“This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes, again“
That’s how Jim Morrison and his men sang it. I recognise that feeling right now. I’ve had those lyrics in my head a couple of times today, as saying goodbye really was difficult.
When I woke up, I already felt that I didn’t feel too well. Waking up on July 2nd, knowing that this is the final day of this trip. My last night in Rio (for now?) had passed. I have to leave this place. No more beautiful city, but Brussels. No more fun, but a desk job. No more Atlantic Ocean, but that f-ing train to commute to work. But first a couple of more days off until Sunday to get back in the Belgian rhythm. Thank god.
I would meet Gabi and Kristof around 11am at metro station Gloria to go visit Santa Teresa and Lapa. I got up at 8am and happy to be able to shower in a descent and clean shower cabin. Then I went for breakfast but didn’t eat too much, I just wasn’t that hungry. Brushed my teeth, walked to Copacabana and back in search of some more souvenirs. Then back to the hotel, checking out, leaving my luggage in the storage room and on to the metro.
I found Gabi and Kristof quicker than I expected and we first went to a little bar so they could have breakfast. Afterwards, we took the taxi to Santa Teresa. Not a bad idea, really, as it’s a steep hill on cobblestone roads to get there. Fun if you have more time, but we didn’t have that as I had to be back at my hotel at 3pm if I wanted to make sure to get to the airport in time.
And again Santa Teresa is different from the rest of Rio. It’s remarkable how every part of Rio is so different. Pedro do Sal, Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Lapa, the lagoa, Santa Teresa, the favela’s, … They are all unique. I am starting to realise that maybe I should have stayed here a bit longer after all, just to visit this city.
Anyway, Santa Teresa is very relaxed and cosy with some very nice houses in different styles and colours. When passing the hotel ‘Santa Teresa’ (what an original name!) we stopped to ask the doorman where we were exactly, after which he just let us in so we could enjoy the view from the terrace next to the swimming pool of this by the looks of it exquisite establishment (it’s sponsored by Veuve Clicquot so that should say enough!).
From there we walked on to see just more incredible sights. We passed the ‘Parc of the Ruins’, the ruins of a little Belle Epoque house that had been renovated in a way that you could now walk up to the top to get a panoramic view of the city, from the harbour to Sugarloaf and Corcovado. Once again a little spot I’d recommend for a nice view of the city. Santa Teresa seems to be being renovated as well, judging by the fact that it’s getting a brand new tram line, so it will be even more cozy and beautiful soon!
Going further down, we arrived in Lapa. In the end, I have not gone out in Lapa in the past three weeks here so this was my first time and at broad daylight. Lapa looks like the student’s quarter in Ghent but with more murals/graffiti and with locals trying to sell all kinds of things. We walked in the direction of what was supposed to be Rio’s cathedral.
On the way there, we passed the renovated part that remains of the local aqueduct. The one we had also seen from the bus on the day of our Corcovado tour. Its white colour perfectly matched the blue and cloudless sky. Yet another very photogenic view of the city. Anyway, we went to the cathedral. I’ll tell you right now: it looks absolutely hideous from the outside. It doesn’t look like a cathedral at all, it’s just some ugly ass building. I definitely prefer the gothic styles from cathedrals like the Notre-Dame in Paris or the ones in Reims, Köln, London and so on. So basically we just continued walking to Rio’s cathedral because we were so stunned by the fact that that thing could actually be a cathedral.
And then we got to the entrance and saw the statues there. It was indeed a church of some kind. We went in. Now, terms like “breathtakingly beautiful” might be a bit exaggerated, but the cathedral definitely is impressive. The four huge stained glass windows are absolutely amazing as well. This place is definitely worth visiting while you’re in Rio, no matter how it looks like from the outside!
And then it was a little before 3pm and we went in the direction of the nearby metro station as I had to leave. A last picture of the three of us was taken and then it was time to say goodbye. After the hugs, “I will miss you”’s and “see you later”’s, I walked away with wet eyes.
I know, I tend to be a bit too emotional at times, but still. I really had a fantastic time here in Recreio, Rio, Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte. I have gained some great memories about Grumari, Maracanã, the House of Switzerland, Copacabana, Babilonia, nightly beachsoccer games and so much more. I have met some great people, Belgians and others. Football fans from all over the world, uniting for the World Cup.
Right now, I am on the plane and it’s a little past 9pm in Rio. In ten hours I will be in Paris, reunited with my parents. I hope that moment will be there soon. The mixed feelings that come with not liking the fact that all of this is over on one side and looking forward to seeing my family again on the other, that’s kind of unpleasant. But for every door that closes, another one opens, they say… October, Australia: let’s see what happens!