So as you’d know if you follow me on Instagram, I had the good fortune of attending the World Cup final in Rio a couple of weeks ago.
Going to Brazil for the biggest sporting event in the world, was something I had been thinking about for quite a while, but as is usually the case for me, it was all done in a whirlwind last-minute frenzy, 7 days before the event itself. It felt like a dream, finding out I had a ticket for what must have been the most sought after game in the world, picking up my new passport, 4 days before departure, and booking the flight and accommodation after that. But it all worked out perfectly, and the dream continued as soon as I landed.
On arrival in Rio on the Friday night, I crashed out, but woke up full of beans the next day, and after my first Brazilian coffee to kick-start the day, I headed for the beach, and the magic started from there.
Walking to the southern end of Leblon Beach where I was staying, I suddenly felt compelled to turn around, as I realised I may be able to see Christ behind me, and when I did, and saw him towering over the city, it was every bit as impressive as I had imagined. I couldn’t help but have a little SATC moment, squealing at the mere sight of it, and I realized this was once of those moments you just had to savour so I remained on the side of the road, with my tears of joy and feelings of happiness and gratitude for a good few minutes.
Brazil are the champions of fresh juice-making so I used the only Portuguese words I know apart from Thank You (Obrigado) and ordered a fresh pineapple juice (suco de Abacaxi!) which I enjoyed while overlooking the full length of Leblon and Ipanema Beaches.
Next up I decided to walk along these famous beaches, and they didn’t disappoint. While strolling along and enjoying the sight of locals and tourists playing sports and having fun in the sun, I came across a volleyball court that seemed a bit busier than the rest. On closer inspection I found that none other than my old ‘friend’ Fabio Cannavaro was here playing with his illustrious buddies.
You may recognise him from such iconic images as this one…
or this one…
The bench was every bit as glamorous and a veritable who’s who of ex-World Cup players lined up to watch the casual game; from left to right Vieri (Italy) (hiding under a towel), Thuram (France), Veron (Argentina) and Davids (Holland) (totally checking me out from behind his signature shades… or so we’ll pretend for the sake of the story…!).
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Rio Adventures.