Rio is huge. If you are new to the city and have no idea where to start, I have an idea. It’s free. A great bunch of guys dedicate their time to show foreigners around the city. Free Walker Tours is a place to turn to. In just 2 hours they can show you the best spots in the city, not only in Rio but also in São Paulo. Not only day tours, but also night tours – best bars, best samba places and best cachaca.
History of Brazil is just like a history of any other colony. Once the truth is unveiled it is interesting to see how puzzles come together. In order to find out more about Rio and become closer to Brazilian culture, I joined a free walking tour organized by enthusiasts who are in love with Brazil and want to share a lot of facts with newcomers. And indeed it is so hard not to fall I love with the city. I am sitting in the hostel in the heart of Stockholm and my heart right now is in Rio.
We walked back and forth around Lapa neighborhood. Lapa is a majestic neighborhood, a bohemian place where people dance the samba on crutches and party seven days a week, despite the rain. Brazilians, Cariocas, are the happiest people I have ever met in my life. Despite the problems and poverty, they continue to dance, to celebrate life and to charge everyone around with a crazy energy that lives you burning even in chilly Stockholm. Lapa is located in the heart of Rio; it is famous for its historical monuments and busy nightlife.
Another famous place in Lapa is Escadaria Selaron, designed by Jorge Selaron, who built the famous stairs to worship his wife who passed away as well as a tribute to Brazilian people. He started the project in 1990 however, was always running out of materials. First people criticized him for the colors that he chose, very bright ones, resembling Brazilian flag. After he runs out of the money to support his project, people from all over the world started to send him mirrors, tiles, ceramics with different pictures. Today, you can find tiles from all over the world. However, there is another legend that has not been published anywhere in the magazines. It is known among people of Brazil. The project started on the night his wife died at home when he was not there to help her. Chilean-born artists, Jorge Selron passed away in 2013 on his own stairs, but the police still had not finished the investigation, as there are claims that he was killed, as numerous burn marks were found on his body. A sad and at the same time nice story which is a tribute to his people made this crazy idea famous, admired and acceptable around the world, moreover, it set an example and you may find colored stairs in many parts of the world.
Rio de Janeiro has so much to offer, but I believe that cariocas themselves enjoy every moment spent in their city.