Rio de Janeiro – Olympic Weekend, Brazil

Friday:

Today was the day we moved from our apartment in Copacabana into a hostel! Also – the start of the Olympics!! The morning was spent moving out of the apartment and over to Botafogo, our new home for the next five days. It was pretty easy to get to on the metro.

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Our hostel was called Vila Carioca. We settled in and met the guys we were sharing a dorm with, who were also English. Then we headed to the local beach in Botafogo for some lunch, not quite as nice as Copacabana, but not a bad view.

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We headed back to the hostel pretty early as we wanted to have dinner and get ready before the opening ceremony. We’d been told by the guys at the hostel that the ceremony was being shown on a big screen in Porto Maravilha (where Annabel and myself had visited in Week One). We actually found it a lot easier to get there this time, I think it was a lot better sign posted now the games had actually started.

When we got there it was like a big concert, with music, food and obviously big screens to watch the event. We even located a few British flags flying.

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I think we all agreed that the opening ceremony was nice, but not spectacular. I guess they were working on a much lower budget than London, Beijing, but still a nice ceremony. Although, standing up for 4 hours watching it was pretty tiring!

 

Saturday:

As Alicia is big into cycling, we planned to go down and watch the Men’s Road Race, as you can watch anywhere along the course for free. The day started with a bit of a rushed awakening, as Alicia realised the race started at 9:30am and not 11:30am!! So we all got route marched down to Ipanema so we could see the cyclists set off. (Thanks Alicia)

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Luckily Team GB were at the front of the crowd so I managed to get a pretty good shot:

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Chris Froome is the furthest on the left. Obviously they all passed us by in a few seconds so Alicia had found the best place to go and watch some more racing. It was at the top of one of the climbs towards the end, that the athletes do three laps of, so we could have maximum watching time.

What I wasn’t expecting was the trek to the top of the climb for us! It took us about 2 and a half hours and we were lied to by our map, but we still made it, and it was a nice day so we didn’t mind.

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The view at the top of the climb. We got ourselves in position for when the cyclists would come past, and also met a couple of other Brits with flags to cheer with. Everyone had also written in chalk all over the road to cheer on their different sportsmen.

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On the first lap round, a Russian and Polish cyclists had broken away, closely followed by another pack of about 6 riders… including Geraint Thomas for GB!

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In the navy, third back in the photograph! The second pack was closely followed by the main peleton, which included Chris Froome and another GB cyclist, Adam Yates.

On the second lap round, the front few had regrouped, still including Geraint Thomas, and then the peleton a bit further behind including Froome.

The third lap was the most exciting; 3 riders had broken away, from Italy, Colombia and Poland. They were followed by another smaller group, still including Geraint Thomas, then quite a while after Froome was cycling by himself, then the rest of the group a while behind him, so it had really spread out over the last lap.

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Geraint Thomas above! Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a good picture of Froome, as I was too busy cheering.

After everyone had passed, we made our way back down to the bottom, but we couldn’t find out who won as we had no internet! Although on the way down we did hear that Nibali (the Italian rider out front) had crashed and taken the Colombian rider down with him, so it was really all to play for. It wasn’t until we got to the bottom that we found out that unfortunately Geraint Thomas had also crashed, but still managed to finish 10th, with Froome 11th.

After the racing we headed to the German House on Ipanema beach for some drinks, which was loads of fun.

 

Sunday:

We originally were planning to do a hike today to the really cool mountain which I previously mentioned (the one 4 hours away!) But after much debate we decided an 8 hour round trip wasn’t worth it, however cool the pictures might be.

So instead we decided to head down and watch the Women’s Road race. As the women’s race wasn’t as long as the men’s we decided to just head down to Ipanema beach to watch the start, chill on the beach for a bit and catch the end.

Unfortunately – we are convinced the race started earlier than planned which meant we missed the start 😦 but it wasn’t the end of the world. As we still managed to catch the end.

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While we were waiting, it really clouded over and even started to rain! But here is the first rider approaching – from Team USA.

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When she came past us, we were about 3km to the end and she seemed to be quite a way ahead of the rest – so to me I thought she had it in the bag. We later found out that she had been caught up by the 3 people trailing her and finished in 4th.

That evening we all wanted a bit more of a chilled night, but instead ending up drinking until 5am with some friends in the hostel! Not quite the chilled night we were after..

 

Monday:

After very little sleep, today was the day we had tickets for Olympic sailing. All of us were a little unsure of what to expect, because, as Annabel quite rightly said, sailing isn’t really a spectator sport. When we arrived we got the obligatory Rio 2016 photo.

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It was actually a pretty good place to watch – it was a beach right by the sea so you could look out and see some of the boats and windsurfing, but then there was also a big screen so you could actually tell what was going on.

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In the picture above is Nick Dempsey who won 2 out of 3 of his races, and in the 3rd he came second, so a great start for him!

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The picture above is all the wind surfers between races.

We also got to watch some Laser’s racing. After a day in the sun we decided to go back for some all you can eat pizza (our fave) as Alicia hadn’t experienced it yet. We all managed about 10 slices or more, so an improvement on last time. We also remembered to save space for dessert!

 

Monday:

This morning was a really early start. Today we were going to watch some heats of the rowing (courtesy of the boyfriend). The rowing started at 8:30am, and we had to face-paint, get a bus to the venue and then actually get inside. Please appreciate the amazing face painting, and excuse the photo (it was very early!)

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We caught the bus to the rowing lake and got into the venue.

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We were actually really lucky with the day we were going, as on Sunday the rowing got called off due to bad weather, and the day after we went it was also called off!

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We were seeing small boats that day, unfortunately not the Men’s 4-, which is expected to win gold. However, they were out on the water training before the racing started and I managed to snap this (very bad) picture of them.

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It’s a terrible photo, I know, but it was cool to see them out on the water. One of the first races we saw was the Men’s 1x, which meant we got to see one of the best scullers ever – Mahe Drysdale, from New Zealand. Here he is leading the pack.

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I’d like to point out, we were completely surrounded by Kiwi’s so you can imagine the noise when he rowed past. Another great boat we got to see was the Kiwi pair, the current undefeated champions of the 2- race, for many years.

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But now on to the GB boats! We had such a good day cheering them on. We qualified 4 out of 6 of the races we competed in which was really great. Here’s the Men’s 2x who qualified for the A final. We even got a wave from Katherine Grainger and Vicky Thornley in the Women’s 2x, who also qualified for the A final.

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And finally the Men’s 2- who once again qualified for the A final.

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The rowing was so much fun to watch, it’s nice when your country is doing well! Unfortunately I got a nice sunburn GB on my face.

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Which looks AWFUL! Guess I’ll be patriotic for the next few days until it goes down :’)

Once we left the rowing we went back to the hostel to get our stuff and head off. Next stop – Paraty!

 

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