Visiting Rio: Beach, spa, and ramen

This month, Gustavo and I had our interview a the US Consulate in Rio. Rather than just coming down for a short trip, we decided that I would stay for about a month – both so I could join him for the interview and so we can start clearing out the apartment. 

I got to Rio the last week of March. My new favorite route is taking the direct flight to São Paulo from Newark and then transferring to a local airline to fly up from São Paulo to Rio. Once you figure out the bus to transfer from the international terminal to the national terminal at Guarulhos, it’s actually a pretty smooth way to go.

Hitting the Praia

Even though it’s solidly Springtime in Rio, it’s still hot. As always. Right now, our new weekend activity is to go for walks along the beach in Ipanema.

Since I’m not currently training, I haven’t been going with Gustavo to Crossfit. Nor have I been nearly as obsessive about training, particularly on the weekends. It’s left our time pretty open to exploring more of the city in a relaxed way.

When I visit, I often feel cooped up inside. Because of safety, Rio isn’t the easiest city in the world to just wander around. So even though the weather is beautiful, I typically find myself inside – whether it’s our apartment, or a mall, or a movie theater.

On the weekends, the road next to the beach from Leme to Leblon is closed to cars. It’s filled with pedestrians, bikers, skaters, and roller skaters pretty much all day as a result. We usually grab a small bag to bring with us filled with sunscreen and a beach blanket and go.

The Belmond Copacabana Palace pool

Treating Ourselves

As if spending the weekends walking in the sun along the sandy beaches wasn’t enough, we decided to do something special to celebrate reaching this milestone in Gustavo’s immigration process. So, we decided to set up a couple’s massage at the Belmond Copacabana Palace Spa. (Word of warning, friends: there are, uh, “different” kinds of massages available in Rio. So read carefully make sure you’re booking what you intend to book – regardless of what that may be.)

We booked a massage session and a facial, both of which were fantastic. To get to the spa, you have to walk through the pool area. It happened to be a gorgeous day and everyone sunbathing in front of the pool just looked majestic. It’s one of the nicest, hidden-away places I’ve seen in Rio.

After our massage, we stopped at the poolside bar for some drinks. For me, an Aperol Spritz with passionfruit for a local twist. For Gustavo, a kiwi caipirinha. We paired it with a bit of freshly baked pão de queijo and catupiry, a Brazilian cheese that’s similar to mild cream cheese.

Food!

Since arriving, we’ve tried out a few new restaurants. Both Gustavo and I like to eat, so we also like to try new things – especially when I’m visiting. For some reason, I often feel really unsatisfied when cooking at home here. There’s a ton of staples that I can’t get, so I usually feel like I’m eating purely to fuel my body when I cook.

We checked out Gurumê in Shopping Tijuca, which is a new-ish sushi restaurant. And really good, too. It’s Brazilian-style sushi, which is an important clarification since you’ll see some stuff on the menu that bears almost no resemblance to Japanese tradition.

We also tried South Ferro, a ramen restaurant that opened pretty recently in Botafogo. It’s owned by the same folks that opened Ferro e Farinha, a good pizzeria, also in Botafogo. They have just three ramen dishes, one of which is a vegan option.

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I’ll be here until the day before Easter, so I’ve still got a few things on my list. Most notably, I think I’ve finally convinced Gustavo to take a dance class with me and I need a chocolate Easter egg.

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