I fell in love with this store at first glance, especially this big piece I saw parked against one of the walls: a huge leopard climbing a log, and I just had to have it. I didn't think I'd be able to buy it, since there was absolutely no chance I could take it back home with me due to its size. Fortunately, upon noticing my interest in the piece, she told me that they shipped internationally if necessary. I went through with it and the piece came through intact. Everyone who sees it in my living room looks at it intrigued and asks about it.
Rua Ipiranga, 55
Rio de Janeiro
This store is soooooo cute! Little ornaments that'll set the mood pretty much anywhere.
I'm a big fan of Brazil, so I had to pick out a few of their pieces, which scream Brazil all over them. And it's not like other typical cheesy tourist stores you find at just about any corner, this one's got personality.
Rua Maria Quitéria 27 Ipanema (50 m from the beach)
Tel.: +55 (21) 2267-4603
My wife went berserk in this little store at Laranjeiras called Pe de Boi. We ended up buying a few of their items to take home with us.
People keep asking where we bought this stuff and how to get it. Well, Rio, Brazil, that's where!
Rua Ipiranga, 55 - Laranjeiras - Rio de Janeiro, RJ - CEP 22231-120 - Brasil
Sometimes, when the mercury is nudging 40 degrees and there isn't space on the beach for a German to lay out a handkerchief, let alone a towel, escape from the heat and clamour of Rio can be a welcome relief. The traditional getaway route for Cariocas is to take the Washington Luis highway to the cool mountain cities of Petrópolis, Teresópolis and Nova Friburgo.
Recently though, some of a more enterprising nature have begun to open up the Serra Fluminense above the oil boom town of Macaé in the north of Rio State. The centerpiece of this area is the sleepy hill town of Sana, a bridging point across the crystalline, cascading waters of the Sana River, guarded by the majestic 3,700 foot Pedra do Peito do Pombo (Pigeon Breast Rock).
The best choices for accommodation in Sana are the town’s charming and inexpensive pousadas. Highly recommended is the pretty Repousa da Sana, with its mature gardens, restaurant serving tasty local dishes cooked in a wood burning oven (ask for the baked trout), shop selling local crafts and its comfy, tastefully decorated riverside chalets.
A big bonus here is that the owner, Antenor Sousa, speaks passable English, a rarity in this part of the world. He is a keen photographer and has spent the last 20 years documenting the town and its surroundings so there isn’t a lot he doesn’t know about the place.
For travelers with an eye on their budget, many pousadas also offer a camping option with bathroom and laundry facilities. From your base in town you can take guided walks to the dozens of waterfalls and natural swimming pools that dot the region, trek up some of Sana’s steepling granite peaks or enjoy a very agreeable couple of days’ pony trekking. There’s also enough rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking, kayaking and white water rafting to keep the adventure sports enthusiast absorbed for days.
And after these strenuous calisthenics, what better way to wind down than in a hammock on your chalet deck, caipirinha strategically placed at arm’s length, with the calls of roosting flocks of parrots and the chattering of the river lulling you to sleep? Keep a weather eye on your drink though, as the local Micou monkeys, emboldened by human contact, are rather partial to those cachaça-impregnated lemons.
I should point out one small inconvenience. The nearest bank is 12 miles away in Casimiro de Abreu and, as telephones are a relatively new phenomenon in Sana, many of the town’s pousadas, bars and restaurants don’t accept credit cards.
However, carrying cash does not present the safety risks that it does in Rio. You are less likely to be mugged than savaged by a member of the town’s bovine community which outnumbers the human population by some distance, in other words, not very likely at all.
There is no direct public transport link between Rio and Sana. Take an air conditioned coach from the Terminal Rodoviaria Novo Rio to the town of Casimiro de Abreu (the journey last about three hours), from whence you can catch one of the large number of VW Combis that shuttle between Casimiro and Sana. Don't worry when you hit a dirt road as you wind your way up into the hills; the district council in Macaé has plans to pave it but it hasn't happened yet. The Repousa da Sana is about two kilometres before the town centre on your left. Ask the driver to drop you there. There are two websites in Portuguese that you will find useful, the general information site, www.portaldosana.com.br, and the Repousa da Sana's homepage, www.repousadasana.com.br.
To make a proper caipirinha cocktail you need a pestle to crush the lemon. So as not to use the garlic or cumin-stained pestle you have at home, it’s a good idea to pick up a wooden pestle from the Hippy Fair in Praça General Osório on Sundays. They are only a few reais and come with different hand-painted handles.
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