Since the summer of 2006, my friend and I planned to go to the World Cup. We had just graduated from high school when the games were in Germany and we realized that by the time the World Cup would be in South Africa in 2010 we most likely would be graduating from college. As a present to ourselves, we intended to plan a trip to the games. Well, long story short, we didn’t end up flying to South Africa so we promised each other that we would go to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil no matter what.
And it happened!
I took a trip for 16 days to Rio de Janeiro, Buzios, and Sao Paulo that ended up being an adventure of a lifetime. The people in Brazil were very friendly and I was surrounded by fans from all over the world that were excited about their teams’ success in the World Cup. The streets were covered with flags that people waved proudly and the energy in the streets was infectious and at times overwhelming. Rio was my first stop and it is a city that I could go back to time and time again and still not see or do everything. After a few days in Rio we hopped on a bus and headed over to Buzios, which was definitely a change of pace. Since it was winter in Brazil, there were not as many tourists that were not in cities that hosted the World Cup games. This resulted in a quiet town that allowed for us to relax on the beach and catch up on some much needed rest. We went back to Rio for the Final and lastly ended our trip in Sao Paulo. Each city I visited was distinctly different from the rest and I believe that I only saw a small portion of everything the country has to offer. Overall, I learned a lot about the language, food and culture in Brazil and my experiences have changed my world view forever.
When I returned a lot of people asked me the same two questions; would I go back, to which I answered absolutely, and would I recommend it, which I honestly admit, not really. Brazil is not for beginners. I believe there are two types of travelers. Those who are looking for a destination where they stay at an all inclusive hotel with a continental breakfast, enjoy having the bed sheets changed every day and expecting everyone around to speak English, Brazil is not for them. However, if you are looking to eat food prepared on a street corner that might be unidentifiable, practice learning another language, fight for a seat on the bus, get lost in a big city, and learn a lot about yourself, then book your flight now that you’ve finished reading this post.