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!?!!). As so often is the case it is the fear of the unknown that is worse than reality.

One thing we quickly discovered was that Rio is not cheap. The £70/night we are spending on our apartment in Leblon is a lucky find. Apparently the average hotel room rate is £192/night and the most expensive in the world thanks to BRIC status and an oil boom. Eating out is equally steep even in a ‘Kilo’ restaurant. In ‘Kilos’ they weigh your food and your pay about £2/100g, a great incentive for the restaurant to make your food as tasty as possible so you go back for more, not good if you want to sell lots of rice or potatoes. We managed to spend Rl153 (£50) on what was meant to be a light lunch snack, personally I think it was all down to Zoe’s Brownie.

Zoe eating a brownie in a Kilo restaurant

Chocolate + Girl = Happiness

Mo started writing down what we had spent so far but my inner geek took over and last night I made a spreadsheet up to add up what we are spending and keep track of our transactions so we can recognise any fraud (South America has a bit of a reputation as I was reminded by 2 of the banks that I rang to tell them I was going in the hope they would not automatically block my cards). It will be pretty quick to add to each day/week, be a diary of many of the places we went to, ate at etc. and provide an interesting breakdown of how much per day our trip cost or we spent on food etc.

Zoe holding money

Daddy is this on the spreadsheet?

417 Sleeps!

The spreadsheet shows that we are 7 days into our 418 days. Even for me 417 sleeps is a lot to contemplate and shows why we have to avoid ‘holiday’ mode for both our sanity and bank balance.

My most important aim for our travels was to spend real quality time with Ben, Zoe and Lara and there have already been many magical moments with each of them. I am looking forward to the remaining 411 days! Did I just say 411 days?

Sugar Loaf Mountain

You can’t visit Rio without sampling the beaches and taking a trip up to see Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain. We took a Rl25 (£8) cab to Corcovado to get the small train up the ‘hunchback’ mountain to see Christ the Redeemer but were effectively turned away by a helpful English speaking queue assistant as it was shrouded in cloud. If you do visit just ignore the green shirted ‘guides’ that badger you at the entrance as they want to sell you a road trip up instead.

Another quick cab ride (Rl25) took us to Sugar Loaf Mountain as this is lower and was out of the clouds. At Rl53/head and half price for the kids it was priced for tourists of which there were plenty. This was low season so it must get crazy in the summer. The views were great and the kids loved it.

Abseilers on side of Sugar Loaf Mountain

Half way up

Family at night with Ipanema beach in background

MMBZL with Ipanema Beach

Rio at Night

We don’t recommend the ice cream though:

Nasty ice cream with added sweets. Also rejected by Ben and Zoe!

Lara went for a safer option but she also wasn’t sure:

Lara looking at an ice cream in a funny way

What is Lara thinking?

If you are a James Bond fan the cable cars on Sugar Loaf starred in Moonraker and were where Jaws saw his demise. To relive the moment here is the clip on YouTube:

3 more nights in Rio and then where to next…

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. percykins111
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:19:26

    I like the picture of Lara eating the ice cream
    Have a great holiday


  2. Bill Cook
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 17:00:11

    Zoe, did you really eat all of that?


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