Rio Carnival 2014

Where else can we start but to say that we were blown away by our night at the Sambadrome! The heart of the Carnival is quite simply the people. Yes the music, the drumming and the parade helped, but the locals made sure we too were jumping, clapping and cheering with the rest. Each samba school has its own song that the locals seem to know by heart and with a little encouragement we were singing along with the best of them. As most of the songs were on repeat for the length of each parade (a full 82 minutes each) we at least knew when to belt out the chorus…and the odd “la la la” never hurt anyone! ……………………………………………………………………………………………………

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For those of you that don’t know, the Sambadrome is essentially 700m of concrete lined with tiered stands. On the Sunday and Monday nights the twelve best samba schools perform and parade the length. The tiers are divided into sections, with sector 9 reserved as the tourist section. Our advice to any traveller is, throw yourself in with the locals! We’re sure sector 9 was having a fantastic time but trust us partying with the locals will heighten the experience. There were plenty of other foreigners along with us in sector 10 but who would want to miss out on the chance to share cake with the sweet old Brazilian lady next to us or to be taught dance moves by all those around you. ……………………………………………………………………………………………

IMG_6073The event starts at 9pm and continues until about 7am, for those of you that can stick it out. It seems it’s quite appropriate to see the first few schools, take a quick nap, then get back to partying…that’s if you can manage to get comfy on the concrete seats. Drinking is part of the fun but by no means compulsory. Many of the groups included young children, who out-partied the adults despite it being way past their usual bedtime! Like us, if you can’t quite stick it out to 7am, it seems it’s perfectly acceptable to make a dash for home any time after 3am. ……………………………………………………………………………………………

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All in all we would say the Sambadrome is well worth the expense but if you’re unlucky enough not to get a ticket or if your budget doesn’t quite stretch to it, this will by no means limit your carnival experience. Bloco parties are free, fun and all over the city during the entire week of carnival. In fact it’s hard to get around all of Rio’s sights without bumping into one of these street parties. Once again the people are at the heart. Our advice is to take full advantage of them – look out for large groups of nuns, brides, and pirates (this year these seemed to be the most common choice of costume) carrying a few beers and just follow them to the nearest festivity. ……………………………………………………………………………………………

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We’ve not been to Rio at any other time but to us it would seem Rio is at its best during Carnival. Yes the buses get caught in terrible traffic caused by revellers and the prices sky rocket but trust us its worth it. You only need to look at the pictures to be inspired. ……………………………………………………………………………………………

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On a different note, the Carnival is not without mishaps. It seems someone misjudged the height of this carnival float and one its figures was spectacularly decapitated…to much cheering from the crowd. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

IMG_6120Opppss

Opppss

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