(yes, this has been sitting in my drafts folder for weeks)

Sometimes you see an iconic image so often that it takes away the surprise of arriving somewhere new, but not this time. Just five brief hours to spend in the centre of Rio and already I’m wishing I could stay, enchanted by the skyline and dying to explore the neighbourhoods that flash by on the way to Corcavado.

After taking a bus then metro to Corcovado station we finally end up in an overpriced taxi after we find the next train up isn’t for two hours.

But who cares when the road’s winding up past beautiful old colonial buildings, some restored, some decaying gracefully in the heat, with gardens giving way to subtropical Atlantic forest the higher we go. It feels like a city just oozing with life, history slamming up against modern life in an utterly beguiling way. It’s these areas I want to come back and explore, not Copacabana or Ipanema. The beaches make for an arresting sight but it’s not them which are calling me back even before I leave.

Despite the amazing scenery of the Andes, Brazil just captures my imagination far more. Brazil is not a cheap country to travel in in comparison with some places in South America but then the distances are huge… some weeks spent in the north-east would be really amazing I think. One day!

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