Uruguay is worth the trouble to explore

I took the Colonia Express ferry from Buenos Aires for the day, I had heard mixed reviews from people on whether I should go rather than spend an extra day in Buenos Aires but I loved it. Why?

1) the historic core of Colonia del Sacramento is incredibly atmospheric on a sunny day, cobblestones and colours, beautiful tree and gardens. Its October on a Thursday and would definitely say come during the week when its more peaceful. It’s a tourist town but they do it well.

2) Old cars not in Cuba are here in Colonia. They add to the appeal in a subtle way. At the restaurant El Drugstore (which also has great colours) they even have tables inside for a tasty meal.

3) Uruguay left me wanting more… Maybe Colonia was an idealic taste but I’d love to find out and see more. If you can spend a few days and explore Montevideo and some of the coast.

Passion to protest, Pink and Kevin

My first afternoon in Buenos Aires – the city has character like nothing I’ve seen. Plenty discovered and much more to explore….

1) Protests are everywhere – it appears elections are coming but in a couple of hours I discovered
- have spray can, will use it
- plenty of graffiti, slogans and anti political sentiment
- the political posters are fair game for slashing, not just defacing – music and marching go together, and the police follow

2) By daylight pink as the colour for a presidential palace can work and does set things apart. By night however the Vegas or nightclub look might not be what they’re aiming for

3) They call a fancy eau de toilette by the name ‘Kevin’ – why I’m not sure.

Like James Bond – Rio to Iguazu falls

I first saw Moonraker when I was about 10 years old. My first James Bond movie made a big impression – I’ve always wanted to go to Brazil and to space as a result!

First Brazil, following in the footsteps

1) Sugarloaf – a Drax cargo plane (replace with domestic flight every 10 minutes) every hour. The cable car was fun and the views are fantastic. The monkeys were playful too – but no Jaws!

2) Iguazu Falls – I got soaked as I wasn’t equipped with a hang glider to fly on over but actually that was half the fun. Huge falls, countless cascades, awesome power. The walking platform on out to the falls where you could see the drop straigh down and get soaked from spray from the falls directly behind was great.

3) Snake – when the huge boa constricted me I lost grip of the camera, lucky I had my poison tipped pen with me as it would have been the end otherwise- just disappointed I didn’t get some good photos to share besides this one!

Bus discovery, exercise & graffiti

Another day discovering Rio

1) pick a bus, hop on it, explore local life

For the fun of it I sometimes just hop on a random bus going in the general direction I want to go. The benefits to the urban explorer are many – new undiscovered scenery at every turn, often fast paced on the edge driving, up and close to locals going about their everyday – and destination unknown – usually means the locals will have a quick chat to help, suggest somewhere to eat, something to see. Today by the end of the route the ticket collector was asleep and driver ready to do the same.

2) exercise and play on Sunday

I get it now, why nothing in Rio is open until afternoon on a Sunday. It’s to give locals a chance to walk, run, ride, skate, play any number of sports from soccer to volleyball. Families, couples, singles all at the beaches of Leblon, Ipanema or Copacabana walking the foreshore as the main road is closed and people can walk freely. I joined them for the walk – feeling very relaxed, it’s a reminder to do this every week.

3) graffiti in rio is worth a close look (and long rambling walks)

The last couple of days I’ve taken heaps of photos of graffiti and street art around rio. It’s a great window into what people are thinking and local issues – these from the edge of a fevela as it bangs into Copacabana.

Second day in Rio de Janeiro

After the big beautiful views from Corcovado and Sugarloaf (the granite outcrop looked like a big sugar cube to the Portugese – and the name stuck) my exploring today included

1) A ferry ride to Niteroi, which looks back over to Rio. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday so the locals were out playing – volleyball with your feet is the sport of choice to try here.

After a walk along the coast I visited the spaceship looking museum of contemporary art – great for fun camera angles taking in the building and views of Rio across the bay

2) Back in Rio and a quick metro ride to Copacabana. What I discovered is I love an acai berry smoothie. Found in the amazon and supposed to be packed with vitamins it was tasty. The globalised berry is finding it’s was in drinks now around the world.

The next picture shows I didnt need much encouragement to finish as I checked out the famous sands on the beach.

3) Brazilians – big and small, old and young love to dance. I stopped for a drink and dinner at a beachside cafe (yes it’s more expensive and food average) where a band was settling in to kick off Saturday night as the sun was setting. Great to watch the locals enjoying themselves.

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