Now we are back in Europe after our wonderful holiday in Brazil, here are the things that I think I will miss about Rio de Janeiro.  In no particular order.

  • The dos hermanos, granite swallowtails stencilled against sunset.
  • Guarda sols like flower stalks carpeting the beach.
  • The street market atmosphere on Ipanema, a constant energy of chatter and sellers calling out their wares.
  • Beach food: “Matte Leão”, salgado Globo biscuits, water, beer, kibbe, flatbread, grilled cheeses and the luscious cool sweetness of agua de coca, freshly opened.
  • Kibbe sellers in their ridiculous full length outfits that must be insanely hot to wear when it’s close to 100 degrees.
  • Bodies: girls, guys, pecs, curves, nearly naked but strangely not sexual.  A place where people can just be – the democratisation of the beach.
  • Barracas, endlessly supplying caipirinhas, beers and agua de coca.
  • Brilliant, brilliant bright blue skies.
  • Planes that buzz the beach like crop dusters with their advertising banners streaming behind.
  • Açai on the street corner, along with with sucos of every fruit.

Here’s a travel tip.  If you are thinking about going to Dubai, don’t.  For the same amount of money and more or less equal flight time, go to Rio.  As long as you are sensible, it isn’t any more dangerous than anywhere else (I mean Harrogate is dangerous,  Tunbridge Wells is dangerous) and the experience you will have will be far more vivid and memorable than doing all the things you can do in London but with sand!