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Day 1: Welcome to Rio de Janeiro!

My first day in this stunning city was picture perfect, with 80 degree weather, a gentle sea breeze and no humidity - the perfect conditions for exploring. After checking into my hotel, I headed to a bar located at the end of Leblon Beach. The view was simply breathtaking, and as I sipped on a refreshing caipirinha, I couldn't help but feel grateful to be here.

View of Leblon Beach, Rio de Janeiro

As the sun started to set, I decided to take a stroll along the beach. The walk was absolutely amazing, with the sound of waves and the gentle chatter of people in the background. Every 1/4 mile, there was a beach bar where I could grab a drink and take in the views. And to top it off, I was lucky enough to witness a nearly full moon rising.

One of the beach bars that line Leblon Beach with the “Two Brothers” Peaks

in the background

After my walk, I made my way to the street behind my hotel. The Leblon neighborhood is an upscale area of Rio, right on the beach. The area was bustling with restaurants, bars and outdoor cafes. Think Hyde Park, but where everyone speaks Portuguese. I stopped at a pizza place and enjoyed a Becks beer while chatting with the owner, Rick, who grew up not too far from the restaurant. The pizza looked incredible and I made a mental note to try it tomorrow after a day of hiking.

Enjoying drinks and music in Leblon

For dinner, I settled on a nearby restaurant where I could sit outside and enjoy the live music from the band playing inside. Although the waitress didn't speak English, we were able to communicate using Google translate and I enjoyed some delicious appetizers and another Becks while soaking up the ambiance of the city.

A Rio favorite -  Tapioca Cheese Fritters

With my first day in Leblon coming to an end, I couldn't help but feel excited for what was to come. From the stunning views to the incredible food and drinks, Rio de Janeiro was already proving to be a truly unforgettable experience.

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