Restaurant: Lapamaki

We read that Brazil is supposed to have a lot of good sushi restaurants, and after a day in the sun on Ipanema which left Linn a little red here and there and me red as a stoplight we thought that we deserved some really good sushi.

We were gonna post something about Lapamaki on Rua Riachuelo 67 a few days ago, but forgot the memory card in the computer. Today we brought both camera and memory card! Lapamaki is a very popular place because of its great sushi and not too bloody prices, but it is easy to book a table online at their website www.lapamaki.com.br, which we did.

After spending some time convincing our waiter that we wanted to have some salmon with teriyaki sauce as a first course and then a large combo as a main course we felt happy to soon receive a real treat!

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Sooner rather than later we were served a small plate with two tuna tartars. Hmm, did we order the wrong thing? No! “On the house” was the comment from the chef! These were delicious, but raises the question how we are supposed to finish the rest of our order…

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After the small appetizer arrives our first course, salmon lightly roasted with a propane torch, topped with some spring onion and sesame seeds and served in a dab of teriyaki sauce. It is as tasty as it is beautiful! The price for this course was about €7

 

 

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Okay, so we are 6 rather large sushi-pieces in to the meal each. And then this boat, or maybe cruiser, of sushi arrives. 36 pieces of assorted sushi, from the roasted salmon skin in the corner to the tuna and salmon sashimi in the other end.

This part of the meal was as excellent as the ones before, and the best thing about it is that it never seems to end, and this is the smallest of their combos! Linn gave up after a while, but I managed to cover for her and we left no piece behind. The price of the combo is about €16.

All in all, Lapamaki is a place to recommend, the food is great and the prices are on par with what you get as far as we are concerned. Be sure to book a table in advance!

Lazy beach day

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Great (lazy) day on Ipanema today.

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We rented two beach chairs and bought some drinks of a vendor. You will find a number of them on the beach selling everything you need (and things you don’t need).

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A vendor selling bikinis from a lager collection than I’ve seen in Sweden for 6€. Score. And I didn’t need to move from my chair.
In retrospective we should have bought some sunblock (we have three excellent from ACO that we left in the apartment). I feel a bit sorry for Jon this evening.

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To cheer him up we went to the excellent sushi place once again. 48 pieces later we ended this good lazy day.

Restaurant: Talento do Trigo

Today we went out on yet another search for lunch, the target was a good comida a quilo, a buffet which charges by the kilo. Some quick searches on the web let us know that a place called Talento do Trigo is located just four blocks away from where we stay. The restaurant is at Rua do Ubaldino do Amaral 92. It also has good reviews on some obscure Brazilian website!

So, what was it like?

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This picture which sadly isnt as sharp as the food it depicts, shows one third of the buffet. You find anything from feta cheese salad to an assortment of cakes to sushi. And dont forget the churrasco, the barbecue! Our journey through the buffet started with one plate each of sushi, the size of a large appetizier, this cost us about €2 each. The sushi was good, but it is still buffet-sushi.

Our second plate was more intense, mine consisted mostly of different kinds of potato and some rocket salad. Then I went up to the guy manning the grills, he brought forward different meat skewers and asked me things in Portuguese. I stood there looking stupid. We finally agreed that filet mignon is a good choice. He removed some from the skewer, cut it into smaller pieces, fried it with some garlic and laid it on my plate.

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The whole buffet felt very fresh and the different things were cooked well. The fact that you easily can get three courses out of the buffet and all will be very tasty is another positive thing.

The food was very good. The meat especially! We were very happy finally finding a good buffet here in Rio de Janeio. The lunch totaled €13 for two persons including a can of coke each, not bad considering the extraordinary quality.

Cristo Redentor

It’s warm but not so sunny here the last couple of days (Jon edit: the last week) so we decided to visit one of the seven wonders. The only problem was that Jon is a little afraid of heights and the statue is 700m above the sea. After a deliberation with himself we took the bus to the wonder.

After one hour of waiting for the train to the top, spent at Bob’s burger, we could finally get on and begin our trip up to Cristo.

IMG_4525trin Jon was a little quiet on the way (he told me later that he was thinking about the best way to escape if the train would break).

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An amazing view from the top. This was great because you would not get your money back if you got up there and didn’t see a thing. We where more than satisfied with this view.

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And here we go. No selfie-stick needed.

After a while we had around 1000 pictures of the statue, the view and a little souvenir. Jon had noticed that the train was made in Switzerland and was a bit calmer.

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I was a bit skeptical to go (overrated and something like Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower) but it was more than worth €10. So if you go to Rio this is in fact a “must-see”.

The same evening we had one of our best meals so far. A sushi place in the neighborhood but more about that later. (Yes, we took the camera but left the memory card in the computer).

Escadaria Selarón and Bonde de Santa Teresa

We are staying in Rio in an apartment that we found on airbnb on Rua Costa Bastos which is right inbetween the old neighborhoods of Santa Teresa that cover the mountainside, Centro which is the downtown finance districs and finally Lapa which is known for its many clubs.

One day we decided to take a walk from Lapa up to Santa Teresa, and what better way to do this than by the beautiful stairs of Escadaria Selarón. This is a staircase that has been created by local artist Jorge Selarón who began repairing the stairs with colorful tiles and eventually covered it all in tiles from all over the world.

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This place of course attracts hoards of tourists and the ubiquitous vendors selling mixed junk to the tourists. Even so it is rather enjoyable to walk up the beautiful stairs and take in the view.

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Some of the more political pictures in the work reminds me of street art, which the whole staircase more or less can be said to be.

When we reached the top of the stairs we took a minute to rest before continuing on upwards to find a place where the Bonde stops. Being both clever and lazy we took a shortcut down a small alley staircase and found a sign that said the tram would stop there.

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Confirming our cleverness the tram did stop there to pick up passengers, but the fact that it is more or less only a tourist attraction makes sure it is always very tightly packed. It stopped and let us know that there is one seat left, we both didnt want to part and leave the other one at the stop so we passed on that offer. Hmm, not so clever after all. We now had to walk all the way up the tracks to catch the next tram.

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It was quite far, but we did catch the one after the next! Below is a view from the bridge over Lapa which the tram passes, the big pyramid is actually Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião.

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90-day limit on brazilian visa

Being swedish (but this applies to many other countries as well, read more here), we are eligible for a visa-on-arrival when flying in to Brazil. This visa is valid for at most 90 days out of a period of 180 days. We booked flight tickets to and from Rio de Janeiro with 144 days between arrival and departure. As can be seen on our travel plan we will not be staying in Brazil for the whole duration but intend to more or less explore a large part of south america during this time. We plan on traveling by bus and not fly anything between the beginning and end of the journey.

As we dont like to come to the immigration office without knowing what rules apply and not we searched the web. This gave a very mixed result. The main concern seems to be that leaving Brazil by bus is not a legit explanation that you will not overstay your visa. Some people told stories about not being able to board because the airline could not verify that they would leave Brazil between the arrival and departure. Some made fake e-tickets to prove that they would fly out of Brazil and into Argentina for example, as flight tickets are supposed to be accepted as proof that they will indeed leave the country. A third person bought flight tickets that they did not use.

Reading all this (the day before departure at 9 in the evening), we concluded that we will buy flight tickets from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires and not use them. Said and done, we were now out €150 each.

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Continuing on to our experience of what happened. We flew from Stockholm, Arlanda to London, Heathrow and then on to Rio de Janeiro, Galeao. When checking in and boarding at Arlanda, we were never asked about anything besides our boarding pass (which we hade printed at home) and our passports. After we arrived at Heathrow I thought that this is it: now I need to be prepared to explain myself that I do not plan to stay in Brazil forever. Nothing. The lady at the transfer desk took my boarding pass, scanned it, and let me through.

Okay, so we bought tickets we wont use, and not a single person wants to see them. On the almost 11 hour long flight we had good time to think about what the immigration in Rio might be like. We got our immigration cards and filled them in, nothing out of the ordinary there.

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Arriving in Rio and walking through immigration also turned out to be a rather simple process. We didnt even have to walk through it, you could walk around it, like everyone who didnt need a visa did. The person that you met there didnt care much for your documents: they scanned your passport and stamped it together with the immigration card.

The conclusion is that British Airways and the Brazilian immigration police were not interested in seeing any proof that we are in fact going to leave Brazil during out trip. We bought tickets that are now worthless, but on the other hand saved us from having to worry about this during the flights.

Jardim Botânico

We went home early after a good street-food dinner out on saturday night. A bit tired from the day before and a lot of walking during the day (thank you mum for the running shoes, Converse is not to be recommended). Jon fell asleep and I watched the FIS worldcup opening (yey- it worked outside of Sweden!).

After a good nights sleep and a lunch nearby we took the bus for todays goal – Jardim Botânico. A confusing thing about the busses here – they all have numbers and an end destination visible (so far, so good) but all the stations between are not specified. We went a little bit too far but it was totally worth it when we found it.

IMG_4495web At the entrance. The palms are over 200 years old.

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Thematic gardens in the park. Our favorite was the one with cacti (I guess the desert would be more of the right name). Compare to the Amazonas part it is no risk for dengue or malaria fever either. Hehe.

 

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We ended the visit the same way we started: with some questions about the bus.

Farmers market in Santa Teresa/Centro

A bit hungover from the day before (we found a club with free beer!) we set out to make something of the day a short moment after lunchtime. Linn remembered that our airbnb host had written about a farmers market right outside our building that was held on saturdays. It only took us a few moments to find it on Rua Tadeau Kosciusco and continuing on to Rua Carlos Sampaio.

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The market was, as is most things here in Rio, full of people! There was an amazing selection of fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, everything seemingly very fresh, although one wonders how long the meat stays that way in the heat!

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Just walking up and down the market was a great experience, all the vendors approach you with free samples. If you look a bit confused and point at a fruit you can be sure that someone will be there soon to cut a piece to serve you, hoping that you will buy something.

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We bought some strange fruits that were really delicious, and a too large bag of strawberries, owing to our lacking portuguese skills, we wanted the strawberries, but not that many!