Three sisters atop Corcovado in Rio de Janiero

Three sisters (Sherri, LaToya & Wendolyn) atop Corcovado in Rio de Janiero; (c) Sherri Crawford/Soul Of America

Three Sisters In Rio & Side Trips

by Sherri Crawford

Coming from the Lone Star State as Three Sisters in Rio, we were not sure what to expect but were ready to explore the heartbeat of this vibrant city. On our first day after the flight, we (Sherri, LaToya, and Wendolyn) started with a traditional Brazilian lunch at Jobi Restaurant. The portions were large and the grilled shrimp with mint green rice was decent. This was our introduction to authentic Brazilian cuisine.

Content with our meal, we left the restaurant and explored downtown Rio de Janeiro. Walking, sightseeing, and taking in the hustle and bustle of people passing by. We quickly adjusted to the pulse of this great city. More about Rio later.

After Day 1 of our group trip to Rio de Janeiro, we took a 40-mile trip to another alluring city that has a sci-fi name, Petropolis.

As we approach Petropolis, the tour bus snakes up a winding two-lane mountain road. Riding up the mountain, we caught amazing glimpses of Brazilian life outside big city limits. The road was lined with merchants selling bananas and many handmade gifts such as purses, bags, and clothing.

Palacio Quitandinha, Petropolis

Palacio Quitandinha in Petropolis; (c) Sherri Crawford/Soul Of America

There was no sci-fi here, just a busy small city hovering with locals shopping for everything from fresh produce, and shoes, to some of the finest chocolate your taste buds have ever had.

Our trip to Petropolis included a tour of the Quitandinha Palace and Imperial Museum. Before transitioning to museum status, it was the summer palace of the Emperor. Upon arrival, you are given slippers to put over your shoes. They nicely preserve marble palace floors that showcase antique mahogany furniture and stunning artwork. To top it off, the palace houses the Imperial Crown studded with over 600 diamonds and 77 pearls.

We next toured the exquisite Petropolis Cathedral. To our memorable fortune, we arrived as a couple began their nuptial ceremony. Seeing the cathedral dressed for a wedding was simply beautiful. If ever in Rio de Janeiro for a week, consider a side trip to the lovely Petropolis. You’ll be glad you did.

Visiting the Catedral during a wedding in Petropolis

Visiting the Catedral during a wedding in Petropolis; (c) Sherri Crawford/Soul Of America

The tour offered time to walk around the city. Of course, we found not 1, not 2, but 3 chocolate factories. This alone made the day trip worth its weight in gold … chocolate gold that is.

If you have extra travel dollars and time, make a point to visit the Iguazu Falls. This will require a 1-hour flight from Rio to the Iguazu International Airport. The waterfalls are part of the Iguazu River bordering Argentina and Brazil.

Unmatched vista of Iguacu Falls, Brasil

The unmatched aerial vista of Iguacu Falls, Brasil; credit Enaldo Valadares/Wiki Commons

Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In a rage, the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. One look at the falls and it may inspire a legend of your own.

No first trip to Rio is complete without visiting Christ the Redeemer statue. Once you reach the 2,329-foot peak of Corcovado, a granite hat atop Tijuca Forest, your eyes will gaze upon the massive 125-foot tall statue. We were in awe. Christ the Redeemer statue and the surrounding views from the roof of Rio are simply spectacular.

Christ the Redeemer Statue atop Corcovado

Christ the Redeemer Statue atop Corcovado

Our visit during an evening sunset only added to the views.

We closed out our time in Rio attending a Samba show. Seeing performers move like belly dancers in sync with African rhythms and Latin beats will leave you feeling mesmerized by the music. Can I move my hips like that when I get home? This is truly soul … Latin Soul that can only be captured in Rio.

Samba show in Rio de Janeiro

The Samba show in Rio de Janeiro will move you; (c) Sherri Crawford/Soul Of America

With one day left, we thought we saved the beach for last. Our time in Rio had been sun-kissed weather with nice balmy breezes. But gray clouds rolled in and the sun went into hiding. Unlike other days, when the sun is not out in Rio, the beach looks empty. No vendors, no kids playing football, and no one lying out. So we changed our plans and did some last-minute souvenir shopping.

There’s one thing for sure. On our next trip to Rio de Janeiro, we will hit the beach first!


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