28 December – 10 January
When I left Europe ten months ago I did not have any plans except for one: celebrating New Year’s in Rio de Janeiro…
My feelings on our arrival here in Rio in the end of the year are very mixed as it will be my final destination in many ways, after such a long trip. While it feels strange on the one hand, I am very excited at the same time: excited to explore one of the most vibrant cities on the planet, excited to experience a tropical and crazy New Year’s and excited to reunite with my friends Narda and Rafael who I met in northern Peru about seven months ago.
Before we do anything else we stuff our stomachs with a huge Brazilian BBQ in the neighbourhood where Narda and Rafael live. Since they are both working during the day, Sami and I take off on our own to explore Rio and its surrounding. As the apartment is located quite far from the center we focus on the less touristy areas first and get to know some pretty neighbourhoods and amazing beaches that are all packed with people around this time of the year. The last day of the year takes it to a different level at one particular beach – the world famous Copacabana. Together with 3 Million people, all dressed in white or not wearing anything, we make our way to this strip of sand that turns into one massive party this day. Temperatures are hot, Caipirinhas are cold, people are in a good mood and the air is filled with tropical Samba beats. We spend hours drinking, dancing, partying and enjoying this crazy atmosphere, counting down to 2017. When the clock hits midnight we get to witness a magical show of fireworks before falling asleep on the sand in the early morning.
A few days later we have another reason to celebrate – Narda’s bithday. After a birthday dinner at their place we head into town – to a neighbourhood where things get absolutely crazy at night, especially on weekends: Lapa, a mix of historic buildings, bohemian art, street-food and -drinks, vibrant bars, live music and a very colourful mix of people of all kinds. It very much reminds me of Khao San Road in Bangkok. We stay until the early morning, soak it all in and all agree that it has been a very fun night.