1. It’s not always sunny in Rio de Janeiro! Our first two days were actually overcast and wet, which unfortunately limits your options in a city so focused on it’s beaches and mountains. We did do a walking tour of the historical Centro though, which was well worth it.
2. Pay-by-weight food is a THING here. The traditional way of eating out apparently, in which a buffet is either all-you-can-eat for a set cost, or pay for each plate by it’s weight. This led to a lot of confusion for us the first time around.
3. The reputation for being dangerous is somewhat undeserved. We didn’t feel threatened at any point and it’s just a case of being smart with your belongings and watching what the locals do e.g. you’ll rarely see carioca walking down the street with their phone out. However, EVERYONE steps inside a building and keeps their bags close on public transport.
4. Football isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life for many. It’s not a shock that football is popular here, but it was a surprise to see the extent to which it was visible: from the beaches, to the streets, to the Maracana, people were playing football everywhere. Going to a game was one of our favourite things we did in our time in RJ.
5. The sheer amount of paper and plastic needlessly used is mind boggling. This isn’t intended to be a sneer, it’s just mad. Cutlery in every restaurant is provided in a new paper or plastic bag. Bus tickets are about 6 pages long. Supermarket groceries are wrapped in about 5 times more plastic than necessary. Safe to say the hand-wringing of Britain has not hit Brazil yet!