“Eat this!” “Do this!”… Trying to be a good travel blog in Rio de Janeiro

Now look, I know blogging ain’t cool. I used to be a ‘proper’ journalist, all inky fingers and deadlines that couldn’t be missed because a huge antique printing press was waiting to whirr into motion. I’ve heard them say blogging is “graffiti with punctuation” or that you can reach more people by walking into Trafalgar Square with a megaphone and shouting (can you imagine if I did that with one of my tales of dating woe?)

I was wandering somewhere – may have been Chile, may have been Peru – when I made the mistake of mentioning my fondness for this blog to a real person. “Ah bless you,” said human replied. “I mean, it’s nice to have a travel blog, even though it’s not going to go anywhere…”

(Anyone else spot the irony in that statement?)

But, anyway, a travel blog? Dammit, sometimes I forget that is what I am supposed to be writing. I mean, do any of you know that I went to Venezuela and climbed a mountain? Or that I swam in the world’s largest waterfall? Or that I pilgrimaged to Garcia Marquez’s birthplace? And South America’s most northerly tip?

No you don’t, because it turns out I’m not very good at travel writing. The thought of sitting down and writing about that mountain or that waterfall bores me to tears – even though I loved it and one day I will have to make the effort, if only for posterity.

Still, I am going to try to be a better tourism blog because, for example, I just spent over a week in Rio de Janeiro and maybe one day you’ll want to do the same.

So, if you do, you should definitely eat at a churrascaria. It’s a tiny slice of heaven where handsome Brazilian waiters feed you every type of meat until you want to fall to your knees and beg for mercy (they do give you a traffic light card – green for “feed me” and red for “leave me alone” – but they ignore it and keep feeding you anyway) We ate at Carretao in Ipanema.

Ipanema just happened to be my favourite beach in Rio, especially at the weekend when it is full of healthy exercising types and not-so-healthy sleep-in-the-sun types, like me. There’s a nice hippie market on Sundays too and you can go to the Garota de Ipanema bar where they really did write Girl from Ipanema.

Everyone pays a visit to Jesus, watches the sunset from Sugar Loaf mountain, goes to a football match, visits the Lapa steps and dances samba there on a Friday night – although I preferred the more civilised, less theft-ridden, live samba at Trapiche Gamboa.

I also spent a lovely day at the Botanical Gardens and enjoyed a civilised and reasonably priced escodidinho lunch at Parque Lage. Escodidinho, if you didn’t already know, is an amazing pie, known as a ‘hidden’ pie in Portuguese. Ours was ‘hiding’ a delicious blend of dried beef and pumpkin and I highly recommend it.

(My dear Brazilian friend and I also lounged about by Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas in the afternoon and watched yet another amazing sunset at Praia do Arpoador.)

Finally, I spent my last night drinking caipirinhas and dancing with the world at Rio Scenarium, which The Guardian once claimed as one of the world’s Top 10 bars and mentioned me personally…

Gah! There you go. I feel like tourist information. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Warning. They don't stop at red lights in Rio...


  1. Gerardo Alferez

    Hello Girl, reading this I´m still a bit dissapointed that you did not take the chance-invitation to come to MOMPOS because it did not allow me and others to read your opinion about this tiny but magical place. I hope that some day you will do.

    Regards; Gerardo

  2. bananaskinflipflops

    Don’t worry Gerardo, I am safely back in Colombia now – and while I need a few months, at least, for the dust to settle in Bogota I hope to continue with all of the places I want to visit in Colombia, including Mompox! It will be lovely to see you all there and hopefully I’ll be able to persuade a few friends to make the trip with me 🙂

  3. Paul Breaks

    Not that keen on “proper” travel blogs and “travel writing” in general really-it’s sort of like “Wish you were here” in extended format. Why would anyone want the experience ruined?-stick with your more humanistic, cognitive style, it’s far more interesting! I want to know how you felt when you went to the favelas, not the price of a beef steak in a restaurant! Did you go to the Maracana though?!

  4. Andrew ham

    Haha, I actually am aware you climbed a mountain in Venezuela because I did it with you, by the way, regardless of how much ‘travel stuff’ is in your blog I still find it fascinating and have been catching up on your tales every now and then since that week we spent hiking and sleeping in a tent up to roraima.

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