We flew out early Saturday morning and arrived in Rio in time to meet Cordell and Laura as they came through customs after a very long flight.
What a joy it was to see Grayson and see how much he had grown since we last saw him at Canyon's funeral in February. We rented a small car and were able to fit in all this luggage, and our own luggage as well, to drive to our hotel in Copacabana, the Windsor Palace.
Cordell and Laura had a room on the 17th floor with a beautiful view out over Copacabana beach. The 18th floor had a pool and observation deck where we took these pictures.
After checking in we drove around to see some of the places we used to know. We lived on the eight floor of the building in the center below in Jardim Botanico (the Botanical Gardens neighborhood).
The church we attended back then is still there,
Many things have changed over the years, and it was so fun to see the sights again. Below is Sugar Loaf mountain and Corcovado mountain with the Christ statue.
We saw the lake, which was just beside the apartment building we lived in.
After driving around for a while, we went back to Copacabana and found a nice buffet for dinner close to our hotel. Sunday morning we went to church in our old Jardim Botanico Ward, but did not find any members that were there when we last lived there in 1979. After church we decided to go visit the Christ statue on Corcovado mountain. We stopped to take some pictures at a lookout about half way up the mountain. Here are some pictures at that location.
From the top of Corcovado we could see Sugar Loaf mountain below, where we would be going on Monday.
Because of Copacabana beach, Copa is a pretty famous name in Rio, and we saw it often.
After our experience in the lines on Sunday, we were a little aprenhensive about what it would be like going up to Sugar Loaf on Monday. We started early and were pleased to find the lines much shorter
...just a few minutes. The weather was cloudy and rainy, so we think that helped with the lines.
At the souvenier store on top they had quite a selection of birds made out of stone.
Before we went back down the weather did improve a little, so it wasn't quite as windy.
On the way back down, at the half way mountain before the second cable car where the jungle walk is, we saw a few little monkeys on the railing looking for a handout.
After Sugar Loaf we drove through town and down to Barra de Tijuca, where the new Rio de Janeiro temple will be built. It was a beautiful drive and we could see how much things have changed since we lived there.
When we arrived at the hote,l we changed into swimsuits and walked out to Copacabana Beach. We passed a few sand sculptures that were interesting to see.
We took a few pictures at the beach.
After turning in our rental car we were driven back to the terminal in this van.
After a two hour flight, we picked up our car at the Porto Alegre airport parking lot and drove another two hours to Gramado. There we took a picture of the "Welcome to Gramado" entrance to the city.
Then we went to one of our famous tourist spots, Lago Negro, for a few pictures.
After driving around we stopped for dinner at a crepe restaurant we had not tried before. It was delicious and repeatable.
On Wednesday we went for lunch at one of our favorite fondu restaurants, Carlitos. The first course is melted cheese where we dip bread and vegetables in the cheese. For the second course they bring out a hot stone with flames under it, and raw meat we cook ourselves. The meat is then dipped into a large variety of sauces shown below.
The third course is melted chocolate in a pot, and a variety of fruits and waffers to dip. Then we went to visit the Caracol waterfalls.
Here is the picture at the bottom of the stairs.
Above the falls the river has some beautiful rapids and smaller falls.
We took a cute little train ride in the park, and then walked through a fun little village.
After Caracol we went into Canela to see the Stone Cathedral below.
Friday we visited the World of Chocolate museum in downtown Gramado. All of the figures below are made from solid chocolate. They have signs telling you how much chocolate it took and how many hours to make each figure.
In the afternoon we visited the Gramado Zoo and Gaucho Park. The Gramado Zoo only has animals found in Brazil, so no African animals.
So we hope you all see the fun things you can do if you come to visit us here in Brazil. It is a beautiful place and we would love to host you.