A dream was about to come true. Rio de Janeiro. Beautiful city of Caipirinhas, Samba, Carneval, Copacabana, Maracana, Sugarloaf Mountain, also of favelas, crime, street kids. The elder Breadbaskets were truly looking forward to getting there. The last day in Quito was really just an extended wait. The overnight flight via Lima to São Paulo and then from there with the equivalent of Easy Jet to Rio was a drag – but eventually we had arrived.

Exhausted family members at the Copacabana
After an overnight flight from Quito via Lima to Sao Paulo we took a domestic flight to Rio. Understandably, the Breadbaskets weren’t at their best when they sat down the first time on Copacabana Beach.

Despite being a tad tired it felt great to be there. I was surprised, though, how cold 20-26° Celsius felt. We rented bikes and cycled from Copacabana to Ipanema beach – the road side thermometer showed 26° and we all felt cold, really cold. But exciting it was. We were incredibly lucky and had a great flat at Copacabana Beach (strictly speaking it was Leme beach, which is the more quiet, North Eastern, part of the beach) – found on Airbnb at pre-Olympic prices. Three bedrooms and a huge balcony overlooking the beach was a nice change to the family rooms we shared on Ecuador (family room seems to be a euphemism for “standard room with too many beds”) – it was fantastic.

Copacabana from top
Copacabana beach is a dream – smack in the center of Rio. And despite the winter chill at 22°C the footballers, beach volleyballers and body builders were out there having fun.

Rio has got a lot going for it: first – it’s beautiful. Second – a lot of the inhabitants (they refer to themselves as Cariocas) are super nice: easy going, communicative, fun. Other inhabitants seem less nice; however, we didn’t come across any of those. We stayed away from visits to favelas – I guess the inhabitants of Munich’s Hasenbergl (whether it’s reputation these days is deserved or not is irrelevant; I could also use Berlin’s Wedding or Hamburg’s Rahlstedt) wouldn’t be too pleased about busloads of tourists coming out to have a look at them and I guess the guys in the favelas feel the same.

Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer. Since the weather was rather wintery it wasn’t too crowded up there. The Swedish part of the family felt good about knowing that the cement for the statue came from Limhamn, Malmö, Sweden.

I had a few experiences in my life where getting to an attraction was a bit of a disappointment – it felt like making a tick in a box and not like something really exciting. Not so Rio: Copacabana, Ipanema, Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain – all full successes. Rio is truly beautiful. Largely thanks to its superb geographical situation – the architects, certainly the ones that were responsible for the buildings along the beaches, did their best to neutralise the location advantage. They probably thought: why adding beauty to beauty – let’s have a crack at letting it appear boring.

Sugarloaf Mountain seen from Corcovado
Sugarloaf Mountain as Jesus sees it. With that view there’s no way the guy is going to ascend anywhere else.

Unfortunately we will be missing the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio – I am sure it will be an unforgettable event for the athletes, certainly the beach volleyballers, who will fight for gold at the Copacabana.

Olympic Volleyball pitch at the Copacabana
Copacabana Beach being prepared for the Olympic Games 2016: must be great for the beach volleyballers to go for gold at the Copa…

So, Rio does it for me (and for the rest of the Breadbaskets – playing football and volleyball on the beaches certainly excited Max, Molly was happy to play in the sand and sipping Caipis at Ipanema was up Anna’s street).

Stunning selection of Bavarian beers in Rio
Rio’s got it all. Even cure for bad cases of homesickness. Since I have not been affected, I’ve kept to the Caipirinhas.

Uh, and one more thing: it seems that the Brazilians hold no grudges:

No grudges held at the Copacabana
Looking at this painting at a wall at the end of the Copacabana I guess the Brazilians came to terms with the World Cup ’14. Probably helped that the Argentinians didn’t get the Cup.

And, finally, I am always surprised when I have to realise how conservative (is that an euphemism for backward?) my home area is – the majority of changing tables there are still in the ladies’ facilities – whereas, at least, this shopping mall in Rio offers these restrooms labelled “Family”:

Family facilities in a mall in Rio
Excellent family facilities at the Rio Sul shopping mal. The toilet in front is a version for the little ones – ideally sized for a 3 year old. Exemplary.