Rio's Jardim Botânico

Sometimes even the best laid travel plans go awry. Toward the end of my trip to Brazil, I'll admit that I didn't even have any "best laid plans". When I arrived in Rio, my friend and host Debora seemed to sense this, asked me for a basic outline of what I'd like to do, and took care of the rest. My laziness in planning the end of my trip caught up with me in some ways (for example - tickets for Sugarloaf Mountain were entirely sold out by the time we checked), but in other ways, I really enjoyed letting go and allowing someone else to do all the work for me.


I'd mentioned Rio's Botanical Gardens as a possibility - something I didn't absolutely have to see, but was mildly interested in. Knowing Rio and its sites well, Debora bumped up its status.

The morning of the final, we were on the metro headed toward the gardens when she realized - the tickets for our afternoon trip up to Corcovado were not in her bag. The hilarious/awful thing about it was that she'd had the tickets in her hand a moment before we left, only setting them down as we made sure our keys were sorted out. I'd almost asked just to double-check as we left the apartment, but having seen them seconds before, didn't.

But no problem. This is Brazil, where things just kinda work out. We hailed a cab, which would drop me off at the gardens and take Debora back to the apartment, where she'd grab the tickets, before cabbing it to meet me at the train station for Corcovado. And while I was bummed we wouldn't get to see the gardens together, I was so grateful to Debora for making sure I got to sight-see while she rescued our afternoon!

The gardens ended up being fabulous. Gnarled trees and lush, green foliage made me feel like I was in some magical wonderland. Debora had told me some of what I needed to see, like the long avenue lined with stately palms, but hadn't mentioned the great view of Christ the Redeemer overlooking the city! It was a wonderful surprise and a great preview of coming attractions.

The orchid house was another highlight, though it was difficult to get a shot without an expectant mother in it! The gardens seem to be one of the favorite spots in the city for a photoshoot, and on weekends you'll see teenage girls, couples, families with children, and maybe even a bride and groom or two, having their pictures done professionally.

It was easy to lose track of time in this fantasy land. After seeing almost everything, I asked some passing tourists, "Que horas são?" Yikes! I was going to be cutting it close. I literally ran out of the gardens, in search of a cab to take me to my next destination, Cosme Velho, to meet Debora and take the train up to Corcovado.


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