Rio Botanical Gardens
On the Sunday after racing, we went for a walk to the Rio Botanical Gardens. Walking through Leblon is always pleasant, and on the way we passed through a flea market specializing in antiques and part of the Hippodrome where some equestrian events are held.
The botanical garden was extensive and had a number of areas with exotic plants, but the best part was to see the edges where the original forest was retained. It gave us a great feel for what Rio was like before it became an urban area. A fun part of the walk was to see a marmoset (non-native, but all over any place where tourists and their handouts can be found – we saw them on Sugar Loaf as well) and a group of about 30 monkeys.
We left the botanical garden because we were all hungry. Amanda found a churro cart to hold her over until we found a restaurant. The fresh churros are pumped full of a caramel cream which makes them very sweet and rich.
Our restaurant, The Hippodromo, was very busy as it was Father’s Day, but once we were given a seat, the drinks and food came quickly. Once we each had a beer or cachaça based drink, a gentlemen brought us sausage on a spit. We ordered a couple of sandwiches, but the main meal was a Sunday special with multiple kinds of meat and roasted vegetables. The platter was meant to serve 2, but it nicely fed four of us.
After a walk to our apartment, we basically spent the rest of the say relaxing and watching the Olympics on TV – with the sound off as it was narrated in Portuguese.