La Veronese and a different kind of pizza


La Veronese – looks aren’t everything!


One of the lessons I’ve learned on my travels is that some of the best places to eat look so unimpressive that you’d walk right by if you didn’t know better. Many people visiting Rio don’t know better and so they wander into the flashy places that look inviting and end up disappointed (and a lot lighter in the wallet). Just a couple of weeks ago I received an email from an exasperated tourist saying “I’ve wasted too much money and too many calories on mediocre meals in Rio. Please tell me there’s more than this!”.

Luckily for us (residents and visitors alike) there is more than this! Sometimes you just have to look past the ugly exteriors to find the best food. For example, my favourite bolinhos de bacalhau are served in a slightly shabby looking building in Lapa with frosted glass windows – not the most inviting scene for the uninitiated:

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Photo Post: Altinho na Praia

We did a day trip to Mercado São Pedro in Niterói this weekend. It’s a fish market that I had heard about and I have to say I was pretty excited about going. I heard that you can buy your seafood on the ground floor, then take it upstairs to the restaurants where they’ll cook it.

Well I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t that impressed with the market – the prices were high and the produce was pretty standard. As for the restaurants upstairs, they seemed to have one basic treatment for all seafood – dust in flour and then deep-fry until dry and crispy.

Although the food was disappointing, we did discover a memorable cocktail of cachaça, honey and several sticks of cinnamon (not for the faint of heart!). Once we got back to Rio (still a bit wobbly from those cocktails!) we had a nice walk along Ipanema beach as the sun sank below the waves. Here are my top 2 snaps of the day.


Guanabara Bay is a very busy waterway and has good views of the bridge.

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Big trouble in Ipanema

People who’ve never been to Rio often have quite extreme notions of what life here must be like. Some assume it’s a never-ending beach holiday, others think we are constantly ducking bullets and running from armed thieves. The reality for most is more prosaic – bad traffic on the way to the office, work 10am-7pm, bad traffic on the way home. No beaches, no samba, no guns and no fatalities.

Of course that’s not to say that good and bad things don’t happen here. Yesterday on Ipanema beach something quite shocking occurred. As is often the case, there are various versions of exactly what happened, but it seems to go something like this: A large group of Guardas Municipais (Municipal Guards) moved onto the beach. Some reports say that they were there to remove a pitbull dog that had been brought onto the beach – other reports say that they were there to stop a group of kids playing Altinha (in England we call this keepy-uppy) which apparently is not permitted on the beach before 5pm.

briga entre banhistas e guardas municipais

Beach mayhem. source


Whatever the exact reason for their presence, the atmosphere quickly turned sour.

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Ipanema Flash Dance

The things I see on my way to work! Nowadays my route takes me through Praça General Osorio in Ipanema. This large square is located close to the border with Copacabana and is the last stop on the Metro. At this point I transfer from the Metro onto a bus and on most mornings I’m in a big rush.

This morning was typical – I was walking double-fast speed, weaving in and out of my fellow travellers who were casually strolling along as if it were Sunday morning. As I came out of the Metro system and into the open square, a girl seemed to nearly fall over, right in front of me, then throw her arms up in a rather dramatic gesture. “Weirdo…” I muttered to myself and kept walking.

I hurried along to my bus and managed to secure myself a seat. I glanced out of the window and noticed the crazy girl again. Then I saw this!

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Three women on walls

Today I wanted to show you three more beautiful women from Rio, but hopefully today’s offerings will prove a little less controversial! I’ll start off with a woman I have been admiring for a the last couple of weeks. My daily journey takes me through Praça General Osório, one of the main squares in Ipanema. Each morning I have been in a rush to catch the bus and so whilst I’ve gazed longingly, I’ve never found time to take a photo. Last night I decided to go after work instead. Not what you’d call perfect lighting, but the shadows from the nearby gate add a certain je ne sais quoi don’t you think?


I haven’t looked into who “DP” is yet, but I would like to offer him/her huge congratulations. A beautiful image. **UPDATE** It isn’t “DP”, it is “Di”, the signature of Di Couto. I met her in a bar a few months back and she was very nice!

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When it comes to learning languages, there are enough similarities between Spanish and Portuguese that I’m never really impressed when a native Spanish speaker tells me they speak Portuguese (or vice versa). My attitude tends to be “big deal – compared to English, they’re practically the same language anyway”. But when there are so many similarities, I do rather sympathise when a Portuguese word comes along that is just nothing like its Spanish counterpart.

Take this prickly customer:

I love pineapple! You know the French almost call this fruit bananas... (they say "Ananas").


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Friday Beach Quiz

I know what suckers you guys are for quizzes, puzzles and other chances to prove how clever you are (don’t even bother denying it). Well, it’s Friday, so I will indulge you. See if you can spot what the following three images have in common (there are many correct answers, but I can only accept the answer I have written down on my answer cards):

Ipanema last weekend...

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Beach Trader Barter

We’ve been having some great weather in Rio recently. I felt I should mention it to balance things up because I do like to complain when it’s bad. We decided to spend Saturday on the beach and I finally got round to recording a little audio. When I got home I realised it was pretty terrible quality, so instead of subjecting you to some fuzzy noise, I decided to get a little multimedia on your asses and put the sound of the beach in the background to this rather sweet little scene I witnessed:

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The things you see at the beach

A few days ago I found myself strolling down the famous black and white tiled path that runs alongside the beach in Ipanema. I hadn’t been along that way in a while and I was reminded of what a great place it is for people watching. 

The iconic black and white pathways of Ipanema