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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 14
Argentina, Brazil and Peru
Day 10
Rio de Janeiro
Click HERE to see our photos

Woke at 5:30 am after a great night’s sleep. Enjoyed a very delicious breakfast at the hotel restaurant.


At 7:30 Patricia Furtado picked us up at the hotel in her rental car. Patricia is a licensed tour guide who we found through another guide, Neyla. The day we spent with Patricia was exceptionally special and worth every penny. If you are in need of a personal tour guide in Rio, we highly recommend Patricia.

Patricia Furtado, excellent Rio guide

Patricia drove us up Corcovado to experience Christ the Redeemer and the spectacular view of the city, beaches and mountains below. We were the very first to arrive, so we were ahead of the crowds and the early morning views were astounding. As we walked to the massive statue, a large anti-terrorism/anti-drug team of elite special forces (BOPA) was involved in a training exercise so we took the opportunity to shoot photos and visit with them.

Jesus of Corcovado
Carol and friends
Panorama from Corcovado

Our next stop was Santa Teresa, where Patricia introduced us to her friend Getulio, an artist who makes art out of recycled materials. We bought two of his pieces, perused his "studio," and thanked him.

With artist Getulio

Next Patricia took us to the Ruins Park (Parque das Ruinas) the once exquisite home of a wealthy baroness, patron to the arts. The home was vandalized after her death and today it is a popular vantage point.

Parques das Ruinas

From there we went to the colorful Selaron steps of Santa Teresa decorated in tile from all over the world by the artist known as Selaron, a close personal friend of Patrica. Sadly, he recently chose to end his life. We enjoyed examining the colorful tiles for a while.

At the Selaron Steps at Santa Teresa
A tile at the Selaron Steps
Tile at the Selaron Steps

Next we headed downtown and parked at the unusual Rio de Janeiro Cathedral (or the New Cathedral as it is sometimes called.) We walked inside as several new priests were being ordained, a very emotional few moments and a terrific photo op.

New Cathedral
Inside the New Cathedral

A few blocks from the cathedral found us in the midst of the once-a-month street market/antique fair in Lapa, where we stopped at a vendor to refresh ourselves with fresh coconut water. We watched as the vendor cracked the coconuts open for us.

Lapa mural
Delicious cool, fresh coconuts in Rio
Street performers in Lapa

Next we drove to the business center of the city. We parked next to the beautiful, ornate opera house. We walked many blocks towards the port area where people were enjoying feijoada - there were no tourists here, only cariocas (natives) like Patricia.


While wandering the downtown area, we found ourselves at Confeitaria Colombo, a very ornate and famous French-style, art-nouveau restaurant where many families were enjoying the famous Brazilian feijoada buffet. We sat and enjoyed sandwiches as we took in the wonderful ambience.

At Confeitaria Colombo

Rested, we walked more through the downtown area, at one time passing the house of Carmen Miranda and a bar frequented by Vinicius de Moraes who wrote “The Girl from Ipanema.”


We found the car right where we left it at the opera house, and Patricia drove us through Leblon to the west of Ipanema and up through the Tijuca Forest, a mountainous jungle area where we spotted a large boa constrictor sleeping in a tree. Patricia had seen this particular snake earlier in the week and knew that on Friday it had killed and eaten a monkey. So now, sated, it was comfortable digesting its meal in the safety of the jungle trees.

Boa constrictor high in a tree in the jungle above Rio
Huge moth in the jungle above Rio
At the Vista Chinesa above Rio

The view from this height was truly phenomenal so we snapped several photos at the Vista Chinesa and then drove on through the high jungle stopping at a spectacular waterfall. We filled our water bottles with fresh, cool mineral water and then stopped to watch the hang-gliders and para-gliders hurl themselves off of the mountain. They glide for several minutes before landing on the sandy Leblon beach.

At a waterfall in the jungle above Rio

Patricia had saved the best for last. She took us down the mountainous jungle road until we came to an interesting area where on one side of the road lived millionaires and on the other side was a favela called Vila Canoas. We parked and wandered through the favela. It amazed us, all day, how many people recognized Patricia. She is well-loved and respected by so many people. We felt totally safe in the favela, in fact we felt more than welcomed by the entire community. We watched Brazil defeat Bolivia in a futbol match on TV (everyone in the favela has a TV) at Patricia's favorite bar, where Chico, the bartender, concocted delicious caipirinhas for us, the carioca drink of choice. They were potent and delicious and we thoroughly enjoyed our time in the favela. We hope to return.

Entrance to the Vila Canoas favela
Mess of electrical wires at the Vila Canoas favela
Chico, Master of the caipirhina
Chico and Patricia
Delicious caipirhinas

We thanked Chico and his wife and two dogs and headed down the mountain where we watched the hang-gliders land.


All too soon, Patricia had us back at our hotel after a most interesting and fun-filled day of adventure. We were sad to say goodbye to our new friend, and we highly recommend her services. Patricia can be reached at patfmorais@gmail.com.

Dusk at Ipanema

We hugged Patricia, said “obrigado” and sadly watched as she drove down Ipanema’s Rua Visconde de Piraja and disappeared into the evening traffic.


We rested at the hotel, freshened up, then took a cab to the Copacabana Palace, one of the first major hotels on Copacabana beach. We sat at “Deck” and enjoyed grilled octopus and squid and rice with saffron. Two more caipirinhas with our delicious dinner were delicious. Our waiter, Claude, took good care of us and by 9 pm we were back wandering west along Copacabana beach as the last rays of the sun faded behind the hills above Leblon.

Delicious dinner at Deck on Copacabana Beach

We strolled along Copacabana beach in a light misty rain, stopping to enjoy lively music, dancing, and arts and crafts along the way.


Exhausted after a long day of exploration, we found ourselves back to the hotel via taxi by 11 pm and by midnight we were fast asleep dreaming of today’s multitude of adventures.


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email david@davidandcarol.com