Monday, 9 June 2014

Brazil 2014

2014 World Cup Trip

Dont forget to click on the pictures to see them full screen

Day 1 Monday 9th June

Location - Lisbon
Travel - Flight from Gatwick to Lisbon
First beer of the trip - with Fi and Columbus 
So the start of our World Cup adventure, WC number 6 with England for me after Italy 1990, France 1998, Japan 2002, Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010.  Kev and Fiona drove over to mine and then we had a taxi booked for 8am to take us to Gatwick. We were soon on the Easyjey flight to Lisbon and landed just after 12.30 with the time difference.


After we had checked into our hotel we headed off to see some sights and more importantly find somewhere for a cold refreshing beer!  It was an early start the next day so no late night for us, a nice bite to eat, a few cold ones and that was our mini Lisbon visit done, I have to say the Super Boc was as good as I remembered from our last visit!

Day 2 Tuesday 10th June

Location - Manaus
Travel - Flight from Lisbon to Manaus

The first problem of the holiday.  We arrived at Lisbon to be greeted with the flight departures board showing flight TP0035 09.35 to Manaus CANCELLED!  Eeeeeeekkkkkk.  We joined the long queue at the TAP desk and by the skin of our teeth they got us booked on the next flight to Sao Paulo and then a GOL internal flight from SP to Manaus.  This meant rather than a 13.45pm arrived it was roughly 10 hours later.  There were 2 other lads in the same boat as us and weirdly booked into the same hotel and on the same jungle trip!!  So we all jumped in a cab to a hotel nobody had heard of or could find.  The taxi driver tried to drop us at a different hotel, but we refused and after driving around for about 90 minutes found our hotel!   One of the other lads then realised he had left his bag in the taxi, but a kind local sorted it out and got the taxi back.  We got to bed about 1.30am, the other lads about 3am when the bag was returned!

Day 3 Wednesday 11th June

Location - Manaus (Amazon lodge)

It was up early as we were to be picked up at 8am for our jungle trip, but first it was time for breakfast on the "hotel" roof. Despite the late night taxi ride we felt the heat and humidity for the first time.  I can honestly say that it felt pretty warm to me!  We had soon tucked  into watermelon, coffee followed by scrambled egg sandwiches!

Much to our amazement Jack from Manaus travel picked us up at 8am to take us to the offices to finalise our trip to the Amazon and the jungle. He explained that he had put is in a better hotel but we turned it down and insisted on going to the original one - shame nobody told us & the taxi driver spoke NO English at all!

So it was now time to head deep into the Amazon.
Just missing Ant and Dec
The walk of death

The amazing Sloth bear

A Cayman, that Ed managed to drop in the canoe in the dark - Doh!

The Piranha that Kev caught 
I think the above pictures show the fantastic experience of being in the Amazon jungle. It was very flooded and yes it was overcrowded but I would not have missed this for anything.  It was warm and very very muggy, it was a constant sweat and the cold beers saved the day many a time.

Once we crossed over the Amazon it was another bus ride and then a boat to the lodge.  We stopped to see some of the giant Lilly pads.

Our interesting lodge, I was in a room on the first floor, some of the lads took hammocks on the ground floor.  So we headed out for out first proper trip to go Piranha fishing, there were some mean looking storm clouds in the sky and when it rains boy does it rain.  It only rained for about 20 minutes but everyone was drenched, totally soaked, it was some downpour.

The food at the lodge was excellent.  Evening meals were meat, fish, rice and salad and breakfast was lots of fruit, coffee and usually eggs.  I loved the place.

Day 4 Thursday 12th June

Location - Manaus (Amazon lodge)

Up at 5.45am to see the sunrise

Our first walk in the jungle, they had to find new routes as the usual ones were flooded.  It was the flooded time of year, but the melt of snow from the Andes had been quicker than normal so the flooding was the worst it had been for a number of years.  Our lodge was normally 30 meters from the water, today it was lapping against the doors! In the jungle we learnt loads about the biting ants, the flora and forna, it was great stuff.  We walked for around 2 hours before heading back to the lodge.

Today was the opening day of the World Cup.  We expected to miss the game until we saw somebody arrive by canoe with a 52" plasma TV screen tucked under their arm!  They set up a TV in the staff area of the lodge and slowly more and more locals arrived (by boat of course) and we soon settled down for the Brazil v Croatia match.  The local youngsters soon drifted away to play a game of football and watch.  What a great place and a great way to see the World Cup kick off.

Day 5 Friday 13th June

Location - Manaus 

Today it was a canoe safari, we headed into what appeared to be just bushes, but with the flooding we were able to paddle through to a connecting lake. It was a great way to spend 3 hours, we saw a few squirrel monkeys and got biten by who knows what.  At one stage we got lost and ended up way too close to a hornets nest, we soon learnt to paddle backwards pretty quickly.  Our guide also found a sloth bear, strange , weird creatures.

The first jungle trip was over and it was back to the city. We had soon met up with some other mates who had arrived into Manaus that day, checked into our hotel, collected our tickets from the collection point, phewwww no wonder we had built up a thirst!

It was a great atmosphere in the main square, loved it, we settled down for some street food and drank the evening away with the locals.

Day 6 Saturday 14th June

Location - Manaus

Match Day 1 Italy v England
Match day and we meet up with Jon and Sam Osborne, time for a picture in the main square.

We caught an early bus out to the stadium, it was still a very long, slow and hot bus ride, but we soon found a bar near the ground.

Pictures from the game click HERE

Final Score Italy 2 England 1.  Despite the heat and humidity England gave Italy a good game.  Sturridge pulled us back into the game at 1-1 from a Rooney cross, but we managed to somehow go on and lose the game as Baloteli headed in the winner just after half time.

We went for a few beers in Eldorado after the game to let the crowds clear before heading back to central Manaus.

Day 7 Sunday 15th June

Location - Manaus (Boat on the Amazon)

So it was back out to the jungle with 3 different mates.  From the amazing meeting of the 2 rivers to sleeping on the Amazon as the lodge was full, what an experience again, I cannot say the same for sleeping in a hammock!  I got about an hours sleep.  The 5am wind breaking episode with childish laughter for the next hour will live with me for a long time. After an hour and a half speedboat trip to the lodge we then headed out for a very quiet canoe trip - we saw loads of squirrel monkeys.

Day 8 Monday 16th June

Location - Manaus (Amazon lodge)

We celebrate having a room tonight, so yes have a party in our room on our luxury mattresses on the floor - paradise! Also our guide Paulo shows of a fish one of the camp guys had caught (with a net) the previous day - that was dinner sorted for the fish eaters.  Today we went back into the jungle, we found hollow trees. bugs that grew in coconuts and were very sweet to eat, plants that help slow down the effect of snake bites, the same plant can also get you very high!  Paulo was a brilliant guide.

Day 9 Tuesday 17th June

Location - Manaus (Manaus airport floor)

Today we visited a small local community, despite the language barriers we had a great day, the small island was beautiful and the flowers stunning.  They had a very friendly dog who annoyingly liked shoe laces, he took a particular fancy to Fiona's shoes thankfully!

The amazing flora of the Amazon, not sure of the identity of most of these (yes I know the one was definitely banana), our guide only spoke Portuguese or Spanish!

Love this picture Kev took

On reflection my favourite picture!

No comment!
When we arrived back into Manaus the roads were deserted, shops shut and EVERYONE was watching Brazil v Mexico.We missed the game but joined the after game party, it went on and on and as we had no hotel that night kept drinking, then an eat as much as you can restaurant before hitting Manaus airport floor for an hour or twos kip!  The airport was quiet as I closed my eyes and manically busy when I woke up about 4am!

Jays new mate - he smelled lovely!

Above is a picture of Fiona and I with some of our new friends, both students in Manaus.  The bottle of vodka they shared round was a bit rough, I dread to think of the hangovers they would have the next day.  All I can say is that they all know how to party!

Day 10 Wednesday 18th June

Location - Sao Paulo
Travel - Flight from Manuas to Sao Paulo via Brasilia

So it was on to Sao Paulo, direct, no don't be silly, via Brasilia. We didn't have long, so grabbed a Bobs breakfast (the local equivalent of McDonalds) before the tiny FIFA shop, to be honest my local West Hoathly shopped probably had more world cup stock than then.  We were soon back in the queue to board our next flight to Sao Paulo.

We arrive into a COLD Sao Paulo, check in to our hotel and then take a quick stroll to a local bar for the 4pm match.  We watched the 7pm game in the hotel restaurant. It was so so nice to be in a room with proper beds and hot water - it felt like being in Paradise (well you know what I mean!)

Day 11 Thursday 19th June

Location - Sao Paulo

Match Day 2  Uruguay v England
We head out early to the ground and then walk back to a local bar,  The walls had been dramatically covered in some fantastic art.  We found a small bar, they put tables out then an umbrella (for the rain not sun) and we settled down with 600ml bottles of SKOL, no not that Skol but a rather tasty local brew.  We had a fab time with a group of Geordies, local Corinthian fans and a few Uruguay fans plus a mix of other South American supporters.  Several hours later we made it to the ground.

This man crops up all over the place, I think he even challenged and caught a thief at some stage!  The ground was in a slum area, but the locals were so so friendly, not sure how they will benefit from the World Cup, they could hardly afford a beer let alone a match ticket.

BBQ, mobile variety

Pictures from the game click HERE

Final Score Uruguay 2 England 1.  After once again clawing back from 0-1 down we threw away yet another match.  As Italy would not be playing Costa Rica until the next day, mathematically we were not out, but we all new that we were.  We headed back into central Sao Paulo for a few beers with Nigel, Jimmy and Ed, before jumping into a taxi back to our hotel.

Day 12 Friday 20th June

Location - Belo Horizonte 
Travel - Flight from Sao Paulo to Belo Horizonte

I get an emergency exit seat and loads of leg room.  There were a few Iran fans on our flight including somewhat surprisingly a number of women. A good sign! We go into Belo and the place is heaving but we find an Italian and get a prime seat in front of a TV.  Game on and no queue for beers!

We finish up at a cracking restaurant that was not far from our apartment.  We ordered 4 meat dishes at which the waiter baulked, really?  Yes we said!  About 15 minutes later he brought along one dish and we agreed we did't need 3 more!  Also in Belo they insisted on serving one beer between you, it took us 2 days to show them we need a beer each as one bottled lasted about 30 seconds between the 4 of us!

Day 13 Saturday 21st June

Location - Belo Horizonte

Can you spot the real dummies??  Very bizarre, but we came across several manikin shops, plus some normal ones.  Then a man carrying loads of balls turns up!!!!  Nothing surprises me in Brazil.  That evening we ended up on the cocktails again, mmmm this is becoming a bad habit!

Day 14 Sunday 22nd June

Location - Belo Horizonte

The Hippy Market - only in Belo on a Sunday.  Some great stuff available but also plenty of rubbish!The market was massive, hundreds and hundreds of stalls.  Fiona was advised by the local police to put her rucksack on her front and we all kept hands firmly on valuables.  It was an interesting experience to wander amongst the stalls and locals.  We had soon had enough and took a stroll down to the lake as all the locals appeared to do.

Taking pictures of Belo and these young ladies stepped into the middle of my picture - boooooo.  I have kept the picture in the blog to show how they have spoiled the picture.  We ventured to a different part of Belo and once again had a great meal, we watch Portugal scramble a last minute goal to stay in the tournement (for now).  The bar was definitely weird, yes we had found a local gay bar!  As we left we got a very camp courses of "byeeeee" " seee you all later" and a few winks from the local "boys"! 

Day 15 Monday 23rd June

Location - Belo Horizonte

Today we visited the Mercado, a shopping area selling just about anything from budgies, to cheese, to beer, to tiny cups! I think they said that there were over 400 stalls, it was a very interesting couple of hours wandering around.

I know lets juggle in the middle of the road, oh and dip the stick in lighter fuel for fun! Basically they do a quick act whilst the traffic lights are on red and then go and ask the drivers for money.  I can think of easier (and safer) ways to earn a cash, but they seamed to be having fun,

The evening saw Brazil v Cameroon, and what an amazing afternoon/evening/night we had.  Fiona looks at the sizable stack of beer, when we went back the next day it all been drunk, we managed a few of them, oh and some cocktails, starting with a CaipiriKiwi!

My Dutch friends, who later changed to Brazilian shirts!  Is one good team not enough - we stick with England.  Now we had settled down in this bar for the 1pm game, we stayed until the end of the Brazil match about 7pm and had drunk half of the cocktail menu.  Nelson takes the plaudits though as he ended up ordering just a plain boring vodka.  To liven it up he added the contents of the chile concoction that had come with the seafood platters.  He went rapidly downhill from that point.  I ended up on Pina Coladas, why? How?  Still I enjoyed them!

Party party party rest cold beer party party part repeat until the early hours of the morning!  Fiona was soon dancing with the main man, Rooooooooneeeyyyyyyyyy" and we had a great few hours dancing and drinking in the streets of Belo.  There were thousands and thousands of people about. They had put on dancing acts, music and everywhere there were street vendors selling beer - love it!

Day 16 Tuesday 24th June

Location - Belo Horizonte

Match Day 3 Costa Rica v England

It was a bit of a struggle getting up today, way way tooo many cocktails the night before.  Nels regretted his vodka chili drink and saw his breakfast again a couple of times!  We recovered after our coffee and egg sandwich, we had struggled to find somewhere to eat but a local came to our rescue, came into a deli and ordered all our food for us, this summed up the great hospitality we received.  We moved on and found a bar in a garden centre (honestly!) and settled down for a few cold ones.  The team coaches drove past, people were up and cheering as the Costa Rica team went by, every sat and carried  on drinking when the England one arrived!

My new Costa Rican mates
Despite the 0-0 draw, the previous 2 defeats and finishing bottom of the group the players get an amazing reception as they come over to thank the fans for making the long trip to Brazil.

The queues for the buses back to the Savassi area of Belo were heaving, so we headed to the Comfort hotel bar for a couple of hours.  We managed to consume 4 pizzas and numerous beers in a nice air conditioned restaurant and free WIFI.  We soon heard and the saw the pictures of the Saurez cannibal act.  The man is a great footballer, yes world class, but sadly a massive liability. 

Pictures from the game click HERE

Final Score Costa Rica 0 England 0

So we got a point but still finished bottom of the group.  Oh well time for another night out in Belo before heading down to Rio for 5 nights. We all met up back in Savassi and had another cracking evening out.  The result was soon forgotten, roll on another can of Brahma!

Day 17 Wednesday 25th June

Location - Rio 
Travel - Flight from Belo Horizonte to Rio

A great view as we fly into the domestic airport in Rio, JC tries a bit of wing walking!  It was a very steep decent into the airport and we had been told it was a short runway, the almost immediate slamming on of brakes by the pilot on this man made island for the airport appeared to back up this point.  We got a great view of the Maracarna (and another not yet identified stadium)

So we land in Rio and head of to our apartment, an amazing place on Isle De Giagio, what a find Fiona.  We were picked up from the airport and made the short (but long due to the usual hideous city traffic) and parked up by a Shell garage.  Little known to use you go round the back and there was the island and the little boats to take you over.  You had to take a water taxi (luckily they run 24/7 and cost about 25p) and the journey was all of 45 seconds and we had docked!

We find a cracking restaurant, we became locals!
Day 18 Thursday 26th June
Location - Rio

Today we hit our local beach, just 17kms of perfect sand.  The water was so inviting, I couldn't resist it for long! Wespent the day on the beach chilling out after all the travelling and rushing around we had been doing.  It felt like part two of the holiday now that England were out and hence we had no more games/new cities to visit or try and book up.

We met up with our mates Sara and Stee for a fun evening.  We had some beers back at the apartment and were visited by what looked like giant rats when they first scuttled along the wall and took us by surprise.  Later on we worked out they were Coatis!  We saw than again the next night.

Day 19 Friday 27th June
Location - Rio
Time to be a tourist

I don't think words add anything, the pictures say it all.  We wandered around the sight taking in the views over Rio, you could see for miles and the haze made for some stunning pictures.

I love the florescent pink JC, so so tempting, luckily the lack of room in my luggage meant just a tacky fridge magnet to add to the collection.

So in the afternoon it was off to Sugar Loaf, well to join the queue to start with.  It was only about two hours!!!

More amazing graffiti

It was well worth the queue, some of the most stunning views I have ever seen in my life.  Breathtaking, it really really was breathtaking.  Once again the pictures say it all so I will stop writing now......

You can see Copacabana beach and the Fan Park (bit of a blurry picture) from Sugar Loaf.  Its amazing how you can see Sugar Loaf and JC from so many parts of Rio, I dont think any other city has anything like this, possibly Table Mountain in Cape Town.

Well what can I say, what a brilliant day. Rio is such a superb place to visit.  When can we go back!  Soon please. It had been a long tiring day, but all I can really say is WOW, stunning, lived up to everything I had hoped and expected.

Day 20 Saturday 28th June

 Location - Rio

A lazy day staying staying locally and just watching football with the locals.   We soon got talking to the locals who were waiting with massive expectation and anticipation for the next Brazil game v Chile.

Off go the fireworks, yes Brazil win the round of 16 v Chile on penalties, so yes it was time for another party.  Our small island was a pretty happy place that evening.  We went back to the apartment to change and then almost instantly back out for the next match.  We did move bars, all of 3 tables, well we didn't want to wear ourselves out!

A massive meal and the odd ice cold beer and all for less then £10 a head.  mmmmmmmm nice.  Another lazy day and too much beer but I love this World Cup lark, is there a better place to see a world cup than in Brazil.

Day 21 Sunday 29th June

Location - Rio

Time to head to Copa, Copacabana

Me, JC and Neymar, can you tell which is which?

The mural that is being filled in as things happen in the World Cup.  The outline for action from the quarter finals had already been drawn in outline.  Hopefully we will get to see what it looks like at the end of the tournament.  We walked the full length of Copacabana (5km) to visit the FIFA shop and meet Jay, Pocket Rocket and Boothy.

There were various sand sculptures along the beach, I like this one showing the world cup and Olympics.  Will the infrastruce and new metro be ready by 2016?  Maybe, maybe not!  They don't appear to be in a hurry!

We visit the FIFA shop on Copacabana beach then settle down for Mexico v Holland.  We supported Mexico (Mekiko!) and our new friends are gutted as Holland score 2 late goals to go through.

So our final evening and we headed back to our favourite restaurant.  Once again they did not let us down and we finished with another great meal and cold Antarctic beer.  Perfect.

Day 22 Monday 30th June

Location - Home
Travel -  Flight from Rio to London Heathrow via Curitaba & Sao Paulo

A long long day of travel today.  We had to give our keys to the apartment back at 10am, we then whiled away a couple of hours in our local bar.  The island appeared to be full of monkeys this morning. Soon it was time for our taxi to Rio international airport for our flight back to Heathrow. This was however after 2 internal flights from Rio to Curitaba to Sao Paulo.  Then it was the 23.50 flight (changed to 23.30) back home.

We caught the second half of France v Nigeria at Rio airport, they had kindly put up a big screen in the departure lounge. We also saw about 5 minutes of Germany v Algeria at Curitaba, but as only had a few minutes connection time to Sao Paulo could not risk seeing any more of it!

Day 23 Tuesday 1st July

Location - In the air and then home!
World Cup Pressie for myself!!!!

In the air most of the day as the 23.30 Sao Paulo flight time was 3.30am UK time.  The flying time was just under 12 hours and we landed at the new terminal 2 at Heathrow just after 3pm.  I had arranged a taxi home so we got home to West Hoathly about 5.30.  To save cooking me, Kev and Fi headed to the Tarana curry house and watched Argentina v Switzerland on Kevs tablet!  So that's another fantastic World Cup adventure over.  What's next, well it's Switzerland away in 10 weeks!  Yipeeeeeeeeee

So what a trip, a massive thanks to Kevin and Fiona for there company for the whole trip, to Nigel, Ed, Jimmy, Paul, Boothy, Jay, Michael, Nelson,  Sara, Stee and everyone else we met up with and especially to all the Brazilians we met, the many many other South Americans, I love these trips.

So if you have got this far and want to see more pictures please click HERE

Mark R

Summary Flights
Gatwick to Lisbon  978 miles
Lisbon to Sao Paulo 4,275 miles
Sau Paulo to Manaus 1,667 miles
Manaus to Brasilia 1,201 miles
Brasilia to Sao Paulo 541 miles
Sao Paulo to Belo Horizonte 316 miles
Belo Horizonte to Rio 226 miles
Rio to Curitaba 419 miles
Curitaba to Sao Paulo 208 miles
Sao Paulo to Heathrow 5,887 miles

Total miles flown 15,718!



jane said...

sounds wonderful all round.

Lee B said...

Throughly enjoyed reading that, I am hoping to make my England Away Debut in October at Estonia, wether or not ill get a ticket is a different matter. Great read, From a Boro fan.

Lee B said...

Sorry about that, Double post!

Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff, good on you, one in the eye to all the NSC doom-merchants when you first posted your plans.