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    Silhouette of a woman climbing a cliff in an urban landscape surrounded by green mountains and a bay full of sailboats.
    The Sugar Loaf is even higher than the Eiffel Tower. Climbing enthusiasts delight in the monolithic, 396-metre-high boulder.

    My dear Rio de Janeiro,

    My dear Rio de Janeiro,

    For many moons now, you’ve been known, recognized and loved all over the world. Crowds thrill to the sound of a few words. Carnival, legs start to dance, eyes fill with color and joy appears on faces. Copacabana and Ipanema, where the sound of the waves whispers vacation tunes to the ears, and the sand is warm all year round, scorching in summer. Fortunately, my dear Rio, you protect one of the world’s largest urban forests. It’s a wonderful place to live in the shade of this lush vegetation. But how can you see all of Tijuca National Park at a glance? By flying, of course! For the first time in my life, I felt like a bird when my feet left the Pedra Bonita on a hang glider. What an incredible feeling, the wind touching my skin, the breathtaking view and the surprising silence.

    Noisier and slower, but above all more accessible, the cogwheel train is also a good way to climb. Four kilometres through the forest in twenty minutes. Thanks to you, my dear Rio, there’s no need to sweat to climb 700 metres. Then, at the summit of Mount Corcovado, you give us a unique welcome. New York has its Statue of Liberty, Paris its Eiffel Tower and you the massive Christ the Redeemer. 

    Group of people at the foot of a 40-metre-high statue of Christ made of concrete.
    Whatever our beliefs, it’s impossible not to be fascinated by this symbol that has been watching over you since 1931. Just a few more steps and you’re offering us a breathtaking panorama with arms wide open.

    Many boats take refuge in the bays of this coastal town surrounded by green mountains.
    This is where I admire the curves of your body, a subtle mosaic of tropical forests plunging into the ocean and bays caressing green mountains.

    Many people lounge on the warm sand near the shade of the palm trees on this undulating cobblestone promenade.
    In this environment, Man has naturally found his place – or rather, taken it. Nearly seven million souls (12 million in the urban area) seek happiness in your arms. Here, Copacabana beach.

    But how do you explain the fact that you, the wonderful city, so often appear in the media in a different light? High crime rates, attacks, thefts, not to mention the power of narcotics dealers in some favélas. This is far from the idyllic postcard. That’s why we were cautious but not paranoid during our trips. No backpacks. Vanessa carried a cloth bag for our jackets and some water. And I had a double-lined plastic bag for my camera, three lenses and a video camera. And so, for ten days, we explored your beauties, my dear Rio. We enjoyed classics like your botanical gardens and a Tramway ride to Santa Teresa. It’s a vibrant place on weekends. Not forgetting, of course, the popular sunset at Ipanema beach. 

    The sun’s rays pierce the clouds and illuminate a long urban sandy beach where hundreds of people are active.
    With an average annual temperature of 24 degrees Celsius and over 200 days of sunshine a year, locals enjoy the beaches even if the water quality is poor. Here, Ipanema beach at sunset.

    After the beach, tourists and Cariocas often swap their bathing suits for relaxed clothes. Tonight, let’s dance samba! It’s hard to choose, my dear Rio, you have so much to offer. Instead of the Lapa quarter, we headed for Little Africa in your port area. Like New Orleans for jazz, Pedra do Sal is considered the cradle of samba. In fact, every Monday evening there’s a samba roda. Sometimes it’s so crowded that it’s hard to dance in this little square. No doubt about it, this is a must, where the crowd is happy to the rhythms of live music. Before I leave you, my dear Rio, I’d like to thank you for this intense trip – so many emotions and memories at your side!

    Night-time cityscape of twinkling lights and dark mountain silhouettes.
    My dear Rio, it’s hard not to be charmed by your dozens of beaches, your many museums, your countless theatres, your famous soccer stadium and, of course, your majestic carnival!

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