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Rio de Janeiro

Sample image Cristo Redentor, Rio

The estuary and bays of Rio de Janeiro still bristle with old fortifications, dating from the founding of the city by the early Portuguese colonists and their successors. These days they stand guard over the lightly clad bathers, joggers, volleyball players frequenting the beaches, who refresh themselves with ice cold beer or coconut water from the kiosks lining the wavy mosaic pavements.

This beautiful, bustling and most neighbourly of cities is overlooked by a benign trinity of mountains, the cleft top Dois Irmois or Two Brothers to the South of Leblon and Ipanema, the Pao de Azucar or Sugarloaf, above Urca and at the back of the Lagoon, the Corcovado, with the statue of Christ the Redeemer at the summit, illuminated white at night, possibly forgiving the sins of the populace.

A visit to Rio offers many highlights and pleasures, at the Sunday "Hippy Market" in Ipanema you can browse for anything from imaginatively crafted "objets d'art" to bright clothing, toys and folkloric paraphernalia. From the superb vantage points of the Corcorvado, Sugar Loaf and Tijuca Forest magnificent views over the city and its beautiful coast can be enjoyed. For a local flavour dining at a Churrascuria will offer a sumptuous range of food and a convivial atmosphere. Unless you are in Rio for the Carnival, when they become redundant, the big evening Samba shows offer an over the top, exotic and vivacious experience. Then there are the beaches, and beach life, sunbathing, jogging, ball games, socialising and relaxing.

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