Monday, July 12, 2010

SWEET MALTESE CONEXION - ONE MORE ADVENTURE IN RIO


Once again, thanks for the confidence and long friendship with the Tour Operator and Tour leader John Paul Scicluna from Malta, I have the honor to welcome more maltese friends. John Paul came as usual, he is more than a friend, he is a real brother. We do work a lot together, he is very happy now because he became a father of a real princess, Eliana...it is a co-production between my two wonderful friends, John Paul and Marie Stell, hahahaha :)

So it is great to see JP's proud face everywhere he goes...Also my good friend (almost spanish) Leon; my other fantastic friend Paul ----PINGA ------, and the new friends, Samuel and Annis in their honeymoon trip to Brazil; the cool family Myriam and John and their daughters Angela and Maria; Andrew came with his scottish smile; Andrea brought his italian blood to be baked under the Carioca's sun; and finally another wonderful couple Jonathan and Stasianne.

Humbly speaking I think I am the only tour guide in Rio de Janeiro who has the privilege to welcome so many people from this tiny and beautiful island of Malta, a real paradise in the Mediterranean Sea.



OUR FIRST ADVENTURE STARTED IN THE STREETS OF RIO DE JANEIRO, RIGHT IN THE SOUL OF THE CITY - THE CENTRO DA CIDADE.

AND USING ONLY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!!! NO BETTER WAY TO UNDERSTAND THE PLACE YOU VISITING BY DOING WHAT LOCALS DO, AND THIS IS REALLY MY SPECIALITY!



Sure I do take a bus...but it is not a tourist bus like Grey Line....we took "PUBLIC LINE"!!! We took a city bus (415 - LEBLON - USINA) that passes in Copacabana heading to Downtown Rio, the way to Centro borders the Bay Coast and we had the chance to see all Botafogo bay side and the bus drove through the very beautiful and green Flamengo's Park.

Rio becomes even more fascinating when we take part of the daily life of the city, the bus ride was a real party..lots of laughs, lots of fun and a quick ride, it took just 20 minutes to get to Centro and each one paid less than 2 dollars!

Everytime I have a walking tour in the city center of Rio, reaching every steps of our past...I found ANGELS...famous Angels of Candelaria Church, a magnificent baroque temple of the 1700s. In fact, John Paul and Leon are real angels from MALTA. Leon a real JESUS CHRIST WITH WINGS!!!
The church from inside shows the wonders of a time where all details where piece of art, the church bring us to a time when Rio was the strong capital of the portuguese kingdon.
When you visit Rio you are always very surprised about the rich history that mix our new foundland with the Old World of Europe.


To get to know Rio properly you have to use your legs and open your curious spirit to be part of the city, and Rio is a real and enormous URBE...That photo in Beatles style were taken crossing the large Presidente Vargas Avenue. We were ready to explore the narrow streets of Arco dos Telles.



Exploring the streets of Rio you come to know more about the AFRO MERCHANT LADIES who use to sell spices all over the city. In a time that Rio de Janeiro was held in the downtown area. It is also a great opportunity for photography lovers like myself!


A stroll around the old part of Rio is not the same if you do not take the TRAM to the hilly and traditional portuguese neighborhood of Santa Tereza. A ride in the BONDINHO, very old tram, is funny when you stand outside and pass on the top of LAPA AQUEDUCT. John Paul was really very familiar with the pleasant and thrilling surprises of Rio.


The World Cup is gone, Brazil Team lost but the street arts remained, in the walls of Santa Tereza you can see the real talent of an unknown artists that make any visit to Santa Tereza something very interesting to do. Also the neighborhood has various lovely places to eat like Espirita Santa, a place where you can taste such gorgeous brazilian delights.
Leon is not a very good friend of Adriano, but he decided to be part of the photo!!! Adriano was out of the World Cup, but he is quite popular among Flamengo fans.


After visiting Santa Tereza we walked through the cobbled stone streets going down the hill to Lapa where we find one of our most special places. THE STAIRS OF SELARON who are always there to welcome every visitors with his show off TONGUE. But a meeting with Selaron makes you learn more about this funny character. It is hard to find out his personal problems with pregnant women that he paints very frequently in his tyles; and it is great also to see tyles from many different part of the World. Selaron always ask us to find tyles from your hometown and bring to thim, he will place it in the stairs that he has been changing all over 19 years.
My Maltese friends also have been there leaving their great memories in this journey to our beautiful historical places...
It is very possible and safe to explore Rio's Downtown walking and using such a fine public transportation system.
If you also want a walking tour to places that you will hardly visit, do not hesitate to talk with me! I will be very happy to show you more about this city which I proudly was born.
Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner

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