A Travellerspoint blog

Rio de Janiero

Guanabara Bay and the Rio Carnivale

sunny 31 °C
View Argentina, Brazil, South Georgia & Falklands on shaneandnicola's travel map.

Today was a big day. We awoke quite excited as today is our day at the Sambadrome to watch the Carnivale.
But here is the video of the street party.

We had other sightseeing to do this morning though, so we headed down to the marina to take a schooner trip around Guanabara Bay. This bay is the second largest bay in area in Brazil at 412 square kilometres. It is 31 kilometres long and 28 kilometres wide at its maximum. The mouth of the bay is 1.5 kilometres wide. This is how Rio got its name as when the Portuguese arrived they actually thought the opening of this bay was the mouth of a river (Rio) and they found it in January (Janiero). It was a lovely relaxing trip and it was nice to see Rio from the water as it gave you a different perspective. Whilst on the schooner we had a drink called Caipirinha, this is Brazil's national cocktail, made with cachaça which is the fermentation of sugarcane juice that is afterwards distilled. It is served with lemon or lime and is great. We have had quite a few of these since being in Brazil. Whilst on holiday 9.30 in the morning is not too early to have a cocktail is it?
There was no cloud covering Christ the Redeemer this morning and there he was looking over Rio.
We got to see Sugarloaf Mountain.
The city
Flamengo Beach with a favela behind it. A favela is a term for a shanty town.
There is an old fort in the middle of the bay, there were people fishing off it.
President Costa e Silva Bridge, commonly known as the Rio-Niteroi Bridge. It is 14 km long and connects the cities of Rio and the municipality of Niteroi. It is currently the longest prestressed concrete bridge in the southern hemisphere, and the sixth longest in the world.
A beautiful old customs building
On the way back we could see the port with all the cruise ships lined up.
We returned to the hotel for some rest as tonight was going to be a big night. The Carnivale commences at 9pm and runs all night and is held at the Sambadrome. The Sambadrome is the biggest stage on earth during Carnivale as it nightly hosts a parade with over 30,000 people showing off their samba skills to the delight of 80,000 spectators. (This is also going to be used during the Olympics for the Archery and part of the Marathon). There are 12 samba schools from the 'special group' that compete over 2 nights. They each have 65 to 82 minutes to perform and travel along the half a mile runway. Each school has a different theme and each samba school has an average of 4,000 participants. There are judges that judge their performance.
We ensured we got dressed for the occasion.
We arrived at the Sambadrome where thousands of people were taking their seats. There was much excitement.
At the start of every school they were announced with fireworks and then the clock started and off they went. We were in sector 9 so it actually took about 20 minutes before the performance reached us, but when it arrived it was fantastic. I was really surprised as although I knew that there were about 4000 participants per samba school I wasn't prepared for the number of floats and costume changes each school had, it was amazing. You cannot compare the energy and colourful floats to the Sydney Mardi Gras or our Christmas Pageant, it was way out of that league. The atmosphere was electric from start to finish. I don’t think that there are any birds left with feathers they were in almost every costume. Alot of the action took place right in front of us as this is where the judges were stationed.
We took heaps of photos and some video footage. Photos just don’t do it justice as alot of they time they are not standing still, but we will try and give you an idea. The schools that we watched were:
Sao Clemente – their theme was the soap operas that made history on Brazilian television.

Mangueira – their theme honoured the state capital of Mato Grosso.

Beija-Flor – told the story of a breed of Brazilian horses which came from the crossing of breeds during Brazils civilisation.

Grande Rio – focused on the federal law that threatens the distribution of oil royalties to Rio.

Imperatriz – honoured the state of Para in the north of Brazil.
There was so much action that time just flew. We got back to our hotel at 6am. I can’t believe we stayed up all night. We headed straight to bed. We ensured that we set the alarm as we had to leave for the airport at 2.30.
So we farewelled fabulous Rio and arrived in Foz do Iguacu. This is the Brazilian side of the falls. We were however staying on the Argentinian side. So we made our way through the 2 quickest border crossings we have had for a while and made our way back to our jungle lodge the La Aldea de la Salva lodge. It had been an exhausting day.

Posted by shaneandnicola 07:09 Archived in Brazil

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