Monday, April 21, 2014

Uruguay, Colonia Valdense

Sunset in Colonia Valdense

herb carcarja

The moon rising during the sunrise

Full moon rising

From Curibita I took an overnight bus to Porto Alegre where I stayed the night at Rock N Roll (around 15$) hostel which was more like an apartment but very close to the bus station, then the next day I took a night bus to Montevideo. It was such an easy border crossing, I handed my passport to the person at the ticket counter and then the next morning before we arrived at the bus station I got my passport back.  It was also a nice surprise that they served us a snack on the bus for both dinner and breakfast, it wasnt very big but non of the buses in Brasil had done that so I was surprised.

From the bus station in Montevideo I couldnt get money from the ATM machines in the terminal as well as the European couple that I took the bus with were also not able to withrdaw, so I went outside and across the street was a money change place where inside they had an ATM I could use.   I then took the two hour journey to Colonia Valdense where I did a work exchange. It cost around 179 with both the companiesTuril or Cot.  and took around 2 hours.  It was a really nice small town where you could get lots of fresh local products like cheese and wine.
 I also went to Colonia for a free jazz concert in a theatre.
Now I am back in Montevideo the capital where I took a city bus from the bus station for 15pesos to my hostel.  The hostel called Caballo Loco is 400Pesos or 18USD and is pretty nice though the room is kinda smelly/stuffy as I find rooms tend to get when people are in them sleeping all day. 

Monday, April 7, 2014


Barigui Park

Barigui Park

Barigui Park

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Lots of caterpillars

Oscar Niemeyer Museum (closed on Mondays)

View from Tangua Park

View from Tangua Park
The round bus stops, very modern

Rio to Curitiba - I arrived in Curitiba yesterday after a 12 hour night bus.  The bus left at 8:15PM and arrived at 8:30.  It cost around 157R.

A very nice modern city. Walked around quite a few of the free parks including the Botanical Gardens. 

I stayed at Curitiba Backpackers Hostel for $35R. Nice place with friendly staff.

Curibita to Porto Alegre
Penha bus company was around 113R. It left at 10pm and they said I would arrive at 10AM the next morning but actually I arrived at 11:30. I am not sure if the other company would have been quicker but we made stops through the entire night which was annoying cause people all get up and start talking really loud and shouting to each other and making calls instead of quietly getting on and off.  They also make 20 or 30 minute rest stops at the different stations so lots of people get off and on.  All the other buses I have been on have made very few stops if any so I could sleep the who night pretty much without much disturbance.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Rio Day 3

The workers working hard to repair the tram before the wold cup

View of Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastion in the city center, the building on the right upper corner was voted one of the 10 most ugly buildings in the world

View of Pao do Acucar from Santa Teresa
Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastion

Inside the Metropolitan Church of Saint Sebastian

Pao de Acucar from Christ the Redeemer

Day 3
To get to Santa Teresa was a little challenging as most people did not seem to know which bus went there but everyone kept saying how they hope that the tram that went to Santa Teresa would be fixed before the World Cup which starts in June, as in two months from now.  Well when we get to Santa Teresa the first thing we see is all the guys working on repairing the tram taking their siesta on the sidewalk.  Walked around Santa Teresa neighborhood then went to Charcara do Ceu museum for a view of Rio and Pao do Acucar. 

Then went to take the van up to Corcovado (hunchback) and Christ the Redeemer statue.  The van was 20R and 22R entrance fee so 48R.  The tram was 50R but on the van they stopped at a view point along the way. They told me at the bottom that I shouldnt go cause the view is terrible and I should wait another day and that the next tram would not leave for an hour so I decided on the bus since the skies at that moment were blue and the van would leave in 10 minutes. The view was beautiful and constantly changing as the clouds moved in and out of view.  I am glad I went cause I stayed for a couple of hours cause the scenery kept changing.  All the pictures are basically the view from the statue.    Its too bad that we had no view from the top of Sugar Loaf (pao do acucar) especially when it was so expensive.  I told them they should give a discount to go a second day cause many people would go back a second time and they could make more money but they just laughed at me.

Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema beach

Pedro do Arpoador

Christ the Redeemer statue as the clouds are rolling in

Copacabana - tons of fishermen are here with stand up paddleboarders and the city in the background

famous painted tile steps by Selaron

Other side of lake on the gondola

Not much of a view

Finally a small clearing on the way down

view of Pao do Azucar

the ride to the bottom was nice

we arrived at the bottom as it was getting dark

Wow!  Rio is really beautiful.  The city with the green of the trees is so beautiful. Its sad that the crime is so high and that the dramatic difference between the rich and the poor cant somehow help each other to bring the poor to a higher standard of living.

Samba Palace Hostel
In what appears to be a somewhat more residential area but close to the touristy areas.  Nice and quiet and only 25R a night for dorm room with breakfast.   Nice staff and a grocery close by.

My first day here I walked around Ipanema and Copacabana beaches.

I took the night bus from Ouro Preto to Rio for 108R. It left at 10PM and I walked with a group of University students to the bus station who said its safe to walk at night and its only a half mile albeit a bit uphill. I arrived in Rio at 4:30AM so I took a taxi. They had 4 official taxi companies so I went to the most crowded and it cost me 25R to Laranjeiras.  

Day 2
Free walking tour ( The tour was good and lasted about 3 hours.  A group of us went to Pao do Azucar after but it wasnt worth it.  It 62R and there was no view at the top.  We stopped to wait but on the way down the clouds parted for a moment and we saw a small view.