We were happy to come back to Rio for a week before ending the trip. It was a bit of a necessity so Mike could drive the car down to Montevideo to sell it. But before he left we had a couple of days to explore more of Rio as a family.
Last time we stayed in Copacabana near the beach which was fun. This time we are in a totally different area of the city- Santa Teresa- a historic neighborhood, perched on a hill, complete with a winding labyrinth of cobblestone streets and great architecture and street art. We found an interesting Airbnb with a pool and two bedrooms each with a loft. It has no indoor living/ dining area but there is a covered outdoor kitchen which has worked just fine with us, except the occasional mosquitos. Pool is on the cool side but kids have been in it every day regardless.
Our first full day back we took off school for Memorial Day. We spent the morning emptying the car. Oh my the amount of garbage (literal and figurative) we have collected!!! We did a first round of organizing and purging but we will likely need another one.
In the afternoon we went to Florista de Tijuca- a big jungle park in the middle of the city (contains lots of huge peaks including Corcovado, where the giant Jesus stands). We drove around a circuit and stopped at a couple of points for to see the visitors center and go on a small hike. We were hoping to see some big butterflies but no luck. We did find a nice little playground and 2 lovely waterfalls. Kids did reasonably well on the hike.
After we came back to our house, we wandered the neighborhood and found a nice little place for dinner.
The next day we were back to school and work in the morning. Then Mike went to get the car washed… I didn’t think it could ever look quite so clean again. In the afternoon we went to another cool park- Parque Lage. Mike didn’t join us because he was on a failed mission to collect the car deposit from Western Union, but the girls and I had a blast. There was an amazing old building we checked out. Then we went hiking around the grounds and found lots of treasures. First were some cool caves. Then we saw these little marmosets (like mini monkeys with long tails) hopping through the trees. After walking up to a pond, we saw bigger monkeys farther up the hill and in the trees. That seemed exciting enough but later we were waiting around in the courtyard below the building for Mike to pick us up, and there were 2 monkeys we got to see super up close! Almost too up close in fact. One was basically about to pounce on a neighboring guy to get his snack. Then he just walked around the square and the girls wanted to go right up to him. I kept them back a safe distance but it was a pretty cool experience for all of us. There was a second monkey just chilling in the trees, so we got to see lots of that one too. All in all a huge success and super fun day!
Monkey #2 in the tree. Loved watching him!