Partially because I finally saw the sun, these were some of my favorite days in Rio. We walked through the colorfully grungy streets of Lapa and into Santa Teresa, a bohemian neighborhood that I absolutely fell in love with. A haven for artists, the winding streets not too long ago featured a streetcar which I'm told was "held together by paperclips." Sweeping views, charming homes, and abundant street art. Absolutely wonderful. From there we made our way to Sugarloaf for a cable car ride to the top of the mountain at sunset.
After he promised that there would be monkeys, Jose and I also spent a day roaming the Botanical Gardens, checking out some of the craziest looking flowers I've ever seen. To my disappointment, a guide explained that the monkeys go back to the mountains in the afternoon, but he was very excited to show us a squirrel (apparently they're rare in Brazil). A short walk took us to Parque Lage, an old mansion-turned-art-school and the set for Ludacris and Pharrell's "Beautiful" video. For dinner, we took a recommendation from Anthony Bourdain and went to Bar Urca. Sitting along the edge of the water with 150 other people, we were blown away by how overwhelmingly perfect some cheap beer and a plate of fried provolone could be. Apparently Tony knows what he's talking about.
Oh, and one of those nights, we broke the law helping Jose put up some street art of his own and celebrated by drinking and playing on the beach. Actually, many nights of the trip involved a combination of drinking and playing on the beach.