From Ilha Grande to Paraty and back to Rio

We’ve just taken off on a flight out of Rio, on our way to Brasilia, with fabulous views over Sugarloaf and the many bays and islands of the city. It’s exactly 4 weeks since we arrived in Rio and began our family gap year! The time has flown!

Copacabana beach, Sugarloaf to the right of the wing and Christ the Redeemer sits atop the peak on the right of the pic with his head in the clouds!

We didn’t expect to stay in Rio de Janeiro state for a month. To be truthful, (and to the horror of many of our friends) we didn’t have much planned for Brazil at all


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

I saw this and thought of you…

Zoe with heart

My heart is with you

The Adventure Begins

Ready at Heathrow, we think…

We made it. The last 3 weeks have been truly manic but I’m sitting on flight BA249 to Rio with everything we need for a family gap year:

  • My family
  • Passports
  • Several credit and cash cards
  • A pin cushion of vaccinations
  • A sense of adventure

Rest assured we have a few other bits and pieces in our rucksacks but these are conveniences as you don’t want to buy new socks or toothbrushes each day, you wouldn’t get much else done.

4 hours to we land and More

Emergency Bed

Not being the sort of organised parents that have their darlings tucked in bed nice and early (or fed) we went out to dinner. Lara managed her fish and chips but didn’t make it to pudding (lucky Ben).

Lara asleep on the floor in Browns

When a girl just has to sleep

Should prove a useful skill on our family gap year! Talking of which we still only have flights to Rio in just over one month time although Mo has found some apartments near Ipanema which look lovely, if not there is always the airport floor.

Birthday Countdown

Zoe at Browns RestaurantI went out for a treat tonight with my Mum to Browns restaurant in Brighton and we decided to do a blog post while we waited for my ice cream to arrive. More

We’re booked!

Cristo Redentor, statue on Corcovado mountain ...

So whilst my lovely workaholic hubby was blogging away earlier tonight, I was getting our 3 children to bed! But oh, he of little faith! Who needs to wait till tomorrow? I successfully booked our first flight using Avios miles and Amex BA companion vouchers – yes, we actually found availability! Thank you BA and thank you Amex! We’re headed to Rio de Janeiro on 11th July 2012! YAY!!! More

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