Among the long-haul flights, here are the first I can share: Brazil from Lisbon and Morocco from Rio de Janeiro.
I haven’t yet had the chance to go around Brazil but I’ve been able to see a little bit. I dreamed of this trip, perhaps idealized or too immersed, I made my own opinion. I’m just going to tell you a bit about my trip, of someone who discovered the country with locals and family.
First, having my in-laws in Brazil, it was high time to go there.
For this kind of trip, it’s always better to plan in advance or for the big adventurers why not test last minute flights if you can find more accessible prices.
In our case we can’t say that we really took it in advance and we hesitated a lot between a direct flight with Tap Portugal and one with a connection without too much lengthen the flight time. When we have a baby we think more about the shorter than the ticket price. But we saw very affordable tickets with Royal Air Maroc and we thought why not ? Lisbon-Casablanca with a quick stop before embarking for Rio and Rio-Casablanca with a long stop before heading back to Lisbon. We thought it was going to be “easy” and we could discover a little bit of Morocco back. In short, 2 in 1, the best! Well, things didn’t exactly go as planned… . It’s a very long story to tell but to make short the company Royal Air Maroc is trustworthy but certainly more for short flights. Problems can arise with any company but we have accumulated them ! On the way, the stroller of our daughter was forgotten in Casablanca and delivered 3 days later…without the rain cape that came with it. We left in November so you know for an European the weather is good but it’s often raining there.
For the rest of the adventures, read to the end !
Rio de Janeiro is the first city I visited. What about Rio…a big city that has a lot of contrasts. A little too much for my taste…a big difference that shows a general truth, either you’re poor or you’re rich. The middle is rather rare. The favelas side by side the affluent neighborhoods, the insecurity reigns there, a traffic always very dense, to respect the laws is not very “carioca” apparently. When you are immersed, the atmosphere can be a little heavy if you’re not used to it. Very long trips to reach the center if you are outside because of the endless traffic jams, the road works…which is wasting a lot of time to visit. So first advice is to stay in the city center if possible, near the tourist areas, because the important points to see are concentrated there.
In other words, it seems that it’s the party from Monday to Sunday non stop. It’s the jovial and festive side of the population ! Caipirinhas and funk everywhere !
Of course if it’s called “cidade maravilhosa” otherwise “wonderful city”, it’s obviously not for nothing !
What makes the charm of this city ? His landscape !
Apart from a lot of old and poorly maintained houses on top of each other, there are still more organized neighborhoods surrounded by rocks. Rio is in the middle of a very beautiful vegetation, the favelas go even to the top of the mountains and it’s quite impressive.
So, where to go to enjoy the beautiful landscapes ?
Cristo Redentor offers an outstanding 360 degree view. The entry is paying but it’s really worth it. Going down or up the coast that leads to it, there is also the Mirante Dona Marta (viewpoint) which is superb.
Located in the Tijuca Forest, you can access Christ The Redemeer below at Lage Park, full of beautiful things to see. There is also the botanical garden, beautiful.
Of course, the best-known beaches are to be seen: Praia Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon… Just go alongside them while sipping coconut water (coco gelado), refreshing!
Bandeira dos Recreantes is also to be done in the beach series, very beautiful landscape also.
Take a walk in the Santa Teresa district and go to the escadaria Selarón, a must to see in Rio.
If the weather allows it, take the cable car in the Pão de Açúcar and preferably at sunset.
Belo Horizonte, the second city I visited, is a more organized and modern city although there are still some favelas (but less) and neighborhoods more favored. Being the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, it’s worth stopping there to taste the culinary specialties of the region which are known and also appreciated abroad. Pão de Queijo, mexidão, feijão tropeiro… Besides the gastronomy, beautiful parks are to be seen: Parque Municipal, Parque das Mangabeiras, Lagoa do Nado, Lagoa da Pampulha… And the mirante da mangabeira, a breathtaking view of the city and the park of mangabeiras.
Then we went to Búzios, actually just slept there to visit the area of Arraial do Cabo, the Brazilian Caribbean. Well, there is still Rua das Pedras to do the evening. Full of shops and restaurants open until late.
When we went to the beach, no luck, the sun was not present but the landscape is breathtaking anyway ! Pontal de Atalaia and its infinite staircase to the beaches. There are plenty of them and difficult paths lead to unconventional beaches like a Praia do Forno. In the area there is also Cabo Frio and its big beach to see if possible. There are often owls.
What I mainly remember, aside from the landscapes, is the hospitality, empathy and support of Brazilians in general. People are concerned and are always ready to help. Whether between them or with those who come from outside, they make no difference and treat everyone the same way. You can be sure of being well received in Brazil.
For the return to Portugal by Morocco, we had a very bad surprise after the stroke of the stroller. At the beginning of our stay in Brazil, we received an e-mail informing us that the return was canceled and rescheduled for Rio-Casablanca but nothing planned to Lisbon. I tried to contact them by phone, e-mail, on social networks…oddly that’s where they responded faster but ask to contact us on Twitter then send we an e-mail… . At the end of the stay we finally had someone on the phone but communication cut after telling us we would receive a confirmation e-mail. No e-mail received, again to join them. Finally everything was solved and just before departure we receive an e-mail informing of the delay of the flight…you can imagine our face…a night flight that has been pushed back to more than 1am…when you have a baby who doesn’t sleep in any condition there is no better ! Thankfully, she was so tired that she quickly fell asleep on the plane. By the way, I noticed that she falls asleep now live after takeoff !
It’s a pity with good services on board and a pleasant trip, there was all this inconvenience. All this delayed on our program in Casablanca. It must also be known that Moroccan airports are ultra secure. So you need to think of the time to get in and out without counting immigration (even being a priority).
Once settled at the hotel near the airport, we were finally able to walk in Casablanca. One thing for sure, we didn’t miss the sunset and it was worth it! If you have the opportunity to visit, here is the main to see: Mahakma Pasha, courthouse, the Mohammed V Square, the old medina, the Hassan II mosque of course, very impressive ! Don’t forget to taste the local flavors, especially with their special sweets !
And if not useless to tell you that to date I have not yet received any return from my claim with the company… We know for next time !
– Always have a mosquito repellent, in case there is a forest walk for example
– Vaccination against yellow fever is not mandatory but strongly recommended to stay without any risk
– Always look at the weather before going out and preferably plan the trip when the weather is good, because Brazil in the rain loses some of its charm and does not allow to see great thing (especially in Rio)