Lara does Ilha Grande

Dad, Ben and Zoe have just left for an ambitious 2.5 hour hike across the island. It’s a chance for Mum and Lara to do a blog and have some quality time! We begin with a small bribe!

Mum : Lara come and do an interview with me and then we’ll have some chocolate!!

Lara and Abraao bay view

Just chilling!

Lara : Ok Mum, come on sit down! Are we going to have MY chocolate?

Mum : Yes, after we’re done! Do you know where Ben and Zoe have gone with Dad?

Lara : they’ve gone! ….. More

Jungle Survival Training

Ben and Ant

Ant hunter

Update – Video added at end.

Keeping Ben, Zoe and Lara alive, fit and healthy is our top priority. As kids they are inquisitive, independent and prone to getting distracted by anything that looks fun or interesting. Within minutes of our arrival on Ilha Grande Ben had caught the biggest ant you never wanted to see. I am pretty sure Ben hasn’t been bitten by ants as he was super confident. I then imagined him playing with a local spider which may not be as harmless as our homegrown Daddy Long Legs More

Introducing Dad’s World School

Ben and Zoe playing cards

Zoe is all in!

Schools out but rather than 7 weeks we have 60 weeks on our family gap year so a bit of home schooling is going to be needed. So far Mo has made the running and talked to all the teachers at school, grabbed syllabuses, work books and been carrying them! I have volunteered to do Maths as English and languages are not something I am particularly good at, apparently lawyers use more punctuation than I do?

Teaching is More

Rio de Janeiro to Ihla Grande

We are on the island of Ihla Grande about 2 hours bus ride and an hour ferry West from Rio. A big and welcome change in scene from a bustling metropolis to an unspoilt island population 6100. Our 2nd apartment in Rio was in Copacabana about 10 minutes from the beach and surrounded on 3 sides by favelas (extremely poor and often dangerous districts) just a couple of blocks away. I am not sure if the constant police car presence on the corner of the small park outside our door was reassuring or a warning?

Ihla Grande Beach View

Our view on Ihla Grande


Zoe’s Photo Diary – Part 1

This is the first part of our adventure. Being at the airport. The plane journey was 11 hours and 5 minutes, it felt like a whole day actually.

Zoe with our rucksacks at Heathrow

I love my rucksack!

We can see Christ Redeemer from our apartment. More

Family Gap Year – 1 Week In

Family looking over Ipanema Beach

Ipanema beach, not a place to get a passer by to take your photo!

A lie in today, I woke at 7am, not the 5-6am we have been used to as our bodies adjust to the 4 hour time difference. Only Zoe is up as well, busy colouring so it is lovely and quiet, perfect to reflect on our first week before we leave the excellent WiFi in our apartment.

With kids everything takes longer and we have been concious not to rush between tourist sights and cram too much in. The thought crosses my mind that after our hectic lives in the UK we are ‘slow cooking’ our travels to extract maximum flavour, but that is probably a tummy rumbling hint that I need to go to the supermarket and buy fresh bread for breakfast.

I am going to cover ‘safety’ in another post but so far we have taken plenty of sensible precautions and not had any problems, even the taxi’s have their meters turned on, if not their headlights (it saves fuel!?!!). More

Spot the real fly and other important questions?

Day 6 in Rio and our last night in our apartment and my first blog post in Brazil. When I was on the plane I took a few pictures like this one when we were just on the equator. Did you know the water in the Southern Hemisphere goes down the plug hole clockwise? Which way does it go at the equator? Please put your answers in the comments.

photo of plane location

Crossing the Equator

Guess what I am drinking on Ipanema beach? More

Lara Interviews…

Mum did an interview with me just before we left England and then again this morning about our first days in Rio.

Lara in taxi to Heathrow

En route to Heathrow

Here they are:

Tuesday 9th July 8pm

Mum : Do you know what’s happening tomorrow?

Lara : don’t know!

Mum : what do you think is happening?

Lara : going in a taxi ……. to the airport then we’re going on an aeroplane to Spain!

Mum and Zoe burst out laughing More

Heading to the Amazon

We’re sitting in Salvador airport at gate 2, waiting for the first of our 3 through-the-night flights. We’ve travelled from Morro do Sao Paulo, quiet car-free, palm trees and sandy beaches back to civilization today by boat-car-ferry and taxi (which was 90 minutes through fume filled rush hour Salvador) and tomorrow morning we’ll be in Belem at the mouth of the Amazon ready to board our boat and travel nearly 2000km up river to Manaus in the next 5 days.

Mum and the girls will have a cabin. Dad and I will be on deck in hammocks. We will probably swap around. We’re not expecting any WiFi or phone signal!!

Everyone back home will be starting back at school next week. We’ll miss seeing them. Mum & Dad say we’ll be starting ‘world school’ along the river!

When we’re in Manaus we’ll have WiFi again and tell you all about the journey!

This is me in Morro in the little funicular going up to the lovely pool at our hotel!


Day 3 in Rio

Three days in Rio and we’re starting to feel almost settled in! Partly thanks to Alvaro, our host who kindly took us around yesterday visiting the lagoon and the botanical gardens, taught us some very basic essential Portuguese and gave us some good tips for visiting around Rio and beyond. Today was cloudy but we made a lovely trip via the two cable cars that take you to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain which sits amidst beautiful sandy bays and offers the most astounding views of the city!

It was a crazy few weeks packing up, moving out and saying good byes ……..

Visiting Great Grandma


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