“Carnaval” a.k.a. Carnival in Brazil starts tomorrow. While there are many parties celebrating the start of lent, it seems to me all other parties look pitifully small when compared to Rio de Janeiro.
Feliz Carnaval Meninos
Despite the fact that I’ve traveled through much of the US, I’ve not spent much time in the middle of the country so I didn’t know what to expect when work brought me to Kansas City, MO last week. One gets the impression that 100+ years ago K.C. was probably a very important and slightly lawless place that served as a crossroad for travelers.
I don’t see myself returning to Kansas City unless work brings me there but should you visit I would suggest trying one of their famous barbecue restaurants. K.C. loves their BBQ, and I had a fun meal at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, but there are so many just pick one close to your hotel.
On our third night my colleagues and I were hungry for a non-BBQ dinner and we found a good option nearby in the entertainment district at the restaurant, The Drop. Our waitress also gave us a great tip to check out Manifesto at The Rieger Hotel for a nightcap. The subterranean bar plays off its location’s history as a speakeasy that Al Capone use to visit. My favorite drink was a gin based cocktail called The Girl from Cadiz made with gin, sherry, lemon, mint, dried juniper berries and lemon grass for garnish. I’m going to dream about this cocktail for a long time.
Elizabeth Stefan and Kim Greiner of Summer Street Communications have helped create Boston’s first Hotel Week Boston. The program is designed to help travelers secure great deals at some of Boston’s best hotels from February 16 – 23, 2014.
Contemplating a staycation? Want to see what other perks and discounts are being offered at participating properties? Check out the website, hotelweekboston.com.
Forte Copacabana provides amazing views of Copacabana beach and Sugar Loaf off in the distance. In recent years, Confeitaria Colombo has opened a second location here, offering visitors a great option for dining with a view. We actually visited for a cocktail one evening and then came for breakfast.
After dining you can walk the grounds of the Fort which also offer great views of Guanabara Bay. Below are a few photographs of my recent visits to Forte Copacabana and Confeitaria Colombo – Cafe do Forte.
Atop the Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro is the city’s most famous site, a 125′ statue named “Christ the Redeemer”. While there are several ways to get to the top of this granite mountain, the most popular is to buy tickets and take the electrically powered train. Although I’ve been to the Corcovado a few times already I don’t get tired of the impressive view.
Enjoying the train ride up the Corcovado.
Goofing around with the guys
Amazing views of Rio de Janeiro from atop the Corcovado
If you are planning a trip to Brazil or Rio de Janeiro and you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.
Paraty, Brazil is a tiny coastal Brazilian town, approximately 4 hours south of Rio de Janeiro. Sergio and I decided to make a road trip for a few days to this historic town known for its Portuguese colonial architecture.
The streets of Paraty date back to the mid to late 1600′s and provide a romantic backdrop to the green, lush mountains and blue/green waters of the South Atlantic. In addition to walking the stone paved streets of Paraty, one should hire a boat to see some of the many beautiful islands and beaches that are just a quick boat ride away.
Our slow moving but comfortable boat that provided ample shade to keep my pale skin from blistering from the unyielding sun, while we cruised around the harbor for more than 5 hours one day. Below are a few photos of Paraty and our boat ride.
I feel as if the board of tourism for Rio should offer me a free stay at The Copacabana Palace for all the hype I’m providing this city, but I love Rio and can’t help myself. Rio de Jaeneiro has no shortage of famous, beautiful beaches, but I tend to spend most of my time at the gay section of Ipanema Beach. I feel more comfortable here and the people watching is great. Last week at this time, my butt was firmly planted on the sand of Ipanema Beach. Here are a few photos of me relaxing with Sergio and friends at Rio’s gay beach.
If you have an upcoming trip to Rio de Janeiro or travel to Brazil planned, feel free to reach out to me.
Perhaps the most famous beach in Rio de Janeiro is Copacabana. The beach offers spectacular views of one of Rio’s most famous sites, Sugar Loaf. The 4 kilometer long beach (~2.5 miles) is one of my favorites. I’ve included a few photos to give you a glimpse of this beautiful beach.
The large ‘rock’ in the background is Sugar Loaf.
The black and white swirl you see behind Sergio on the sidewalk represents two rivers from the Amazon that Copacabana Beach has adopted as its own.
Not exactly an image of Copacabana beach but representative of what you’ll see.
Giant sandcastles that span 10′ proudly display some of Rio’s most famous sites.
Earlier this week both local papers reported that Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines has received federal approval to offer nonstop service from Boston to Beijing starting in June 2014. According to The Boston Globe, Hainan Airlines still needs to sign an agreement with MassPort before it could begin service from the airport.
Hainan Airlines would join Copa Airlines (from Panama), Japan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Emirates Airlines as new airlines to start offering non-stop service from Boston’s Logan Airport.
As you start to think about travel plans for 2014, consider some of these new destinations that will become a whole lot more convenient.
You can read The Boston Globe article, here.
After spending nearly two weeks in Brazil, Sergio and I are heading back to Boston (please don’t be cold, please don’t be cold…) It has been fun and I look forward to writing more about the vacation.
Travel and Leisure magazine recently released the results of its annual survey of “America’s Favorite Cities”. How did your home city rank?
Boston received high marks from visitors for its classical music, culture, professional sports and history. It is also perceived as a city filled with intelligent and tech savvy residents. Want to see how Boston ranked in the nearly 30 categories created by Travel and Leisure? Link here.
After spending a week in Rio de Janeiro, Sergio and I packed up to drive to Paraty, Brazil – a Portuguese colonial town on the coast approximately 2.5 – 3 hours drive South from Rio de Janeiro. I plan to completely decompress by sleeping constantly, reading when I’m awake and doing nothing more strenuous than ordering a cold beverage from the beach.
This marks the last leg of the trip for Sergio and me before we drive back on Friday to fly back home to Boston. While I’m looking forward to returning home, I have to admit I’ll miss the sun and warmth. I’ll write more about that and my other adventures after I return home, but until then you can read about last year’s trip to Florianopolis, Brazil.
Praia Mole: Where the gays are
Jurere and Jurere International
Bistro Isadora Duncan Suite
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States. While I don’t know the exact numbers, airports, train and bus stations as well as the highways will be filled with people eager to return home and to visit friends for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Are you traveling to celebrate Thanksgiving? Give yourself some extra time, and I want to wish you safe travels. I’m in Brazil this week celebrating Thanksgiving in my own special way, but my thoughts are with my friends and family in the US. Have an extra helping of turkey for me.
Today is the first full day that I am in Rio de Janeiro. A couple from Boston arrives here later today, and we’ll spend the week hanging out and enjoying all that Rio can offer, but this morning Sergio and I will be down at the gay beach in Ipanema; just a short walk from the apartment we’ve rented. I hope you have a wonderful day.
Earlier this month work brought me back to New York City and my usual hotels were completely booked so I opted to stay at the W New York. As a general rule, I like the vibe of W Hotels and the W New York certainly exudes that when you first walk in from Lexington Avenue in Midtown.
W New York - 541 Lexington Avenue
However, I found the rooms (at least my room) a bit tired. The sleek modern design and layout was starting to look dated and was certainly in need of a fresh paint job, judging by all the scuff marks along the white walls.
However, what really irked me was the bathroom; to be specific the shower curtain that wasn’t quite long enough to prevent water from the shower to splatter on to the floor and the bathroom towels that felt like sandpaper.
I’ve stayed at enough W properties to know how nice and comfortable these rooms can be. Sadly, until I hear that a fresh coat of paint has been applied and perhaps the bathrooms have been updated, I’ll skip this Starwood property.