Escadaria Selarón is a tiled staircase by artist Jorge Selarón, and includes over 2000 tiles. The work is continuous, with visitors donating tiles that Selarón switches with current tiles. We even spotted a tile from Kazakhstan. At the top of the stairs is a gate street that leads into the favelas. The most common artistic image that could be found on paintings all over the city is of the favelas, Christ the Redeemer looking down over them, and children flying kites in the street. This is because the streets are the favelas are so narrow the only room the children have to play is up, so they fly kites.
Generally we got around Rio by Uber. The city is sprawling and many of our destinations were on opposite sides of the city. Uber was nice with the babies because we didn’t have to worry about being packed into public transportation. The one day we did use the bus system was a bit chaotic. A new metro line was built for the Olympics, and due to the amount of people trying to go in one direction we couldn’t take the route we wanted. We spent more than enough time at the bus station with people telling us we couldn’t buy a pass there and trying to figure out what we needed to do. Finally a man helped us figure it out, we jumped on a bus, and hoped we were headed in the right direction.
Between our time spent with Olympic activities and touring the big sight-seeing spots, we wandered the streets. I have a strong love for architecture, and one of my favorite things about traveling is taking in the buildings. I grew up in the middle of the United States, in Nebraska. There’s a lot of things I love and miss about my home state, but beautiful architecture is rare on that list. Not only are there a lot of intricate buildings but everything is painted in bold, fun colors. People watching is also fun when traveling. Even watching people go about their everyday lives stresses the point on how similar and yet how different other countries are to our own.
We spent time at both Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches. Copacabana housed the sand volleyball stadium and the Olympic store. Across from Ipanema was the American House which I’ll talk about in a post solely saved for the Olympics. Nets were set up across the beaches for people to play volleyball, soccer-or futebol as it’s known by the rest of the world, and we even watched a game of badminton.