20.06.2014 - 30.06.2014 30 °C
We are staying in a gorgeous apartment with our host Luciano who is so, so nice! We are on the 22nd floor and have an incredible view of the city! We had an awesome sleep last night and lazed about this morning doing washing and catching up on emails.
Luciano had coffee and biscuits waiting for us when we woke up this morning even though he had left for work - so sweet!
Caught up with Athena, Benny and Alex around lunchtime and walked around the city of Curitiba which is really pretty, so much graffiti about the place making it really vibrant.
We walked and walked and ended our night at a churrasco restaurant called Jardim Grill. Man it was crazy. There is a buffet of salads, cured meats etc and then waiters come around with delicious meats for you to try. There were about 5 people at our table at one stage and we had to flip our traffic light to red so they would stop for a bit as we needed a break! Needless to say we rolled out of there!
We spent today with Benny, Athena and Alex. We started at the Museo de Oscar Niemeyer (Brazilian architect) and then headed to the Jardim Botanico which was really lovely! We headed back to a market we had been to a couple of nights ago as I had to exchange a dress I had bought. I managed to change my dress for a different size in Portuguese! How I did that I don't know!?! We then met up with Rolo, Pat, Ian and David who had just got into Curitiba for dinner and watched the USA v Portugal game.
Today was jam packed but we had such an awesome day!
We met the gang early and headed to the stadium. This was by far the easiest walk and entry into a stadium we have experienced since being here! We were lucky enough to be sitting in the same row as Benny and Athena (that's 3 games in a row now) and they managed to swap seats so that we were sitting next to each other!
The game was terrible. We were seriously missing Cahill but we are still proud of the boys and their performance throughout the Cup. It's a little sad to think that the 3 games are already over...
After the game we headed to a restaurant to watch Brazil win over Camaroon which was awesome!
For dinner we all headed back to the Churrascaria we had been at a few nights before for a final family feast. After tonight most of us go our separate ways. We will catch up with Rolo, Pat, Ian and David in Rio for 1 day an we will also spend another 5 days or so with Benny and Athena but for now that's it folks...
Last day in Curitiba. We've really enjoyed our time in this city and Luciano (our host) has been really amazing. He has prepared coffee and biscuits for us every morning for us to have when we wake up. I just think that is so sweet!
We are now at the airport waiting for a flight to Brasilia and then we fly up to the north of Brazil (Manaus) to the Amazon! Apparently it's ridiculously hot and humid so let's see how we cope!
We arrived in Manaus pretty late. It was stinking hot and we got to Hotel Colonial only to have them put us in the one next door called Hotel Magnifico. Magnifico it wasn't. It was horrible but the guy on duty spoke no English and couldn't understand our Spanish so we had to put up with it for the night....
So we managed to sleep but got up really early to complain. We are paying a ridiculous amount ($200 a night) and the hotel they have put us in is pretty horrible. So we complained and they apologised and moved us back into the original hotel and also gave us a discount - phew.
After that was all sorted, we took a walk around town. Visited Teatro Amazona and had some lunch. We then caught a taxi to Praca El Dorado to watch the game (can't remember which one now) and have a couple of beers. It's so hot here that we have not stopped sweating since we landed!
Praca El Dorado was pretty cool. A whole street of outdoor bars set up with TV's hooked up so patrons can watch games outside - they have the right idea! We had a delicious Amazonian fish dinner before having an early night.
We were picked up at 8 am and taken to the tour office. From there, 10 of us were driven to the port when we jumped in a boat which took us to another little town. On the way there we saw 'the meeting of the waters', black (Rio Negro) and brown (Amazon River). For 6 km these rivers run side by side without mixing - that was very cool to see! From that town we drove into the jungle for about 40 mins, and then we hopped into another boat and headed into the 'Amazon'!
After being in the boat for about 30 mins, we arrived at the lodge which is 10x nicer than the hotel we stayed in the first night! We have a room and a hammock and we are with 10 or so other tourists that are all really lovely! The eclectic group consists of tourists from Denmark, the US, Canada, Iran, Dubai (UAE) and Australia!
We had a delicious lunch and then I had a snooze in the hammock while Yuri watched the game with the boys. Yes, they have cable in the middle of the Amazon! It kind of ruins the illusion doesn't it? There is no wifi though so that very cool status update I was going to post will need to wait a few days ;-).
This afternoon we are going piranha fishing and then Cayman spotting tonight. This is so freaking cool!
Oh and it's wet season and there is thunder going off in the background as I type - it's going to be an interesting nights sleep!
Our tour guide is Kenny and he is pretty awesome and speaks English. He says he has been working back to back since the World Cup started. The lodge we are staying at is owned by Nelson. He and his family live here and run this amazing lodge. Nelson is taking us piranha fishing soon!
We started out to do some fishing but came back 15 mins later as it started pelting down with rain ?. We are lazing about in hammocks waiting for the rain to stop before heading back out.
I was the only one of the group to catch a piranha! We spent about an hour doing that then came back to the lodge for dinner. After dinner we headed back out in the canoe to do some Cayman spotting. It was pitch black and pretty scary but Nelson caught a small one for us to all have a look at and then released the little guy back into the river. All in all a fantastic first day in the Amazon!
Up at 5:30 am to see the sunrise. It's so lovely and peaceful out in the water. Back to the lodge for breakfast then back in the canoe to semi dry land for a 3 hr trek through the jungle with Nelson. He made me a bracelet, fan and a crown from palms in the jungle. We had such an awesome time! We got back to the lodge to find a whole group of new tourists who had arrived while we were out. It's a little crowded here now and I wish they would go away ?.
In the afternoon we cruised around the Amazon for about 3 hours and what a crazy ride we had! We spotted birds and monkeys and then towards the end of our cruise Nelson spotted a sloth in a tree and climbed up to bring it down to the boat. Man that is one unattractive animal! I totally freaked out but Yuri held it. Nelson then put it back in the tree. We then went out to open water to watch the sunset and spotted some dolphins swimming about. Man I love it here!
We have both made some new friends here which has been loads of fun. Yuri has befriended 2 Dutch guys that are as passionate about football as he is. There is one guy that I have been calling Iran because I don't know what his name is and that's where he is from. He is hilarious. 60 years old and still going!
Last day in the Amazon ?.
We went to visit a local family today which was just incredible. 15 people live in this tiny little shack in the middle of nowhere. You know what though? They are incredibly happy.
When we got back Nelson managed to hook up the TV in the dining area so we could all watch Brazil v Chile together. What a terrible game. I'm so glad Brazil are through but boy are they lucky.
After that it was time to say goodbye to our new found friends and the Amazon. What a wonderful few days it has been!
We are now back in Manaus and fly out to Rio tomorrow ?.
We have finally arrived in Rio! We landed about 9:30 pm and headed to our apartment that we will call home for the next 2 weeks. I t's a cute little 1 bedroom, 2 blocks from Copacabana beach!
We caught up with the gang (Benny, Athena, Rolo, Henry, Romina, Pat, Dave and Ian) for a couple of drinks before calling it a night.
Happy Birthday Sandra!!!
We took it easy today. Went out for breakfast then dropped off some laundry and went for a bit of a walk. We caught up with Steph from work which was great and then had a final dinner with Rolo, Pat, Ian and Dave. It's a little sad that this part is over. It's just Yuri and I for a little while now till Benny and Athena get back to Rio!
So much to do and explore here. I can't wait ?.