So much has been going on since I arrived in Rio – beach, city, stadium, interviews, filming, cycling, illness – I’ll try to update this post with more stuff later!
First up, I want to share my trip to the legendary Maracana stadium yesterday to see the local derby between Vasco da Gama and Flamengo. Huge thanks to Janet and Robson for taking me along and for kindly buying my ticket!
What a stadium – this is where the World Cup final will be played on 13th July (Brazil v England?!?!) and where possibly England’s greatest ever goal was scored, by a Watford player!
It wasn’t a full house yesterday for a few reasons; it was a state championship game (so lower importance versus national champs), some fans stay away from this one because of past fighting between the two sets of rival supporters (but I saw nothing bad), and the ticket prices are considered too high at 80-100 reals (for comparison, I paid 40 for the game I saw in Sao Paulo). BUT it was still amazing to be there, the atmosphere was great, and the game was really entertaining and also very controversial…
On another note, I’ve met with various journalists in the past few days and there’s a great article about my journey in today’s O Globo which is the main newspaper in Brazil!
On the Saturday morning (6.30am!) I met Gabriela who works at Luta Pela Paz (see the separate post about my visit there) who’d kindly invited me for a cycle with her Giro Rio pals and also lent me her mountain bike to ride (it was nice to have a change from my usual bike, sorry Luis/Dinly!). We met in Flamengo and I wasn’t entirely sure where we were headed since I didn’t recognise the local place names in her email, but soon after setting off we were heading uphill. Up and up we went, but at a nice gradient, into the Tijuca National Park, until someone pointed up above us through the trees and I realised our first destination… only the Christ the Redeemer statue, I had no idea you can cycle up there, amazing! And here we are by the tourist drop-off point at the top – I chose a good day to wear my Mountain Goats jersey:
After that we continued along the beautiful mountain top roads through the forest, where there were lots of other cyclists, great to see! We stopped at some fantastic viewpoints over Rio below, it wasn’t the sunniest morning, but that was OK as it meant the temperature wasn’t too hot.
In total we covered 40km – here it is on Strava – and it was a superb ride, I certainly hope to get back up there when I return to Rio in June/July!
I should’ve already said a big thank you to Mirela for being a great host, and so trusting that she left her Copacabana apartment to me alone when she headed out of the city to a party from Fri night to Sun evening! Unfortunately I spent Sat night being unwell so had to cancel the party I was planning to throw, kidding, but not about being unwell, that was horrible.
I was so busy in Rio that I didn’t get time to stop on the beach and these are the only photos I took: