by Sarah Iverson, Greenheart Travel Teach in a Homestay participant in Brazil
First day in Brazil
Excitement and anticipation was coursing through my body as the wheels of the plane touched down on the grounds of Rio De Janiero. On the way to my new home the streets, the people and the buildings are so different but just as exciting. En route to Petropolis, the winding roads and the view of the rolling green mountains were unforgettable as we climbed altitude.
Petropolis is a city in the mountains within the state of Rio de Janeiro. The German-influenced town has plenty of waterfalls, hikes, as well as museums and places to eat and shop. It was home to the royal family that first settled in Brazil. Just the perfect place to experience the Brazilian life.
I soon arrived at my host family’s home and was welcomed with open arms and a big meal to help me settle in. The hospitality of everyone is so amazing and makes adjusting here that much easier. I visited the Crystal Palace, Catedral São Pedro de Alcântara, Cervejaria Bohemia and I have gone shopping on Rua Teresa (a shopaholic’s paradise). There is still so much to see and do here in this quaint town.
Buzios and Birthdays
My host family and I set off to spend the week in Buzios, a small beach town with warm waters, sea turtles and little shops. This weekend was special because it was the twin’s, Paolo and Agatha’s, birthday! They will be turning 2 years old.
In the morning, and on through the afternoon, we would spend time at the beach and during the evenings we would get together with family and friends and go have dinner.
Some of the Brazilian food that has captured my heart is pastel, salgadinho, caipirinha, and brigadeiros. For breakfast, we would have coffee with bread and cheese and lunch is usually the bigger feast of the day.
On the day of the birthday celebration we decorated the beach house and prepared for all the guest to arrive. We sang happy birthday in Portuguese and in English and ate plenty of food and cake. The theme of the party was zoo animals, which was the perfect idea!
The streets of Rio were full of people dressed in costumes, beach-goers and ambient samba music. That can only mean one thing, it’s time for Carnaval! The summer heat drew everyone to beaches like Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. There is always plenty to do at all hours in Rio.
The sight of Sugarloaf and Christ the Redeemer is amazing and still has me in shock. The city looks just as beautiful during the day as at night with the city lights illuminating the hills and shoreline. While in Rio, we went to Urca to see the ocean view and even got up close to the roaming marmoset monkeys, and then we stayed in Lapa to see the Arco de Lapa and the Escadaria Selarón.
Rio has so much life, it is a fantastic place to travel.