sexta-feira, 19 de agosto de 2016

Off the beaten path: Brazil

Rio de Janeiro off the beaten path

"It's weird to think that the Laranjeiras neighborhood pleasantly smiles when I arrive there" ("Estranho é pensar que o bairro das Laranjeiras satisfeito sorri quando chego ali"), used to sing a famous Brazilian rock singer Cássia Eller in her song All Star about one of the most delightful neighborhoods that the city of Rio de Janeiro can offer.

While many new visitors arrive every month in the marvelous city, as Rio de Janeiro is known, tourists usually look for the Ipanema beach and the Copacabana boardwalk, not to mention the city landmarks such as The Sugar Loaf mountain and Christ The Redeemer.

If you are a tourist in Rio de Janeiro for the first time or for the tenth time, catholic or no religion at all, you will probably visit Corcovado and take several pictures with open arms in front of the 38-meter high statue of Christ The Redeemer. From there you will have an incredible view of the city. It definitely is a must-do tour, although if it is too cloudy save it for the next day, unless you want all your pictures to say that you were above the clouds.

After this visit, it is time for you to go off the beaten path. You are just a few steps away from the Laranjeiras neighborhood, which means "orange trees". There aren't as many orange trees as there were in the past, but you can still find, in the middle of the urban area, some fruit trees and if you are lucky you might photograph a capuchin monkey, known as mico, jumping from one branch to the other.

General Glicério Street
Besides the fruit trees, another aspect that calls attention is how some inner streets of the neighborhood smell so good. There is a reason for that. As you walk the streets you can spot many colorful flowers planted by the Cityhall or by the house owners themselves. Since the sidewalks can be narrow you will be so close to some of these flowers that you will feel enchanted by their smell.

During your visit to the Laranjeiras neighborhood you may be hungry or in the need of nibling something good. Homecooked meals and family run restaurants are what you will find there. No big chain food places, but delicious food in pleasant and well decorated restaurants at a very accessible price.

Largo do Machado
After taking a stroll in this peaceful family vibe of Laranjeiras maybe now you would like to enjoy the rest of your stay shopping or sun bathing. You have easy access to the carioca subway system at Largo do Machado, in honor to the famous Brazilian writer Machado de Assis (Laranjeiras was where he used to live). As soon as you go downstairs to buy your subway ticket you may still think that you are outside, that is because there is a sound system programmed for the riders to listen to bird chirps. While at the station you still have the chance to flavour some delicious Brazilian goodies and buy some souvenirs and beautiful handicraft products.

Now just choose your stop and continue your visit to Rio de Janeiro and in case you feel like being close to the locals again, remember to go off the beaten path in the neighborhood of Laranjeiras.

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