Rio de Janeiro Day 1

April 8, 2017

My good friend Caitlin from college {you might remember when she came to visit me in Taiwan!} has been living and teaching abroad since we graduated from college and I've always been tempted to go visit, but have just never taken the plunge. She's been living the past 3 years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, teaching 4 grade at an international school. Well after informing me that she {for real} was moving back to the states after this school year she really got my wheel spinning. I checked my schools spring break schedule, her availability, plane ticket prices; and the rest, as they say, is history!

Remember my whirl-wind-crazy-fast-mexico-trip....yeah apparently I didn't learn much! I finished school at 3:20 and was in the car headed to the airport by about dedication! Columbus to D.C. // D.C. to São Paulo // São Paulo to Rio.  12 total hours in the air, but when I landed in Rio Saturday morning {{and my first time south of the equator!}} it was all worth it!

It didn't take long for me to get situated, and by situated I mean Caitlin and I grabbed her friend Matt and went for a walk along the beach along with my first ever caipirinha type of situated! We walked and snacked around (yes I'm making that a verb now!) and got me a little acquainted with the city before we met up with several more foreign teachers from her school and went out to grab dinner. Dinner, drinks, snacks, & laughs and it was time for an early bedtime {{after a long, full day of traveling} and ready for more adventures tomorrow! 

7 Wonders of the World

"In 2007, more than 100 million people voted to declare the New Seven Wonders of the World. The following list of seven winners is presented without ranking, and aims to represent global heritage." - Travel Channel

● Great Wall of China, China ● Christ the Redeemer Statue, Brazil  Machu Picchu, Peru ● Chichen Itza, Mexico ● The Colosseum, Italy ● Taj Majal, India ● Petra, Jordan 

7 Wonders; 7 Continents; 7 lives {ok we can only wish!}; 7 Goals --- {{ I've got this }}

I may not have all 7 wonders in yet, but I'm officially more than 1/2 way there with 4 down and only 3 more to go (we all have goals right?!) and I can't even lie, I'm pretty stinkin' proud of my progress!
(Click each link below to read a little more in detail about each of my encounters)

Colosseum - Rome, Italy - Summer 2010 - 4,698 miles from home

Great Wall of China - Beijing, China - Summer 2016 - 6,729 miles from home

Chichen Itza - Yucatan, Mexico - Spring 2017 - 1,441 miles from home

Christ the Redeemer - Rio, Brazil - Spring 2017 - 5,069 miles from home

Pyramids of Giza {ancient Wonder of the World} - Giza, Egypt - Summer 2010 - 6,019 miles from home

** So help a girl out now...what wonder do you think I should visit next?**

Merida y Mexican Matrimony

If you missed out on the previous few days be sure to check them out here: {Day 3} {Day 2} & {Day 1}

Saturday brought us to our last day in Merida {or my last day as most of my family was staying until Sunday or Monday...JEALOUS!} as well as the real "reason for the season" Sebastian && Rocio's wedding!

The wedding ceremony didn't start until 7pm so we had plenty of time to soak up the sunshine before we had to stop playing tourist and transform into full blown wedding mode. We took advantage of our lazy day and had a later start to our morning and decided to walk through downtown Merida as we had really only seen pieces and parts of it in passing thus far. 

We began by walking down Paseo de Montejo {a main road in town boasting dozens of large colonial style homes that have been renovated into museums, offices, and memorials of the homes and families they once used to be}. Later we grabbed breakfast at an out door market venue that we had passed several times and ran into a couple other people who were in Merida for the wedding, the more the merrier...always! Next stop was downtown {{el Centro}}. After our late breakfast we strolled around town without a real agenda in mind {including forgetting to reapply sunscreen...lovely burns for 1/2 the people at the wedding!} stopping by the Plaza Grande (a large, open plaza boarding the local government building), Santa Lucia Park (a park full of food vendors tucked away in the middle of town), Merida Cathedral (beautiful both inside & out), & Casa Montejo (an old time home restored & set up to mimic the home that it had once been for the local noble family).

Tired, hot, and ready for a nap before the wedding we began to head back to the hotel {{things don't always work out as planned, we hit a detour...ran into my grandma & uncle who were on the hunt for food}}....ok so after our 2nd late lunch of the day we actually headed back to the hotel with just over an hour of time to get ready and change for the big event of the time!

---> Shower, wardrobe change, some makeup, & pre-wedding pictures <---

We were ready to hit the road! The ceremony was in a small church in downtown Merida and it was an absolutely beautiful mass for Sebas & Rocio. Afterwards we hopped in a van and drove nearly 30 minutes out of town to a beautiful hacienda {a Mexican ranch} that was the backdrop for their amazing reception. I'll let the picture mostly speak for themselves here but I'll recap some of the night's highlights! Reception ran from 9pm - 6am, delicious food, live band to dance the night away, && family galore...what more could we ask for?!?!

Reception venue hall

My flight out of Merida was scheduled for 7:30am so around 5:30 we said our goodbyes and headed for the airport. It wasn't until I was checked in and through security that I finally was able to stop for 2 minutes and change out of my floor length dress and into some more travel appropriate ware! Live life on the edge a little....until next time Mexico...I love you!