We ensured the start of our trip coincided with the biggest party in the world – RIO CARNIVAL! Thankfully our timings worked out perfectly, so one of our first stops (and very much thrown into the deep end) were the incredible Blocos — ginormous street parties where everyone dons glitter and dances beside moving parades. Think Glastonbury but on wheels!
On one of our first days, a group of party goers from our hostel invited us out to Santa Teresa; a part of town that was hosting one of many Rios many Blocos. We hailed a cab and after twenty minutes of travelling in a very expensive taxi, none of us were any wiser that the taxi driver had actually dropped us off in a different part of town, Glória! After walking around the area in the typical “confused tourist” fashion, a very kind Brazilian lady with a bottom the size of a small planet helped us to Harmony Square where another Bloco was on! We didn’t care, we just wanted to party!
We got there and boy did it live up to expectation! Armed with 10 a.m vodka cocktails, we partied the day away! CARIVAAAAAAL!
Street vendors were selling the famous Gincoli, a large plastic “condom” filled to the top with very strong gin and tonic! Unbelievably, it was delicious! The parade moves slowly and gives everyone a chance to samba their way through every moment. We found a bright blue carnival hat and was so happy to try it on… MY GOD IT HURT THOUGH! It was made purely of metal and cut into the sides of our heads, so after 30 minutes we passed the photo opportunity onto another group of tourists who followed suit.
After a few hours of dancing at Harmony Square we carried on partying for a while more before jumping in a taxi and heading back to the hostel. However, whilst sat in stationary traffic, two men pushed their way through the window of our cab and started feeling Bens pockets for phones/wallets/anything! Because we were drunk we didn’t really think about it until the next day, but in hindsight we think we got really lucky! Read our blog piece ‘Just How Dangerous is Rio?’ for more info on that.