For those of you who didn't know I just spent the month in Brazil for a family wedding. This was my third time visiting Rio de Janeiro but this time I got to see a side of it that I have never seen before.
Travelling there with a 'local' definitely offers me a different perspective of the city than most tourists get to experience. However this time I asked to be a tourist for a few days and I had an amazing time.
Of course when you go to Rio you have to go to Corcovado to take in the view, and ride the terrifying cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain. You also of course have to walk on Copacobana and Ipenema beach whilst singing predictable songs in your head. This is the perfect picture postcard Rio and as long as you do your research are careful of where you wander it will never disappoint.
Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)
I on the other hand got to see all of this but from another point of view. I get the locals tour of the tourist attractions through the back streets. This way I get to stumble upon a little art gallery or historic building without having to compete with hoards of tourists. In my tour of Rio I encounter no English speakers and if I do I get surprisingly excited that I am not the only one there and feel the need to point it out. I have (quite a few times now) ended up in a part of Rio that I probably have no business being in. All the while keeping my mouth firmly closed for fear someone would hear that I am a 'gringo' and decide to relieve me of the cash in my pocket. Of course these parts are a necessity in order to get to where I wanted to go. Which was every art gallery I could squeeze into my 4 day uninterrupted tour of the city.
The Museum of Modern Art in Niteroi (MOMA)
As well as getting to see the all the art galleries I could in Rio I also got to see the Botanic Gardens. This was a very unexpected highlight of my trip. A photographers dream I can barley describe how beautiful this place is (and I saw it in winter so I can only begin to imagine how beautiful it would be in full bloom). The Botanic Gardens is just under 140 acres holding 6500 species of flora with many of them endangered. You will see not only Brazilian native plants from the Amazon, they also have a range from other countries as well. You can wander around the Japanese Gardens, take in a photography exhibition, and be entertained by the monkeys jumping around in the trees. The Gardens are also home to 140 different species of birds and we were lucky enough, with the help of a local photographer who pointed it out to us, see a Toucan roaming in the trees.
The Botanic Gardens Rio de Janeiro
The next part of my trip was spent in a little mountain town about 5 hours drive from Rio. It's hard to not relax in this part of the world and as an added bonus if you wanted some fruit for breakfast then you would travel no further than the back garden to pick some oranges, pinha, papaya or carambola.
Our Final few days were spent on the beach at the beautiful port of Arraial do Cabo.
I think the following photo says it all really.
Prainha Arraial do Cabo
Well now it's back to work and I have already had some great orders and some exciting news about Mouse Illustration that I am dying to share with you all. However, that is for another day whenever it has all come together :-)