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FIFA World Cup in Brazil

Published 01/10/2014 11:53

In 2007 it was announced that Brazil would host the 20th FIFA World Cup and from that day I had made up my mind to witness the tournament on site in South America. Ever since I was a child I have been a fan of Brazil’s with their great stars and samba football. When we played soccer at home on the lawn I was either Zico or Socrates!

Me and my pal Bengt bought tickets for three matches, booked four hotels in three cities and stayed ready with 11 flight tickets each. In June 2014 it was time at last for travelling to Brazil. The adventure started with a long stopover in Paris, so we had time to go to the Eiffel Tower for the mandatory tourist pictures.

In the evening it was time to board the plane with destination Rio de Janeiro and our expectations of the trip rose since the staff at the gate had decorated it with Brazilian flags and dressed up in yellow and green outfit :)
Finally we were on our way to the World Cup!

We arrived in Rio early in the morning and in the taxi cab to the hotel I eventually saw him, Christ the Redeemer! High above the city stands the classic statue which I have always dreamt of seeing in real life. Just imagine that we had actually come all the way to Rio de Janeiro.

Our hotel was located in the neighbourhood of Lapa, which suited us perfectly. In the daytime we had easy access by tube to the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, and in the evenings we had a 50-yard distance home from the bar street.
It was obvious that the World Cup was afoot for everywhere in the city lots of match jerseys, vuvuzelas, wigs etc. were at sale and streets and beaches were filled with singing fans from all over the world.

Our hotel was a stone’s throw from the Metropolitan Cathedral and inside it you could see fans praying for success in the tournament.

At the fantastic beach of Copacabana the atmosphere was wonderful during the World Cup. At one end of the beach there is the fort of Forte de Copacabana, which we visited one day to get a few moments of cooling breezes out there beside the cannons. Then the right thing to do was to stroll along the four-kilometre Copacabana Promenade and delight in in all happy football fans, until reaching the other end of Copacabana, where an enormous area for fans had been prepared: FIFA Fan Fest™ Inside it the matches were shown on big screen TV, and sponsors had stalls with various activities. A magical atmosphere reigned when tens of thousands of fans cheered for their teams during the tournament in Copacabana.


A happy Lengan outside the fan area in Rio.


An exciting encounter with the footballer Rio Ferdinand at Copacabana.

The first match of the tournament was Brazil vs Croatia and we watched it at a street party in Alzirão. Thousands of fans always gather in that street when Brazil plays World Cup matches, and naturally we didn’t want to miss that. What a party it was! We could hardly move in the crowd and the cheering was unlimited when the home team won by 3-1 getting a good start in the tournament. Grown-ups and children danced, celebrating the win while we Swedish people just walked around enjoying being on site in South America :)


Children celebrating the Brazil win over Croatia.

One afternoon when Spain was playing a match we took the chance of visiting the Sugarloaf Mountain. That proved to be a stroke of genius for everybody else was watching the game and there was no queue at all to the cable car so we got away to the top directly. That was definitely one of the highlights of the trip and a must for everyone visiting Rio. The view of the city is marvellous and you can watch the beach life at Copacabana, Bogafoto and Flamengo. We experienced a sunset never to be forgotten. The colours beyond the mountains, the statue of Christ the Redeemer floodlit with dark clouds behind and the street lights being turned on along the promenades, everything was sheer magic!


A stunning night on the Sugarloaf Mountain.

Visiting the statue of Christ the Redeemer was naturally another highlight, since it represents my image of Rio de Janeiro. We went by mini bus along the winding and lush road up to the top of Corcovado Mountain, and suddenly, there I was on site at the foot of the statue I have always dreamt of seeing in real life. Of course I
felt shivers and got goose bumps looking out above the city with the statue of Christ behind me.
It was hard to realize that I had made one of my main dreams come true as I was standing there on the top enjoying the view. From one side of the statue one could look down at the legendary Maracanã Arena and from the other side one could see down to Ipanema and the Jockey Club Racecourse. In fact we visited the racecourse and there we found a showcase with footballer Pelé’s jersey from the World Cup in Sweden in 1958.


A dream coming true.


Magic atmosphere inside the Maracanã.

In the vicinity of the Jockey Club Racecourse there is the Botanical Garden and we made a visit there among turtles, monkeys, fish and wonderful palm trees. As you might know I love palm trees so my feelings were more than all right. This is a beautiful park definitely recommended for a visit if you are in Rio.


Fabulous palm trees in the Botanical Garden.

Another iconic sight is Sunset at Ipanema. Every evening lots of people gather on a cliff between Ipanema and Copacabana to enjoy the fabulous sunset. As the sun had just disappeared behind the mountains in a colourful scenery we did like everybody else: we gave the “show” a big hand and headed for nightlife in Lapa.


Sunset at Ipanema.

Nightlife in Lapa is widely known and famous, and we mingled around in the streets every night. Everywhere drinks and food were sold from little carts rolling in the neighbourhood. Our favourite venue was the Selarón Steps where we sat chatting with other fans from all over the world. The stairs are world-famous for colourful ceramics and if you give them a close look you can find a number of tiles from Scandinavia.
Our preferred club of the trip was “Carioca da Gema” where we danced to the best musicians. The venue had live music every night and all customers were in high spirits.


The Selarón Steps in Lapa.


Lots of tasty night food in Lapa.

What about football, then? We Swedish people often heard how much all other fans missed Zlatan Ibrahimović in the tournament and indeed it was a pity that Sweden had blown its chance to qualify for the World Cup, but still we had a good time on site.
The first match we watched live was at the legendary Maracanã, the area I have been dreaming of as long as I have been a football fan. What a feeling to walk into the arena and absorb the atmosphere, a World Cup in South America, in Brazil.
We watched the match Argentina vs Bosnia in the company of 75,000 other fans and the terrace chants gave me goose bumps! Argentina won by 2-1 and celebrations went wild all over the city since very many Argentinians had come to Rio.

Our second match was in the North of Brazil, in the city of Fortaleza. We had managed to get tickets for the Dream Match of Brazil vs Mexico! On our way to the arena the taxi passed through a Favela where people stood cheering the cars driving to the event. Outside the arena the atmosphere was magical, of course. Brazilian and Mexican fans were singing and dancing together and it was a surreal feeling that we were part of it all. Just imagine all the millions of fans who would love to change places with us at that time.
Inside the arena the atmosphere was no less intense. During the National Anthem of Brazil the crowd’s singing drowned the loudspeakers and once more I had goose bumps all over my body! Unfortunately the match ended 0-0, but this was an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life.


Brazil vs Mexico in Fortaleza.

The last match we watched live was Costa Rica vs England in Belo Horizonte. The night before we had watched on TV how Brazil beat Cameroon, resulting in mad celebrations with the Brazilians in Belo Horizonte. On account of that we were a bit tired as the match was played in the middle of the day in the heat. Moreover England was already eliminated from the tournament, so it wasn’t terribly exciting either. But still, it was a World Cup match and we expected a fun fight …. but of course it ended with 0-0. I love events, so after all it was fun!

The last afternoon in Rio we spent at Copacabana where we watched big screen TV and the match Brazil vs Chile. It was a round of 16 match and we were together with thousands of other fans outside FIFA Fan Fest™ . You could stand between this area and the ocean and still see the big screen and there the football party of the year took place. Mojitos and beers were sold from carts and cool bags and some of the fans were standing in the water dancing to samba music while other were sitting in their deck chairs waiting for the match. Brazil scored 1-0 and all of the beach went bananas, what celebration! Later when Chile equalized, their fans too, were loudly and clearly heard. This match was a real thriller and was finally settled in a penalty shoot-out where Brazil ended as winners. Wow! What excitement and what celebrations along all of Copacabana!
I was so happy that I could experience that match just there on the beach together with all the cheerful fans.


Brazil vs Chile at Copacabana.

Me and my pal Bengt spent a few wonderful weeks in Brazil and most probably I will return to Rio de Janeiro, hopefully as soon as 2016 when the Olympic Games will be held there.

Have a good time!
Cheers
Lengan

Book popular hotels in Rio de Janerio:

Copacabana Rio Hotel
Located on the seafront, 200m from the beach, 10 km from the National Historical Museum and 13.5 km from Cristo Redentor.

Atlantico Copacabana
Only three blocks from the famous Copacabana Beach, the Hotel Atlântico is a good choice for those travelling on business or leisure.

Rio Design Hotel
Located on the world known beach of Copacabana, in the south zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Windsor Atlantica
The Windsor Atlantica Hotel is located just 2 blocks from a variety of shops, restaurants and lively bars. Situated on Avenida Atlântica, across from Copacabna Beach and a five minute walk from Ipanema Beach.

Best Western Sol Ipanema
Located in front of the Ipanema beach.

OK Hotel
The OK Hotel is located 100m away from the Cinelandia square, 1km from the Modern Art Museum and also from the Rio de Janeiro Cathedral.

Arcos Rio Palace
The Arcos Rio Palace Hotel is located in the centre of Rio de Janeiro, in the Lapa area, and 9 km from the beach. 5 km from the train station.




A presentation of an event addict and palm loving blogger

Published 08/09/2014 11:06

My face is glowing with heat and I feel like fainting. Surely it’s got to be at least 45 degrees centigrade in between the buildings and no cooling bath in sight. I stagger along trying to look happy while the sweat is pouring down my face making my eyes burn. I can see taxicabs with their air-conditioning on and it’s tempting to hop in and order a trip to the shower … but I keep running along the streets in the neighbourhood of Lindholmen.

Finally my fingers start stinging and I feel totally exhausted and, I’ve got to admit it, I have hit the infamous Wall … in the GöteborgsVarvet Half Marathon. I start walking instead of running, feeling utterly worthless since the chance of achieving a personal best in the run has disappeared. Having reached the Free Port area I recollect what my friend Anna said the day before:
- Remember having fun! But of course! It’s like life: if there is a serious setback, still after a while you have to come back having fun. I was filled with new strength and enjoyed the festival atmosphere along the Avenue, waving to my friends who were cheering me from a pavement café, and eventually crossed the finishing line.

That’s what I am like, and I’m intending to write about adventure and experiences here, a stubborn bloke who loves events and travelling.

My name is Magnus, but all my friends call me “Lengan”. I live in Enköping, “The Most Neighbouring City in Sweden”, and I am a construction worker. I am lucky to have a boss who is also fond of travelling, so generally it’s no problem having some time off for all my adventures. Sun and beach or events in a city, it doesn’t matter for me. As regards Sun and Beach my favourite is the Caribbean, and when it comes to events I choose the Olympic Games.
Occasionally we also go to various cities for concerts. Some of the highlights have been Bruce Springsteen in New Jersey and Kilkenny and likewise U2 in Athens.

My travels this year have been to London, the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Liverpool, the World Cup Brazil and Mallorca.

The trip to Mallorca took place the last week of July, and together with a friend I stayed in Palma Nova, a stone’s throw from my cousin who lives with his family in Puerto Portals.

A hundred meters from my cousin’s flat there is a huge marina with fantastic luxury yachts. I enjoy strolling around there watching the vessels and the fine restaurants/bars. The cars parked along the waterfront are really no old bangers …. That’s indeed is a place to spend a few hours of one’s holiday.

Another type of entertainment to experience is the shopping in Palma, of course me and my friend spent a whole afternoon in the malls of El Corte Inglés and Porto Pi. My total shopping that afternoon was a Coca Cola for 2.65 Euros :) Cheap and fine. It didn’t end up equally inexpensive for my friend..
A useful hint in the mall of El Corte Inglés is to present your ID card at the information desk to show that you are a tourist, and then the store will offer you free paella and a glass of wine in the top floor cafeteria :) and likewise a 10% discount on selected products.

The climax of this trip was visiting my cousin’s farm in the countryside. There they grow olives, peaches, tangerines, grapes, apples, plums, tomatoes, basil, paprika, oregano, mint etc. We were truly pampered with sangria and a steady lunch from the raw materials in the garden. After lunch we plunged into their swimming pool until our skin started to raise objections. Those are the days I will recollect next winter!

I will also remember the hours I spent on my inflatable mattress in the water chasing the perfect tan, the one that pleasantly rasps the back when you dry yourself after the evening shower …

After the evening showers we tested the restaurants along the waterfront street Paseo del Mar in Palma nova, and our ultimate favourites were My Thai and My Tapas. Worth mentioning is also the beach bar Il Chiringo where we enjoyed a 2½-hour lunch with views of the beach and the sea, being like me devoted to luxurious living :)

I even treated myself to renting a sun bed every day for 4.5 Euros, which is a bit extravagant when you might as well lie down on a towel at the beach and feel the sand between your toes while watching all the beautiful palm trees ….

Now I’m going to look into a few adventures for next winter. I have given my boss the promise to work all autumn since the Olympics and the World Cup demanded many weeks off. It’s tough to have to decline football trips and other fun events this autumn, but I will never regret giving priority to the greatest events this year, the Olympics and the World Cup. Those were two trips that contained absolutely all I long for. There were even palm trees and people swimming in the sea in Sochi during the Winter Olympics ….

See you again soon
Best regards,
Lengan

(I have registered for GöteborgsVarvet Half Marathon 2015 ….. Revenge!)


Holidays! I like that!!


My favourite ocupation is to float around on an air mattress!

You can see the Cathedral from the Corte Ingles mall!


The beach in Palma Nova.


At my cousins country house I manage to find an air matress!

My favourite port – Puerto Portals!




Whistler

Published 15/01/2014 10:13

Do you love skiing, too? Do you love the scent of newly fallen snow? Do you lie awake wondering how much snow has fallen during the night? Or do you, like me, live in Sweden having a rainy and windy winter ….. still dreaming away, though, to a genuine winter with snow and skiing, a fireplace and a cup of some warming beverage. Or maybe you have never gone skiing and are not longing to do so either …? But I can promise you that if you get the chance of testing skiing in Canada, you will not regret it. And if you don’t like winter, this will change your mind. …. Whistler is just a fantastic place.

Whistler is located in the province of  British Columbia in Canada. It’s a two-hour drive from the beautiful city of Vancouver up to Whistler. Having snow tyre chains fitted to your car is something to be recommended. Vancouver is a remarkably nice city, the third most populous area in Canada. Vancouver has most advantages, e.g. a long-stretched lovely beach in the summer, and at wintertime you can take the opportunity of skiing. There are slopes closer at hand than Whistler (Grouse Mountain, for example), but I can assure you it’s worth the two hours of travelling there. Whistler was moreover honoured to host the 2010 Winter Olympics.

You get to Whistler by driving Highway 99 from Vancouver. The road to Whistler is winding and steep, and completely wonderful. You drive through the most beautiful landscape and wherever you watch little peaks appear, or calling them little is wrong, they are quite impressive. Make sure you don’t have to drive the car, so that you can wholeheartedly enjoy the gorgeous scenery around you.

Whistler and Blackcomb are two large mountain ranges close to each other. Connecting these mountains there is a cable car, PEAK 2 PEAK, carrying the skiers between the two. And this is not a gondola for those afraid of heights. It’s very far down to the valley. My favourite area was no doubt Cloud 9.

Here you’ll find everything for those who are fond of snow and winter, but likewise for those who favour trekking fine hiking trails are available at summertime. I for one, as you might understand, prefer winter. There are as many as 216 ski runs to choose among and the longest slope is more than 10 kilometres (6 miles). Amazing!

So to all of you skiing fans who have not yet discovered this resort, all I can do is warmly recommending Whistler. It’s worth every saved penny.

Love
Jenny

Popular hotels to book in Whistler:

Fairmont Chateau Whistler
Landmark hotel just a stone´s throw from the nearest ski lift.

Coast Whistler Hotel
In the heart of Whistler Village, steps away from all of the shops, restaurants and nightlife. Located across from the Whistler Golf Course.

Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa
Located in the heart of Whistler Village and mere steps from the chairlifts of the Whistler/Blackcomb resort, and world famous Whistler golf courses. 100% Nonsmoking hotel.

Listel Whistler Hotel
Located in the Whistler Village only 100 m from the ski lifts.

Delta Whistler Village Suites
4 star hotel close to the Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain gondolas.




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