The day after the wedding we said good-bye to Piraí and got a ride back to Rio with a sweet couple that took good care of us over the wedding weekend, Joao and Lara. They (and a group of Cris' other nice Rio friends) all spoke English. The wedding would have been much less fun without their stories, banter, and laughter. Thanks guys!
|The scenery around Piraí was very different from the beach.
Isn't it beautiful?!
|Looking up at the palms from a park bench.
When we'd left Rio on Friday, the beaches were bare because it was FREEZING for being at the beach. But it was beautiful when we returned and things were much more happening on Sunday afternoon.
(tasted more like grape juice than the American version)
Monday morning we hopped aboard a Jeep for a tour of Tijuca Forrest - the world's largest urban forest. On the way we passed through the city. Below you can see how there are huge mountains just behind the beach areas of town, you can join Curves if you move to Brazil, and see Jesus looking down over the city.
Inside the forest you can take in a view of Ipanema beach from the "Chinese View" (which is featured in the new animated move Rio, which my mom says is excellent.) And you may see a monkey...this fellow appeared to be injured and was not with any more of his people.
The waterfall was much more lovely than my camera could capture. We passed the church below on our ride up the mountain, the tree in the middle is a eucalyptus (with squishy bark), and I could not believe the size of some of the palm fronds! In the very bottom photo, if you click on it, you'll see a glider coming down from VERY high up. You could pay several hundred Reaís for the experience, a few of the guys on our tour got dropped off there and almost had my mom convinced to go. I was pretty glad I had the "pregnancy excuse"!
After the tour and some lunch, we hit the beach for the only time while in Copa.
I think I could have made 3 Brazilian bathing suits with the fabric mine is made of. :)
|Our hotel is just two doors over from the tall, dark, and more expensive one on the left.
The beach and Brazilian men in their natural habitat, playing soccer!
The waves were constant, day and night; one of the most beautiful sights and sounds.
My mom had been in Copa to see Cris a year ago, when my dad was in Brazil for work. She wanted to go into the Copacabana Palace but he wouldn't humor her. I did! We had coffee inside at the restaurant that had tables next to their beautiful pool.
I needed a nap after that (I pretty much fought a migraine for the rest of our visit.) So mom did a little shopping while I headed back to the hotel to rest. Then she treated me (as she had to everything else!) to a Brazilian bbq dinner. We tried Brazil's national drink, the Caparinha. I had a few sips ... that bad-boy was STRONG. Dinner was delicious: meat, meat, some salad and bread, and a little more meat!
This stage of the post brings us to our final day in Rio. We spent a leisurely morning at the hotel (meaning I slept in and then took a nap after breakfast trying to get rid of my silly headache and nausea - it helped!) We packed up, left our bags at the desk for the day, and headed out for our last day on the town: a little shopping, the Botanical Gardens, dinner at Colombo. I'm going to leave these pictures big; click on them if you want to see even larger pictures of the flora and fauna.
|They sell a LOT of Havaianas flip-flops. This store had 3 walls like this!
They are marvelous footwear.
Jardim Botanico: a most beautiful and peaceful place.
We did this instead of hiking up to see "Big Jesus"; it was definitely the right decision.
We rounded out our trip out on a point between Copacabana and Ipanema beaches where there is a semi-active fort that includes a beautiful walkway with shops and restaurants, from which you get a great view of all of Copacabana. Cris and Cris had taken my mom there last fall for her birthday dinner, at a classy place called Colombo. It's known for pastries, but after we ate dinner, we didn't have space for the pastries or the time - we had a plane to catch. Truly a perfect place to end our trip: the sun setting over Copa and the nightlife coming awake ... at 6:30pm (they aren't too far from the equator!)
Mom, thanks for a GREAT trip, experience, treat, etc. She really
wined and dined me ... I'm pregnant, remember, so there wasn't much wine involved, but it's the only sufficient expression for how pampered I felt the whole trip!
Even with all the treating, however, I sure was glad to get back to my man and children. So the fairy tale has ended and I've returned to grocery shopping, making meals, laundering clothes, picking up toys, cuddling, playing games, washing dishes, and preparing for the school year. That's real life, and I'm planning to enjoy it happily ever after.