Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Downton


On Christmas Eve we decided to go to Downton Rio de Janeiro. We went with the sole purpose of going to Confeitaria Colombo but more about that in a bit. Downton Rio is very interesting. It's that fascinating mixture of old and new. You feel like you're in Paris but at the same time it's so New York. The Theatro Municipal is well worth a visit, it's inspired by the gorgeous Paris opera. It must be a gorgeous venue to see a show. 


As I said we went Downton for one specific reason: Confeitaria Colombo. Hands down one of the most stunning places I have ever be to. Founded in 1894 by Portuguese immigrants, Confeitaria Colombo (32 Rua Gonçalves Dias) is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro. Even Queen Elizabeth II has been here. Everything about this place sings 'Belle Epoque', the mirrors were brought over all the way from Antwerp on the ship, back in the 19th Century this was a massive undertaking. How everything made it over the Atlantic in the ship safely blows my mind.

When we arrived we were lucky enough to grab a table straight away, this is not always the case. You can queue here for ages. There was a piano player in the corner and I was transported to Paris instantly. The service was slow but in all honesty, it just gave you more time to look around and take everything in. We had sandwiches for lunch but the really treat was the dessert. After much back and forth I settled for a pastry with custard and strawberries. The strawberries in Brazil are amazing, so sour and tart it went perfectly with the sweet pastry.

I could have spent hours here and this is a really happy memory I keep thinking back to. The whole Rio de Janeiro experience has really stuck with me. It's such an amazing city.

We're slowly coming to the end of my Rio posts, I hope you've been enjoying them!



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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Jesus take the wheel


You can't come to Rio de Janeiro and not go see this handsome chap. Cristo Redentor stands tall and proud and looks out onto the great city of Rio de Janeiro at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest which I think is the highest point in Rio but feel free to correct me. Christ himself is 30 metres tall and his arms stretch 28 metres wide. This is probably the most iconic statue in the world and has been on my 'to see list' for years.

There are two ways to get up to the Corcovado. You can either get a train from the centre of Rio de Janeiro or you can do what we did, which is hitch a lift with our driver Sergio. You can only got up halfway and the rest of the trip you have to take a scheduled bus. It's fairly straight forward. When I go back in December I'm hoping to take the train up, you go through the jungle and it's meant to be beautiful.


You can either take the lift or escalator up, but we braved it and took the steps. This isn't actually as bad as you'd think. It's actually quite impressive as you really get the build up to the statue, as you go higher he comes closer and closer. Once you reach the top of the mountain it's actually quite overwhelming, seeing something you've only ever seen on television in person is very moving. 

A word to the wise (which should be daily obvious): get here early because this is THE highlight for many tourists. It was already fairly busy when we were there around 10am. Also wearing bug repellent there were loads of flying ants everywhere. Slather up in sun cream and stay hydrated!


On the way back from Christ the Redeemer we drove through the Tijuca Forest. The Tijuca Forest which is claimed to be the world's largest urban forest, covering some 32 km². It was stunning and honestly breath taking. You feel like you're deep in the Amazon forest with no one around you, but in reality you're in one of Brazil's most populated cities. It was amazing to see flowers and plants that I had never seen before and loads of exotic wildlife like monkeys.

I'm still dreaming of this holiday, I still have a few exciting posts to share with you. Bare with me!



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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Nina Eats - Penylan Pantry


As I've said previously, there are very few things in this world worth getting up early for. But brunch with my favourite ladies is certainly one of them. Hopefully this is the start of more fabulous breakfast clubs. Keen not to have to go too far we settled down into Penylan Pantry which is pretty much local to all of us. 

Penylan Pantry is a foodie's dream specifically if you're into seasonal and local produce. Bonus if you're super into healthy eating and fair trade produce. If you've read my blog for a while you'll know I'm very passionate about supporting Welsh produce and it's great to see another independent doing that.


I of course ate far too much and am paying for my cheese sins since joining a gym (I'm in so much pain). Having scouted the menu and seen the tasty treats on offer I thought I'd start off 'light' and go for the avocado on toast (£4.50). It could have done with a squeeze more of lemon but otherwise it was perfect. Served on a gloriously thick chunk of bread and with chilli salt on the side, it was definitely a good start to the morning. We shared a cafetiere (£2) and gossiped away. Hanging out with the girls always leaves me with a sore belly from laughing so much. 

You can get a cheeseboard for a fairly decent price of £8.50, but the one WGP and me is for two people so if you were to order on for yourself you'd get a little bit less. I let WGP as the Welsh princess choose our cheeses and she did a good job. I'm obsessed with Perl Las cheese (a blue cheese, I do love a smelly cheese), so of course that was slathered onto the fresh bread.

The ladies at the Penylan Pantry are all very helpful and it's worth a visit. If only for a cup of tea in the lovely surroundings. I'm sure the ladies and me will be back soon.


Penylan Pantry, 72 Kimberly Road, CF23 5DN
Price: ££½ 
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Opening hours: 

Tues - Sat:
10:00–18:00
Sun:
10:00–16:00

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