Pão de Açúcar and Urca

After two days of rain, we're back to blue skies here in Rio. It's winter in Brazil and today's weather reminded me of September in New York. Warm and sunny but with a nice breeze that sometimes called for long sleeves. Basically, the exact opposite of the oppressive heat back home.

Despite the few days of dreary weather, we've been keeping busy. Last night we had a delicious dinner at our friend Gisela's apartment. She and Daniel grew up together and it was adorable to see Nico and Leo play with her son Leon. I can already imagine myself telling Leon years from now how he sang me Beatles songs while staring at his reflection in the television a few weeks before his 5th birthday. Nico and Leo went to bed late and we crossed our fingers that this would somehow cause them to sleep in, but no such luck. By 6:15am, they were wide awake and ready to start the day.

We decided to be true tourists and visit Pão de Açúcar, knowing Nico would love the cable cars you need to take to get there.

He did, but it was a bit of an adventure at times with all of our gear and more than once, Daniel and I felt like the Grizwalds. Life is exhausting enough with two kids when you're in your own home, on your own schedule, but plop an entire family in another country and there will be some bumps along the way. And when your kids are 3 and under, I'm talking about both figurative and literal bumps. Nico bumped his forehead within seconds of getting out of the car at Pão de Açúcar and a few days ago, he crashed into a table head first while dancing in a restaurant.

Luckily, the lines at Pão de Açúcar weren't too bad and soon enough, we were sailing through the air, hopping from mountain to mountain and gazing at the stunning views of Rio.

After Pão de Açúcar, we planned to stroll through Urca, a beautiful neighborhood with pretty houses along the water. We were sure both boys would fall asleep in the stroller and I wanted to eat at Garota da Urca, the restaurant where I learned to love steak on my first trip to Rio. Nico fell asleep right away, but Leo, our little rascal with an enormous appetite, made sure to stay awake. 

We parked the stroller next to our table and while Nico slept, we stuffed ourselves with steak, collard greens with bacon, farofa, rice and beans. Most of the high chairs in Brazil don't have seatbelts which kind of defeat the purpose when you have a squirmy 13-month old, so Leo was on each of our laps most of the lunch, taking bites of anything and everything that came his way. A woman even stopped by our table to say how impressed she was to see a child eating collard greens. When it comes to food, Nico's the opposite of Leo. When he woke up, he dove into a plate of plain pasta topped with a mountain of cheese and wouldn't go near anything else on the table.

Afterward, while Leo slept, we looked at the boats in the harbor, ran around in any open space we could find, saw a Volkswagen commerical being filmed, and discovered a playground that had a view of the water. Even the statue of Christ on Corcovado Mountain was looming in the distance. On the way home, Nico said: "I have a question about Christ...Does he eat people?" I think he's a little weirded out that we keep seeing the statue wherever we go.

Daniel has to work for the next three days, so starting tomorrow, I'm on my own with the boys. I don't have anything specific planned yet, but the weather's supposed to be good, so for now, it looks like the beach is my best bet.

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