Our bus to Rio de Janeiro was delayed for a few hours due to traffic, but we were in no rush to leave beautiful Paraty. Like our ride to Paraty, the drive along the mountainous coastline of Brazil was a site to see. Many of us napped along our 4 hour journey, but all were woken up when Christ the Redeemer was visible on top of one of the many mountains. We arrived in Rio!
After checking into the Ipanema Inn, many of us walked the half of block hike to the beach. Ipanema Beach is located in the South Zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro. It is recognizable for its long stretch of beach goers either sun bathing or playing soccer, volleyball and footvolley, which was a sport invented to combine the two. After realizing we were walking along one of the world’s most iconic beaches, we took in some of what the vendors had to offer and enjoyed the beautiful sunset over Dois Irmpaos or Two Brothers the mountains on the western edge of the beach.
For dinner we were joined by Lenny Abbey. Lenny is the Head of National Olympics Committee Relations and Services for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio. Only a brief conversation about Illinois Basketball interrupted a lively conversation with Lenny. In reality, it was many of us picking his brain for information about his world travel and involvement in his third Olympics. We were all extremely happy with how the dinner turned out and our excitement for the Olympics became greater with all of our new inside information.