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Day 3 in Rio de Janeiro

Day 3 {Monday} proved to be one of my favorite days in Rio and great memories to boot!

Of course you can’t visit Rio and not take a trip to see the iconic Christ statue. He is visible from almost all areas of Rio, but I still knew that I needed to see him up close & personal (I mean, when in Rome!) There’s a quick, easy, and relatively cheap cable train that you can take to the top of the mountain and find yourself at the statue within 10 to 15 minutes. We on the other hand, chose to hike! Matt, Erin, & I started at the base of the mountain Corcovado in Parque Lage, which truly warrants a visit itself and then began our hike. The hike has a path to follow, but it not the most common way to get to the top. It took us around 2.5 hours to reach the top and we only passed a handful of other hikers, but the city views, jungle scenes, and hike were all so worth it! Did we hike back down…heck no we were exhausted, would I do it again…in a heartbeat!

As we were hiking we had quickly noticed that it was crazy cloudy around the top of the mountain and we kept hoping and praying that the cloud coverage would clear. As we neared the summit we realized we couldn’t be farther from the truth…poor Jesus was almost completely covered in clouds….2 hours of climbing and it looked like he had already ascended into the clouds! We headed back down to a lower platform to grab some lunch when all of a sudden we saw the clouds part….we S.P.R.I.N.T.E.D up the 3 flights of stair….clouds…again. Back down to finish lunch and order a beer; ooh, clouds move again…sprint back up the stairs…clouds…lordy! Back down AGAIN to finish our beers and then we head up for one last peek…hallelujah the clouds parted…not for long, but they did! We got our pictures, visited the chapel, and then made a general consensus that we were taking the train down!

We wound down the evening with dinner, walking around Caitlin’s neighborhood, and crashing early for a well-deserved sleep!

Day 2 in Rio de Janeiro

Day 2 started off with Caitlin and another of her friends {Erin} heading off to breakfast where I had a chicken sandwich and tried my hand at a new juice made from acerola (also known as barbados cherries); it was good, probably not worthy of a repeat, but good nonetheless!

The graffiti in Rio was beautiful!

Post breakfast we multiplied the troops and grabbed a couple of the student teachers and headed out to Lapas for a walk around the area. One of the main attractions of this area of downtown Rio is the famed Escadaria Selaron steps that were built between the years 1990 & 2013 by Jorge Selaron by using tiles from 60+ countries and places in the world. The colors and artwork shown were mesmerizing and so worth the trip if you find yourself in Rio! Walking a couple blocks further from the steps we found the ­­­Rio de Janeiro cathedral which was on my personal “to check out list”! Though the outside of the church was far from impressive {think modern bomb shelter look} the inside was quite unique and the choir practicing was a nice touch as well.

Leaving the cathedral we had every intention of grabbing dinner; but as anyone who has ever traveled knows…things don’t always go as planned! Rio isn’t exactly rated as the safest city on the planet {{ok let’s be honest, it’s got one of the highest crime rates}} and as we were heading to lunch we found ourselves in a *slight altercation* Said altercation meant no lunch for us and we all promptly headed back to Caitlin’s house….for several hours. Life’s got to keep us on our toes!  Maybe…someday…eventually…I’ll make a blog post about it lol…for the meantime, just know we are all alright and just had our guards up a tad bit higher for the rest of our stays!

When our heart rates had finally subsided we ventured out for dinner {{and hello my first official Brazilian açaí berry drink!}} and then wrapped up the evening hanging out and playing cards. Goodnight Rio!

Rio de Janeiro Day 1

April 8, 2017

My good friend Caitlin from college {you might remember when she came to visit me in Taiwan!} has been living and teaching abroad since we graduated from college and I've always been tempted to go visit, but have just never taken the plunge. She's been living the past 3 years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, teaching 4 grade at an international school. Well after informing me that she {for real} was moving back to the states after this school year she really got my wheel spinning. I checked my schools spring break schedule, her availability, plane ticket prices; and the rest, as they say, is history!

Remember my whirl-wind-crazy-fast-mexico-trip....yeah apparently I didn't learn much! I finished school at 3:20 and was in the car headed to the airport by 4:00...talk about dedication! Columbus to D.C. // D.C. to São Paulo // São Paulo to Rio.  12 total hours in the air, but when I landed in Rio Saturday morning {{and my first time south of the equator!}} it was all worth it!

It didn't take long for me to get situated, and by situated I mean Caitlin and I grabbed her friend Matt and went for a walk along the beach along with my first ever caipirinha type of situated! We walked and snacked around (yes I'm making that a verb now!) and got me a little acquainted with the city before we met up with several more foreign teachers from her school and went out to grab dinner. Dinner, drinks, snacks, & laughs and it was time for an early bedtime {{after a long, full day of traveling} and ready for more adventures tomorrow! 

7 Wonders of the World

"In 2007, more than 100 million people voted to declare the New Seven Wonders of the World. The following list of seven winners is presented without ranking, and aims to represent global heritage." - Travel Channel

● Great Wall of China, China ● Christ the Redeemer Statue, Brazil  Machu Picchu, Peru ● Chichen Itza, Mexico ● The Colosseum, Italy ● Taj Majal, India ● Petra, Jordan 

7 Wonders; 7 Continents; 7 lives {ok we can only wish!}; 7 Goals --- {{ I've got this }}

I may not have all 7 wonders in yet, but I'm officially more than 1/2 way there with 4 down and only 3 more to go (we all have goals right?!) and I can't even lie, I'm pretty stinkin' proud of my progress!
(Click each link below to read a little more in detail about each of my encounters)

Colosseum - Rome, Italy - Summer 2010 - 4,698 miles from home

Great Wall of China - Beijing, China - Summer 2016 - 6,729 miles from home

Chichen Itza - Yucatan, Mexico - Spring 2017 - 1,441 miles from home

Christ the Redeemer - Rio, Brazil - Spring 2017 - 5,069 miles from home

Pyramids of Giza {ancient Wonder of the World} - Giza, Egypt - Summer 2010 - 6,019 miles from home

** So help a girl out now...what wonder do you think I should visit next?**

Merida y Mexican Matrimony

If you missed out on the previous few days be sure to check them out here: {Day 3} {Day 2} & {Day 1}

Saturday brought us to our last day in Merida {or my last day as most of my family was staying until Sunday or Monday...JEALOUS!} as well as the real "reason for the season" Sebastian && Rocio's wedding!

The wedding ceremony didn't start until 7pm so we had plenty of time to soak up the sunshine before we had to stop playing tourist and transform into full blown wedding mode. We took advantage of our lazy day and had a later start to our morning and decided to walk through downtown Merida as we had really only seen pieces and parts of it in passing thus far. 

We began by walking down Paseo de Montejo {a main road in town boasting dozens of large colonial style homes that have been renovated into museums, offices, and memorials of the homes and families they once used to be}. Later we grabbed breakfast at an out door market venue that we had passed several times and ran into a couple other people who were in Merida for the wedding, the more the merrier...always! Next stop was downtown {{el Centro}}. After our late breakfast we strolled around town without a real agenda in mind {including forgetting to reapply sunscreen...lovely burns for 1/2 the people at the wedding!} stopping by the Plaza Grande (a large, open plaza boarding the local government building), Santa Lucia Park (a park full of food vendors tucked away in the middle of town), Merida Cathedral (beautiful both inside & out), & Casa Montejo (an old time home restored & set up to mimic the home that it had once been for the local noble family).

Tired, hot, and ready for a nap before the wedding we began to head back to the hotel {{things don't always work out as planned, we hit a detour...ran into my grandma & uncle who were on the hunt for food}}....ok so after our 2nd late lunch of the day we actually headed back to the hotel with just over an hour of time to get ready and change for the big event of the day...wedding time!

---> Shower, wardrobe change, some makeup, & pre-wedding pictures <---

We were ready to hit the road! The ceremony was in a small church in downtown Merida and it was an absolutely beautiful mass for Sebas & Rocio. Afterwards we hopped in a van and drove nearly 30 minutes out of town to a beautiful hacienda {a Mexican ranch} that was the backdrop for their amazing reception. I'll let the picture mostly speak for themselves here but I'll recap some of the night's highlights! Reception ran from 9pm - 6am, delicious food, live band to dance the night away, && family galore...what more could we ask for?!?!

Reception venue hall

My flight out of Merida was scheduled for 7:30am so around 5:30 we said our goodbyes and headed for the airport. It wasn't until I was checked in and through security that I finally was able to stop for 2 minutes and change out of my floor length dress and into some more travel appropriate ware! Live life on the edge a little....until next time Mexico...I love you!