Returning to Rio

Returning to Rio

It’s the heat that hits me first, second are the smells and finally it’s the tastes that remind me that I’m finally back in Rio. 

As we set foot out of the taxi onto the familiar concourse of JP’s apartment building, we greet the porteiros before heading for his apartment which will become my temporary home again, this time for a short two weeks. Everything feels so familiar, like I’ve never been away but at the same time I know I’ve been away for far too long. After chatting with his housemates I set my bag down and begin unpacking, determined to be at home as quickly as possible. I come bearing goodies from England that you can’t find in the supermarkets here and I soon realise just how little clothes I actually packed… but it doesn’t really matter. I’m here. I take a quick look out on the balcony, peering at that view that has come to feel like home before admitting defeat to tiredness. (It was evening at this point the below photo was taken a few days later) 

Returning to rio Returning to Rio Returning to Rio

The familiar doesn’t linger for long, my first full day back in the city is full of new sites, new neighbourhoods and new experiences. As we drive along the motorway lined with buildings I can’t help but stare in awe. These buildings might lack in windows and have tin roofs but there is something about them drawing me in. Each one so different from the next but still home to thousands of this Rio population. This is the closest I’ve gotten to a favela yet and finally I feel like I’m finding the ‘real’ Rio. It reminds me that there is so much more of Rio to see. I don’t think I could ever see and do everything in this city no matter how long I spend here.

returning to rio returning to rio

Stepping on the metro reminds me how much of a contrasting city Rio is from the city workers in their business clothes while others (who could never afford the metro) wonder in a dirty t.shirt and worn sandals. It isn’t just the people the buildings have the same contrasts; expensive and fancy looking apartments juxtaposed with those favela esque buildings I described above. It’s a city filled with the excitement of something always happening. Of people leading entirely different lives but all living under the eye of Cristo.

returning to rio

Another day dawns in the city and my feet hit the cobbled pavements. They know exactly where they are going. My first proper run since injuring my knee and the run I’ve dreamed of since I left rio. I hit the pavement along Copacabana beach with that famous black and white pattern below my feet. As I pound along the pavement a wave of happiness hits me. It is so good to be back in this city. To be running along Rio’s most famous beach. As the sun rises above the ocean and a new day is upon Rio and I’m so glad to be a part of it again.

returning to rio

It is easy to settle back in to a routine and way of life here but it is those first few days where I’m seeing everything for the first time again that I treasure the most. I’ve always loved the feelings you get when you see a place for the first time but seeing somewhere for the second time, after such a long while has a similar effect.

Have you returned to a city or destination more than once? How do you find it?

Jodie Signature


  1. 5th April 2016 / 3:20 pm

    I loved reading this post! I was supposed to be getting back from a trip to Rio today, actually. It would have been my first time there. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my trip due to visa issues. Your post has inspired me to make sure I book another trip to Rio sooner rather than later!

    • Jodie Louise
      20th April 2016 / 7:12 am

      I hope you get to take a trip to Rio at some point, it really is worth it!

  2. 5th April 2016 / 9:25 pm

    Love this Jodie, I think it’s always really potent returning to somewhere you love or have particular memories. Your writing makes me feel like I’ve been to Rio before!
    Often it’s the smell for me too, that first brings those memories flooding back.
    Have an amazing time xx

    • Jodie Louise
      20th April 2016 / 7:10 am

      Thanks Rachel 🙂 This is the first time I’ve properly returned somewhere so I think my senses were on full alert. xxx

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