Tag Archives: Brazil

On churros and planking

Standard

After Friday’s post I had the words eat, move, and learn on my mind over the weekend. How about you? Anything of note? Even just eating a bag of Doritos that you didn’t have to share? Or learning that platform sneakers don’t work on anyone? Do tell!

Good food is always part of my weekends and this one was no different. We went for Spanish tapas in Ipanema on Friday night, which is a bigger deal than it sounds like. First of all, international food beyond pasta or sushi is slightly difficult to track down in Rio, so I was positively gleeful to be going out for tapas especially to a place crowded with tiny tables and with legs of jamón hanging from the rafters. When the waiter offered me sangria as well, I felt perfectly transported to a softly lit table in Seville.

Venga restaurant

Behold the grainy greatness of iPhone photos!

Now, the fact that this restaurant was in Ipanema is of greater significance than you probably imagine. To get there from our neighbourhood we needed to take a taxi through the tunnels….the tunnels are like mythical routes through to the buzzing, attractive, shiny nightlife on the other side of the hills. No longer is it flip-flops in the food court of the mall; through the tunnels means higher heels, smaller purse, and an extra coat of mascara. Big time, people.

Ipanema

If I make it B&W, does that improve the phone photo? Um, no.

And it was worth it. The highlights were patatas bravas – golden cubes of potato drizzled with equal parts deeply spicy tomato sauce and cooling garlic aioli, coca – a crispy flatbread with wilted spinach and goat’s cheese, and churros con chocolate – lengths of fried dough dusted with sugar and cinnamon, then dipped into thick melted chocolate. See? Going through the tunnels has big rewards.

All that eating required a bit of counterbalance in the shape of hiking up a mountain. On Sunday we walked up Pedra Bonita (literally “Beautiful Rock”), one of many rocky outcrops that seem to bully the city towards the ocean.

Pedra Bonita signPedra Bonita is known for the hang gliders and paragliders who launch themselves off of it and drift down towards the beach. We weren’t insane, however, we were just looking for some exercise, so we followed the path up past the launch area.

Parachute

Hang glider

The trail climbed gently but steadily through the forest of bamboo and palms. Vines hung like thick ropes and twisted themselves around tree branches. A tiny monkey leapt around the canopy above us.

Bamboo

At the top, we were rewarded with a breathtaking view across the other hills to the Christ statue, along the coast with crescents of white sand, and out to the blue expanse of sea.

Pedra Bonita 1

View of Barra

We were also treated to a fascinating spectacle of people taking “selfies” (is it funny to anyone else that my auto-correct wants to change that to “selfish”). As far as I could tell the recipe for Pedra Bonita selfie success is hair swept over one shoulder while wearing an exercise leotard and planking. Huh.

Therein was my learning moment of the weekend – not about how to pose – but in how to just sit on the rocks that were warmed by the sun, how to hold two sweaty little hands because this Mama was nervous about the terrifying drop, how to squint at the view below and try to find our rooftop, how to gaze up at the birds rising in the thermals, how to feel the satisfaction of the climb in my legs….

Pedra Bonita 3

Of course I took photos (that view was begging to be captured in some way), but as I walked back down with my little family I felt strongly that the loveliest moments of my day didn’t happen through a view finder and didn’t have a hashtag attached to them.

Pedra Bonita 2

 

Advertisements

Eat, Move, Learn

Standard

And suddenly it’s Friday. I swear I must be semi-conscious for periods of time. That is the only reasonable explanation as to how I blink on Sunday night and when my eyes open it is Friday morning.

To slow down a bit I have been gazing at these photos of our local beach in Rio de Janeiro. Normally, on a hot day it is a throng of bodies, bikinis, red umbrellas, ice cream vendors, and shrieking children. On this slightly overcast and windy day it was one long stretch of emptiness, quiet, and bottle green seas. I really prefer it that way. There is something lovely and bracing about the wind buffeting you, making you squint and grab at your hair, leaving salt on your cheeks and leaving your mind somehow clear.

Winter beach 1

Winter beach 5

Winter beach 4

Winter beach 3

Then there are these three 1-minute films that are simply delightful: Eat, Move, and Learn. Watch them if you have 3 minutes to spare while you wait for the kettle to boil or if you enjoy precision editing in films or if you love exotic food…or if you like to watch a cute guy walk towards you. To each his own.

 

How will you eat, move, and learn this weekend, my friends? Enjoy it all and see you on Monday! xx

“Better days are coming.

They are called Saturday and Sunday.”

~Author Unknown

Long Time Gone

Standard

Well, I am not sure how this happened, but I haven’t published a post around these parts since October 2013. I am not certain, but I believe that leaving nearly 11 months between posts is breaking some kind of blogging rule…the rule of actually writing stuff, for example.

You know how it gets, though – you have good intentions and plans, and yet somehow the days pass by and nothing has eventuated. Like you and that plan to eat more chia seeds or to get rid of that pair of jeans that you bought one size too small. Y’know, it just doesn’t happen.

Mind you, I wasn’t being completely lazy during those 10 months. I was taking a lot of photos and doing some incredible traveling (and, let’s be honest, watching Jimmy Fallon clips on YouTube). The trips I took were so eye-opening and wonderful that I think you will want to get your own glimpse of these places, too.

I will try to share the very best of it with you because we all love to know that special places exist, not so we can put them on some bucket list, but just to know that beautiful parts of our world abound even if they are not right outside our window.

Places like these…

NZ Beach

 

Argentinian lunch

 

Colombian hills

 

Brazil beach

 

Alberta rocks

Now, if these places ARE outside your window, then congratulations..and also, whaaaat?! Open those curtains for criminy’s sake!

I hope you are all still out there and willing to stop by for a blog visit from time to time. I do hope that these last 10 months have been good to you, or at least civil to you, or maybe just that you have survived them? I am not sure where our standards should be.

Okay, let’s do this! You go give away those jeans already and I will get writing! xx

In the cold light of January

Standard

Hello friend! Welcome to 2013! Here’s hoping that your holidays were magical and bright.

Now we are into the first week of January which is THE biggest let-down, is it not?! Jiminy. All the sparkle is gone, the decorations are packed away, and I’m left with the realization that my resolutions are exactly the same as last year (not because they are so awesome, but because inevitably I did not accomplish them).

But I say January does not necessarily have to be a shock to the system. You can begin a new year gently, tenderly. You do not have to know everything by this first week of this first month.

You will have seen all of the “Year in Review” questionnaires bouncing around. Here is my take on it, in the spirit of A Year of Travel:

Top destination in 2012:

Argentina: Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Iguazu Falls. That country ticks all the right boxes.

Favourite plate of food in 2012:

Sweetcorn pancakes with bacon, asparagus, and Hollandaise sauce in Australia. I would eat that meal again in a heartbeat. (Then again I would eat most meals again in a heartbeat.)

Best thing about 2012:

I found another piece of myself through starting this blog. Truly.

Oh, and this song. I played it so much that my children can sing along to it. My work here is done.

Story that needs to be told about 2012:

Oh, so many! But thankfully the stories coming out of last year are happy, blessed ones.

There was a surprise helicopter ride in New Zealand; there was a trip to Banff with no children along (!); there was my large-ish 50/50 raffle win on Canada Day; there was the “hilarity” of our dishwasher taking 10 weeks to be fixed; there was my brother getting married (just like a grown-up…when did THAT happen?); there were visits from family which acted like a well-meaning cattle prod and made us explore Rio more; there were trips that renewed my faith in nature, people, and hotel upgrades…..So much. Thanks for it all, 2012!

A word that sums up 2012:

Travel (doing it, writing about it, planning it…)

A resolution for the new year:

Well, there are those pesky ones from last year, but….

I have some hopes for 2013. I hope to discover more of Brazil in particular, to carve out more time to enjoy this blog, and to not take things so seriously (it’s kind of laughable how grave I believe things to be – “WIPE HIS CHIN! QUICK! THAT CHERRY JUICE WILL BE IM-POSS-IBLE TO GET OUT OF THE TABLECLOTH!”….that was some insight you did not need).

May this year offer up the things you least expect, but need the most.

Here was my 2012…

January

Old world Portuguese charm

Old world Portuguese charm in Petropolis.

February

Best winery experience in Chile

Best winery experience in Chile

March

So, a helicopter showed up and....

So, a helicopter showed up and….

April

Seeing the city with my sister!

Seeing Rio with my sister!

May

Birthday bunting for my sweet girl.

Birthday bunting for my sweet girl.

June

Colour of the sky exhibit in Calgary.

Colour of the sky exhibit in Calgary.

July

Yeehaw! Stampede Centennial!

Yeehaw! Stampede Centennial!

August

Best restaurant discovery of the month.

Best restaurant discovery of the month: Quinta.

September

Golden larches in Banff National Park.

Golden larches in Banff National Park.

October

Best meal in Rio of the entire year. Fact.

Best meal in Rio of the entire year. Fact.

November

The breathtaking Devil's Throat Falls in Argentina

The breathtaking Devil’s Throat Falls in Argentina

December

My Brazilian gingerbread beauties!

My Brazilian gingerbread beauties!