Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Summer 2007)
We arrived in Rio de Janeiro by 16-hour, double-decker bus. Again, the trip was worth the wait, and the incredible layout of the city became apparent to us very quickly. Also, fortune was on our side, as travel companion Bob who became ill in Argentina began feeling better almost immediately and was ready to hit the bars and clubs in Copacabana in no time. We stayed at a wonderful hostel called Stone of a Beach, a three-story Bohemian mansion with a private bar/restaurant/Jacuzzi on the roof, in the heart of Copacabana and just three blocks from the famous beach. Our schedule was pretty consistant—go to the beach all day and party every night with a group of international friends–we introduced some American drinking games to much critical acclaim. We also spent time visiting the essentials, including the magnificent statue Christo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) as well as Sugar Loaf mountain. The latter attraction involved a world-famous gondola ride that provided the ultimate photographic opportunity, allowing for breathtaking shots of the cityscape, including Cristo Redentor (looks like a cross on a mountaintop in the photos) and the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. We were also just in time for an unforgettable sunset over the harbor.