10 Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

 

Sugarloaf

This is one of Rio’s most beautiful landmarks and probably one of my favorites. The Sugarloaf Mountain is comprised by two separate mountains. In order to visit, you must ride a cable car from the base to the top of the first mountain and then you need to ride another cable car to the top of the second mountain. Once you get to the second mountain, there is a relaxing small park with a trail around it. If you are lucky, you might encounter a couple of little monkeys and beautiful birds.

The whole visit should take you approximately 2,5 hrs. to complete. I would recommend combining that with a visit to the Red Beach at the bottom. This way you can fully experience the Sugarloaf from the bottom to the top.

I recommend starting in the morning by visiting the mountains first then coming back down for the Red Beach and the trail. I feel like you can enjoy more this way.

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Christ the Redeemer – Corcovado

This is a must see in Rio!
You don’t need to be religious to enjoy this landmark. This place is fantastic and provides you with a 360 degree view of the city of Rio! You take a train up to the top and once you get there, you must walk flight of stairs to get to Christ’s base. There’s a chapel inside the monument but unfortunately a trip into the arms is not available to the public.

It can be very crowded during the day making it stressful to take a perfect picture with the Christ or to take pictures of the landscape below.  I recommend going in the morning or late afternoon to avoid big crowds. Also, choose to go when the day is clear. You can’t see much when the day is cloudy.

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Escadaria Selaron

This is one small spot in Rio that is worth seeing. At Escadaria Selaron, take time and see the different countries represented and artists honored on the staircase. It is usually a very busy place, so people are always around. Lapa, Escadaria Selaron and the Santa Teresa Tram station are walking distance from each other, so you can plan an afternoon to see all three.
R. Joaquim Silva, S/N – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20241-110, Brazil

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Santa Teresa Tram

This tram goes through Santa Teresa and on top of Lapa Bridge into the other side. The tram is yellow, very vintage like and small. The ride is free so expect lots of tourists to be waiting at the station for a ride. Each tram can take up to 40-45 people.
You can plan to visit Lapa, Escadaria Selaron and walk up to the tram station for a ride. You can also do the reverse itinerary, leaving from Rua Lelio Gama which is very close to Metro Carioca Station.

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Forte de Copacabana

Located a few blocks south from Copacabana Palace, Copacabana Fort is a former military base that provides you with a beautiful view of Copacabana. For about $2 you can walk around the grounds and visit their museum and café. Make sure to walk all the way to the end of the fort so you can enjoy the best views of Copacabana!
http://www.fortedecopacabana.com/historical-museum-of-the-army-and-copacabana-fort.html

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Feira de Sao Cristovao

Located outside of Rio City, in Sao Cristovao, this is an attraction for the ones who wish to see more of Rio. It is a great place to buy souvenirs for cheap and to experience some of the culture from the North of Brazil. This place is of a size of soccer stadium and is full of tents, where people sell all sorts of things. There are a couple of restaurants serving food from the Northern region and stages where people perform typical dances. It is very entertaining!

Rua Campo De Sao Cristovao | Sao Cristovao, Rio de Janeiro,State of Rio de Janeiro 20921-440, Brazil

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Maracana

Maracana is among the five biggest soccer stadiums in the world. Recently renovated for the World Cup, Maracana is able to host about 78,000 fans. We went to Maracana to watch a match between Fluminense and Gremio. The teams were from different states so the match was friendly and energetic. When the teams from the same state play against each other, the matches can become more heated. Either way, it will sure be a good time!

Av. Pres. Castelo Branco, s/n – Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20271-130, Brazil

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Jardim Botanico

This place is stunning! Jardim Botanico (Botanic Garden) hosts some of the most beautiful tropical flowers and plants worth seeing. Jardim Botanico is a place to unwind and breathe fresh air. However, it is a popular place and the line to buy tickets can get very long. If possible, try visiting the park on a weekday.

  1. Jardim Botânico, 1008 – Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22460-030, Brazil

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Copacabana Beach

This is the most popular beach in Rio, and possibly in the world! Like all other beaches in Brazil, Copacabana is a public beach and is open to its visitors 24/7. Obviously, the beach is very busy during the day with people exercising and bathing. When the sun goes down, the entertainment is moved to the edge of the beach where various tent bars open so people can get some food and drinks. In Copacabana beach you can get coconut water and alcohol anytime.  Beautiful sand sculptures are displayed for the tourists by South American artists. It is free to take pictures but the artists expect contributions.

You can also rent a bike and ride up and down the famous wavy boardwalk of Copacabana.

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Praia Vermelha
Praia Vermelha (Red Beach) is located at the bottom of Sugarloaf Mountain. There you can enjoy a more intimate beach or a nice walk around the sugarloaf. At the trail you are able to see various birds flying around and little monkeys jumping from tree to tree.

 

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References and Tips

Stay:
When looking for a hotel, give preference to the ones located at the beach front so you would be closer to the main attractions.  At Atlantica Avenue, there are several options that you can choose, ranging from two to five star hotels.

Safety:
As with many big cities, it’s so important to be cautious and responsible. To prevent any bad experiences, take into consideration some helpful safety tips:

  • Look like a local – when traveling in Rio, dress as basic as you can. Avoid flashy types of clothes, watches, jewelry and electronics in public. Look like a local.
  • Watch the drinking – make sure that you are in a safe place with safe company before starting the heavy drinking. Illegal substances easily circulate in the nightlife scenario, so it is important to be cautious when it comes to alcohol.
  • Pick up a map – before heading to Rio, make sure to learn about where you’ll stay and the surroundings from a map. Once you’re there, try to plan your routes before heading out of the hotel instead of utilizing a map in the middle of the city.

Currency and Money:
Right now it is a great time to visit Brazil as the exchange rate is approximately $1 to R$4.00 .When going to restaurants and paying for entrances at attractions, you can and should use your credit card. Most of the financial institutions in the U.S. do not usually charge you any fees for using your card abroad. Make sure to consult your credit card company before leaving home. When in Rio, bring your credit cards but also bring cash with you. You will need cash to buy a metro ticket or delicious coconut water at the beach!

Transportation:
Take advantages of tours when available. If you’d rather do each attraction on your own, I recommend using taxi cabs. The concierge from the hotel should be able to call a cab for you.
When going to farther places, you might want to take advantage of the metro system, too. Sometimes they can be quicker than cabs.

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Simple Kneaded Homemade Bread

Simple Kneaded Homemade Bread is a Brazilian recipe that is very easy to follow. This is a bread recipe that is perfect for breakfast next day or afternoon snack. You can be creative and add all sorts of things such as coconut, crystalized fruit or raisins to give an extra taste. This time, I made a simple recipe and didn’t add anything to it. The choice is yours!

Level of difficulty: Easy

Time spent: 10 min to knead
2 hours for the dough to rise
30 min to bake

Ingredients:

1 egg
300 g of bread or all-purpose flour
250ml of warm milk
6 table spoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of butter
1 and ½ envelopes of Yeast
1 yok to brush the top of the bread
More flour to reach the right consistency

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Tools:

Your hands and muscles
A roll (recommended)
A culinary brush (recommended)
Blender
Big mixing bowl
Wooden spoon

How to make it:

Grab the 300 g of flour and pour in the mixing bowl. Reserve.

Warm the milk then put all first six ingredients from the list in the blender. Leave it on for about a minute, until the yeast is completely blended in the mixture.

Pour the mixture on top of the flour in the mixing bowl. With a wooden spoon, mix the content together until it starts to become solid. Put the spoon away and start adding flour to the mixture.  At this time, start kneading the dough with your hands and keep adding flour until the dough is not sticking to your fingers anymore. Use the roll to help with this process. Once it becomes good homogenous dough, cover the mixing bowl with a paper towel and a kitchen towel on top of it. Reserve it to rise for about 1 hour.

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After an hour…..

Go back to the dough and knead it some more.  Use the roll to spread the dough a couple of times. Bring it back to the mixing bowl, cover all up again and let it rise for another hour.

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After another hour…

Turn on the oven on 300F. Knead the dough one more time. Model your bread and place it on a butter greased tray.
Grab the yok (only the yok) and beat it on a separate bowl. With the culinary brush, spread the yok on top of your bread so that it grabs a nice tan while in the oven!
Put the bread in the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes. Check with a fork to see if bread is done. Enjoy!

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My Tips:
When greasing the tray, it makes it helpful to powder some flour in it also in order to help release the bread afterwards.
Place a tray or an aluminum cup filled with water in the oven when putting the bread in the oven to bake. It helps with the humidity inside the oven causing the crust to be crunchy but the inside of the bread to be soft.

Let me know in your comments below if you have done it or if you have any good tips for bread making!

Cheers,
Tee

 

5 days in Ouro Preto

I am originally from Brazil. Although I was born and raised in Sao Paulo, the majority of my family is from another state: Minas Gerais. Last summer, my husband and I took a trip to Brazil where we spent about six weeks visiting family and friends. During our time there, we took a few days to visit the Cidades Historicas de Minas Gerais (historic cities of Minas Gerais) to include Ouro Preto, Tiradentes, Mariana, Sao Joao Del Rei e Congonhas. We took 5 days to make this visit perfect!

I don’t usually drive in Brazil, so we rely on public transportation for the majority of our trips in the country. It is usually available and it makes the adventure more fun when we are there. So, to get to our main location, Ouro Preto, we took a flight from Sao Paulo to Belo Horizonte (Capital of Minas Gerais) and then we got a shuttle from the airport to the bus station and a bus from there to Ouro Preto. IT DOES seem like a lot, but there’s no other way to get there, unless you drive.  About driving – you might not want to drive in Minas Gerais, especially in Ouro Preto. This state is known for its mountain landscapes therefore the roads can be very sinuous to drive on. Ouro Preto in particular, is a very hilly city, very tricky to drive. So I left it to the locals.

Well than here it would be Day 1:

  • Flight from Sao Paulo to Pampulha Airport (Belo Horizonte)
    1 hour $150
  • Shuttle from Pampulha Airport to bus terminal
    30 min  FREE
  • At the bus terminal, take bus to Ouro Preto with the company Passaro Verde
    2 hrs R$30

We are huge advocates for AirBnB. We stayed with an amazing host in Ouro Preto. Beautiful house and amazing reception. With Airbnb you can get wonderful rates and an amazing experience. So, before searching for hotels, take a look at Airbnb to see if you find something you might like and message the host for further information. The communication with our host was wonderful and he was very kind to come and receive us at the bus station to take us to his home. There he showed us the house and the room where we going to stay. He gave us a key and a map. He was by far the  best hosts we ever met through Airbnb.

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So as far as Day 1, get settled, get a map and go out to hunt for a place to eat.

Ouro Preto means Black Gold in English and it is a city listed on the world heritage list of UNESCO. It was founded at the end of the 17th century, and was the focal point of the gold mining in Brazil’s back in the 18th century. With the exhaustion of the gold mines in the 19th century, the city’s influence declined but many churches, bridges and fountains remain as a testimony to its past prosperity and the exceptional talent of the Baroque sculptor Aleijadinho (UNESCO). This extended to the nearby towns along the Estrada Real (Royal highway) to include Mariana, Congonhas, Sao Joao Del Rei and Tiradentes.

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Since our stay was in Ouro Preto, we decided to take tours to the nearby small towns so we can optimize our time and learn about the architecture of the places. We found a very nice day-long tour that took you around the other historic towns.  The tour takes up the full day, only about 5 people come at a time and the driver picks you up at the place you are staying. Tours like that are not too hard to find online and most hotels will facilitate booking for a tour. We decided to take two tours.

Day 2: Tour Ouro Preto e Mariana
This was our second day in Ouro Preto. We were picked up at the house at 8:00am to join the other group members to initiate our tour. During this tour we made a couple of stops around Ouro Preto to include one of their smaller mines, the artisan market, a gem jewelry shop and a couple of churches. The biggest highlight of this tour for me was visiting the Francisco de Assis church, it is lovely! The church of Saint Francis of Assissi is a rococo Catholic Church, with the entire inside art done by the most famous sculptor of the state, Aleijadinho. The church is located in downtown Ouro Preto and is open for visitation most days of the week from 8:30am – 5:00pm.
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In Mariana, we visited some of their other churches. You will see that there are a lot of churches in this area. Lots! But each one has so much art and history inside that it is beyond amazing. The tours are often offered in Portuguese, but I believe that English tours are also offered. Our tours were in Portuguese so I would translate all to my husband.

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The tour ended about 5:00pm that day and it was becoming dark, what I call, dinner time! Downtown Ouro Preto there are so many cute little restaurants serving typical state food in a large variety of dishes. There are a couple of places that serve Italian and American, too.

A taxi cab from any point A to any point B will cost you R$20 (reais). So, plan to spend that much at least once a day. Going down the hills is easy; going back up is more challenging, especially after having had a lot of good food!

Day 3: Tour Congonhas, Sao Joao Del Rei and Tiradentes

Sao Joao Del Rei is the farthest destination of this tour, so we decided to take this tour on day 3 of our trip. Again, the van driver came to pick us up at the house by 8:00am so we could initiate our tour. In this tour we got to see a variety of places to include some of Aleijadinho’s paintings and golden plated interior churches, visit the house of a famous wood sculptor and go in a bigger mine by the end of the tour. It was a beautiful day and worth every minute!

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We were dropped off at downtown Ouro Preto and it was time to hunt for a place to eat. This night we went to this tavern called Restaurante Café Gerais, which is a very intimate and romantic place. There, my husband and I got to try one of their local brews, Ouropretana.

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Day 4: Explore Ouro Preto on our own
On Day 4 we woke up at around 9 or so. Mornings can be chilly in the Mineiro winter! So we showered, had breakfast and went down the hill towards downtown.
As we got to the downtown area, we went to a the Casa da Moeda where in the past it served as money printing house but now it functions as a museum/ art gallery free of charge. When you visit the upper floor, the view from there is simply charming.

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We went up to Tiradentes Square and decided to grab something to eat. On the way out of the restaurant we passed by a Cachacaria shop (Rum factory shop). They were offering a Cachaca (Brazilian rum) tasting that day. I felt like we had to stop and go in. There were about six kinds of cachaça to try, and as a good ol’ rum you just drink up as a shot. We were feeling great after leaving the cachacaria!
The name of the place is Cachacaria Milagre de Minas. Worth checking out and buying some rum!
After that we went uphill and visited the Museum of Science and Technique of Ouro Preto. It offers a great photo opportunity from up there! The museum is supported by the Federal University of Ouro Preto and displays different expositions of natural history and science. My favorite part was the gem stones section. We were able to see several variations of gem stones found in the mines nearby and state wide. So many different colors and names!

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By the time we were done visiting these two places, we were ready to have some food and drinks. I cannot remember what place we went to that night but I guarantee it was good.

Day 5: Souvenir shopping

On day 5 we went to the Confidencia Museum and Our Lady of Carmo church, both by Tiradentes square. The museum walks you through a timeline in Brazilian history displaying original artifacts from that era. Lots of royal and colonial objects can be found there.

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Our Lady of Carmo church was another church to visit. Not surprisingly, an amazing interior full of history and art was there to be appreciated.

We stopped by an ice cream shop after leaving the church. It seemed appropriate 🙂

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After that I made sure I took some time to do some shopping. I confess that I am a big souvenir person, but I like grabbing things that represent the culture and the place. Since I live far from home, those little things kind of bring home close to me here in the U.S. Among the things I made sure to bring home were banana rum, a bottle of Ouropretana beer, cookies, wooden sculptures, magnets (of course) and a homemade bath mat. At the artisan market place you will see lots of limestone works; they are beautiful and reasonably priced. The reason why I did not purchase any of them was because I did not want to carry too much weight back home since we each had a carry on and a backpack.

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Day 6: Head home.

Quick references and tips:

Stay:

Find something interesting at https://www.airbnb.com/

Our Host in Ouro Preto and his listings can be found at:

https://www.airbnb.co.in/users/show/11807212

Year calendar of events:

http://www.ouropretomg.com/ouro-preto-events

Packing:

Pack light

Student discounts:

Most churches require a fee. Most of them accept student ID’s for 50% off discount. Bring that with you, if you have one.

Tours:
http://www.ouropretomg.com/ouro-preto-tours

Cheers,

Tee

How to successfully visit Foz do Iguacu (Iguazu Falls) region in little time?

For this trip we did not have a lot of time, only two full days and two half days. So things had to be planed down to all the little details.

One thing about me: I love making the best of the least. I knew that time was short but I wanted to visit all the main attractions in the area.
Here are the things I consider to be the main attractions in Foz do Iguacu:

  • Iguazu National Park (Argentina’s Side)
  • Iguazu National Park (Brazilian’s Side)
  • Bird Park
  • Binational hydroelectric power plant (Brazil and Paraguay)

Those were the main places to see during our stay. Everything else would be a bonus to us.

A little about the Iguazu Falls:
guazu National Park, with the Falls as its main feature, was added to the World Heritage List for two reasons: its exceptional natural beauty and because it’s the habitat of rare and endangered species.

The Argentinian side of the park measures 49.200 ha. The adjacent Brazilian side is another World Heritage Site.
The waterfalls on both sides together span over 2700 m., and have a height of 80 m.Iguazu is an indigenous (Tupi-Guarani) name, meaning Great Waters (worldheritage.org).

Important note: this trip was taken during Brazilian winter at a temperature of high 70’s.

To find a good place to stay we searched at AirBnB. We found this place made out of ship containers that looked really cool. They have a very nice atmosphere, they offer breakfast and they have an indoor bar. It was an easy decision for us! The hotel is called Tetris and is located walking distance to downtown and to bus stops.

Tetris

We were coming from Rio this time, and we left there in the morning to arrive in Foz midafternoon.  The airport in Foz is very close to the main road where the hotel was so it took us no time to arrive at the place. We checked in and we arranged with the receptionist for a next day tour to the falls on the Argentina’s side.

In the evening, we went out to buy a plug adaptor on a nearby grocery store. It happens that this place has adopted the new Brazilian standards of outlets and the hotel ran out of adaptors to sell. Without one we wouldn’t be able to charge anything for the next day.

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We found the adaptor and a very nice little restaurant down ways from the hotel where we went for dinner. We had typical Brazilian bar food and Bhrama beer.

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Next day – Tour Falls Argentina

The tour picked us up at 8:00 am in order to initiate the day. In the tour there were 8 of us, all different nationalities. It is important to remember that Argentina may require you to pay for a reciprocity fee in order to be admitted in the country. Me as Brazilian did not have to worry about that. However, my husband for being an American was required to pay for the reciprocity fee. This fee is something that can be processed and paid online and IN ADVANCE. The link for that is found below. Make sure to print several copies for your record too.

http://www.embassyofargentina.us/en/consular-section/reciprocity-fee-for-us-citizens.html

So we headed to Argentina. Technically only 20 minutes away from the hotel but since we had some complications with the van we were in, we had to stop at the bridge that connects Brazil and Argentina for a couple of minutes until the new van came along. Some would say “bummer” but I’d say “awesome” because it gave us the opportunity to be in two places at the same time! (How cool is that?).
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The tour guide is responsible for taking our passports and reciprocity fees (when applicable) and take to the immigration officer. She quickly gets all passports stamped and we continue to roll.

Our first stop was at the “mark of three frontiers” (marco das tres fronteiras). From there we were standing in Argentina but looking over the river we could see both Paraguay and Brazil. Another cool thing was that this place is where two rivers meet, Iguacu and Parana. You can clearly see them meeting when looking at the waters!
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We headed to the park. The entrance fee was included in tour but the fees are based on your nationality- if South American you pay one price, if from elsewhere you pay another.  In text tip: when in the park in Argentina, make sure to bring Pesos. They do not convert well when using foreign currencies and you may end up losing money when spending money there.

I am so glad that we took a tour that day. The Argentinian side is full of trails where you are in direct touch with nature. Those are trails located directly above the top of every water fall. Such an exhilarating experience! I am sure that it would take much longer to complete those trails if we didn’t have a tour guide.

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Our highlight was being at the top of the Devil’s throat. Wow. Just, wow.

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I wore my Fitbit and I remember getting about 25,000 steps through the day. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

In the park, you have the choice to pay a little extra for a boat ride. I confess that I did not ride it because I was scared. Very scared of the water as well as scared of the way it took to get to the boat. It seemed very slippery! You might think differently, so don’t be discouraged!

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http://www.iguazufallsexcursions.info

Our tour ended at about 6:00pm with our return to Brazil. We arrived completely tired but so happy with how the day went. We showered and we went out to grab a bite to eat. As we returned to the hotel we sat by their bar to drink some beer and play cards. Great night!

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Following Day – Brazilian side + Bird Park

Ok, these two were very convenient. The bird park is located down the road from the Iguacu National Park. We left in the morning at about 8:30am and took the bus from across the street. We did not book a tour for that one. The bus was a straight shot from where we were and it took about 30 min to get there. The bus number is 120 – Parque Nacional and it cost about R$2,65.

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We got to the park, paid the entrance, got into a shuttle and we were dropped off at the end by the trail. The way I describe the experience at the falls from the Brazilian side is that you have a VIP view of the whole thing. It is stunning! You do get to experience nature by walking on the pathway that leads you closer to the falls. In text tip: bring a rain coat for that. You get wet as you are walking on the pathway.

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Lots of wildlife is around – many raccoon like creatures that walk around among the visitors and beautiful birds and butterflies flying around. Now, watch for your food and your belongings, because those raccoons love to steal them! In text tip: if one of those creatures steals something from you, let go, don’t fight it. They can scratch you and give you diseases.

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The highlight of the day to me was seeing a toucan flying free in the wild among us. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!

To walk around the falls took us only about 2 hours. It is much smaller compared to the Argentinian side. Of course, another boat ride was available if you were willing to pay a little extra. Again, I declined. Just can’t do it!
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At around 12 or so we left the Iguacu Falls and headed down the road to the Bird Park. My husband is terrified of birds while I just love them. I appreciate his bravery going with me to this park because as you walk through the park, most exhibitions consist of you walking in the bird sanctuaries and being face to face with those birds. The best part was the macaws’ bird cage. There should have been about 100 macaws in that enormous sanctuary.  They were loud and they would fly freely from side to side. I was absolutely amused while my husband was terrified. But he was also excited to be facing that fear and experiencing such a thing.

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At the end of the exhibit, you were able to hold macaws on your arms. That’s when my dream came true and my husband became a “zoom” specialist photographer hahaha

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After the bird park we took the bus back getting off at the hotel. It was about 4:30 so we decided to grab some drinks until it was time for dinner.

Last day – Itaipu Binational Power Plant

We made sure to get up early, pack and check out before doing anything. We left our bags in a locker room while we went to the Binational in the morning. Our flight would leave only at 3pm so we had some time to kill.

We took a cab to get there and paid for an English tour, which cost us about R$25 reais each.

This power plant is one of the biggest in the country and it is shared with Brazil’s neighbor Paraguay. The tour here includes a visit inside the property where they show visitors how things work with all of the giant turbines. Within the property, you can cross freely between Brazil and Paraguay, since Itaipu is located in both countries. It is incredible to see how everything works and how big things are in a power plant.

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Between Brazil and Paraguay

The tour shouldn’t take more than about 1 or so hours to finish.  We planned with the cab driver who took us there, to pick us up at a certain time. This way, we made sure to leave the Binational at a good time to make it back to the hotel.

We headed back to the hotel, where we picked up our bags and left to go to the airport.

And that was our quick trip to Iguazu Falls!

Quick reference and tips:

Where we stayed:
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4508243

Check if you need a visa:
http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/accesible/indexN.php?visas

For Americans only:
http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/argentina.html

Iguazu Falls Argentina:
http://www.iguazuargentina.com/en/

Iguazu Falls Brazil:
http://www.cataratasdoiguacu.com.br/portal/paginas/131-natural-heritage-site.aspx

Destination: New Zealand

It is really hard to have short arms when you wish to hug the world. Wanderlust is a serious condition! My husband and I have big travel plans for the next few years. Only problem is, cost of it all. That’s when the strategic planning comes into play. We already have Machu Pichu, Chile, Italy and Amsterdam down on our list of places to go, but lets start talking about New Zealand.

New Zealand…a country that is located on the other side of the world, having about 4.5 million people and some of the most breath taking landscapes on earth. Airfare can be very pricey leaving the U.S. but it could be a break even cost if you can manipulate cost once you’re there. I found that New Zealand recruit workers for several different positions during the year. Now it is important to remember that because New Zealand is located in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are backwards from us here in the US. So technically, our summer here means winter to them.

Winter in New Zealand can reach -15 C there. Temperature decreases as you move south in the country. So if we go to NZ in our U.S. summer time we might want to stay by Auckland to avoid extreme cold temperatures (NZ winter).  Of course there would be much more to do during their summer but I can see the charm during their winter too. Actually, the most ideal time to go would be early winter.

New Zealand offers lots of seasonal jobs year round it looks like. I will have to dig into it more in order to learn more about it, but the info I found on Snow Season Central website made the experience pretty exciting!

Check it out at the link below:

http://www.snowseasoncentral.com/work-a-winter-snow-season-in-new-zealand

New Zealand is a beautiful place, plus, have you seen the hobbit houses?

I will definitely follow up on this post once I obtain more solid information on New Zealand traveling,work and stay.

Cheers,

Tee

 

 

Wedding Bouquet and Boutonniere

A friend of mine invited me to be one of her bridesmaids for her big day. She and her, now husband, decided to tie the knot last December in a small civil ceremony with a small reception for friends and family. They are still planning to make a bigger celebration in the future so both of their families are able to celebrate, since she is from Brazil and he is from the U.S. Even though they decided on a small ceremony first, I wanted her to have a very special day. One way I found to help with that was to make her a bouquet and him a boutonniere.

Naturally, I went online to search for some inspiration and a tutorial on how to do it. I chose to incorporate some soft colors with eucalyptus to give that romantic look to it.  At the end, I was very happy with the results, and so were they 🙂

The whole process took me about 1 hour to make and the materials were easy to find.

Where to find flowers?
I went to both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to find the flowers I was looking for. They have a great selection, great prices and they seem to be always fresh.

Where to find craft materials?
I went to Michael’s and Joann Fabrics to find the ribbon, plant tape, glue,lace etc. They most certainly have all of that there.

Here is what you will need to make your bouquet and boutonniere:

– Flowers of your choice (For this bouquet I used eucalyptus, hydrangea, roses, peonies and baby’s breath)

-Flower tape

-Satin ribbon (not wired)

-Lace ribbon

-Glue

-Glue gun

– Scisors

– Flower pins

-String

Step 1: Have a clear working surface and open up all of the flower bunches releasing them from the elastic tie. Separate them by type and lay the flowers on the surface area. Separate the flowers that you will use for the boutonniere and reserve.

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Step 2: Put flowers together starting with the biggest flowers and adding the others around. I personally saved the eucalyptus and the baby’s breath for last because they will give your bouquet volume and charm at the end. The smaller head flowers can also be added at the end (as if you were pinning the bouquet with them) in order to add color to it.
Before tying them together, make sure you are happy with how they came together.

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Step 3: Make sure to hold the bouquet tightly with one hand while you start tying it together. Depending on the thickness of the bouquet, you may want to use an elastic band first before using the tape.
Get the tape and start taping around the bouquet for about 4-5 inches or so. Cut the tape and release. Make sure it is all very secure before moving on to the next step.

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Step 4: Grab the ribbon of your choice and wrap it around the bouquet. Wrap it in a way that it overlaps but not so much. Just about a half inch each turn. After the first turn, put a slab of glue at the beginning of the ribbon and glue the first round of ribbon. Keep wrapping until about 4-5 inches down the bouquet. Glue the end of the ribbon at the last round of wrapping. Use flower pins to pin down the ribbon in a row but ATTENTION: make sure that the pin doesn’t go through the other side, you don’t want have a bloody hand bride! When pinning, pin it in a 45 degree angle to be safe.

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Step 5: Here you can decorate it with lace or other decoration item that you please. That could be another type of ribbon, rosary bids, something borrowed, a pin… After all of that is done, cut the ends of the bouquet in a 45 degree angle to easily absorb water. Find a jar, fill about 1-2 inches of water and place the bouquet in it so it doesn’t die. You can choose to put it in the fridge as well. Remember that if you are using roses and hydrangeas, you might want to make the bouquet the day of. Those types of flowers do not last very long.

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Boutonniere
For the boutonniere all you will need are:

-Glue and glue gun

-two flowers of your choice (choose the smaller ones)

-small width ribbon

-string

-flower pins

How to make it:

Separate the flowers that you are gonna use on your boutonniere and reserve. I used baby’s breath and another type that I cannot recall (sorry) as they seem to last longer and not need much water. Put them together having the most voluminous and taller one on the back and the smaller one in the front. Tape the stems. Wrap the ribbon around it until about 1,5″  and glue it together.  Decorate with a string. Put two flower pins in the back so the groom can pin it in his suit. Wala!

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I hope that you liked it and that it gives you some inspiration.

Cheers,

Tee

 

Welcome

Hello!

Welcome to the Planning World of Tee!

Here you can find some of my creations and also some of my travel itineraries.

I am a huge planner when it comes to most of my life. I love traveling and every time that I am interested in going somewhere, I sit down and try to plan day by day of the traveling in order to come up with an itinerary, budgeting and timing.

I also enjoy a lot of the Do it Yourself crafting. I usually watch a tutorial on Youtube to get an inspiration and try to come up with a project of my own. I really enjoy doing that.

So, here is to great planning and creativity boost!

Cheers,

Thaina