old tramway to Santa Teresa.

On our way, we passed the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian. This church looks like a mix of a pyramid and a spaceship.
That’s kind of the perfect place to fantasize about Stargate.

After a short walk, we reached the tramway station for the Bondinho de Santa Teresa. What we didn’t know, is that this historic tram line was closed for renovation since a tram derailed back in 2011.
They said it was closed for renovation until 2014.

Graffiti in Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Hopefully, not far from there we could find a bus to Santa Teresa.

Santa Teresa is the favourite neighbourhood for bohemian artists in Rio de Janeiro.
There are some old and beautiful houses, some of them are restored, some of them look old but charming, and some others have their walls painted with street art.

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The Lapa Arches, Rio de Janeiro

When walking down the Santa Teresa Hill, we found the Carioca Aqueduct, known as the Lapa Arches.

It’s a landmark of the city centre and currently, it’s purely decorative.
It’s not used as an aqueduct anymore.
More recently, it has been used as a bridge for the Santa Teresa tramway, but the line is out of order right now.





AC/DC on the Escadaria Selarón in Rio de Janeiro

Between the neighbourhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa stands one of the nicest monuments in Rio de Janeiro: the Escadaria Selarón.

It was started in 1990 by Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. It’s said that initially he wanted to repair some broken steps of the stair passing in front of his home… but he ended up covering the whole stair with colourful tiles.

It’s a long and unachieved work, as Jorge Selarón constantly changes some of the tiles, making this stair a living and evolving work of art.

Iron Maiden, Guns'n'Roses, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and Bob Marley at the Escadaria Selarón: Rock In Rio

There are lots of ceramic tiles representing cities from all over the world. Some other represent flags, flowers, public figures, iconic places and maps. There are also a few rock bands, like Iron Maiden, the Rolling Stones, Guns’n’Roses and AC/DC.

Jorge Selarón still lives in the same house from where he began working of this stair. The door was open so we walked in and had a talk while he was working on a new painting. He has definitely adopted Brazil as him homeland.
He said he hadn’t been to Chile for several years, and that Rio de Janeiro is perfect for him!

Escadaria Selarón

By the end of the day, street vendors began to gather at bottom of the stairs.
It was Friday night, and the area around Escadaria Selarón is a well known party spot.

The next day, we planned to go to the Corcovado, but finally ended up in the Sugar Loaf. Click here to read about it.

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Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
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