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The world’s most beautiful city

The world’s most beautiful city was discovered on 1st January 1502 by the Portuguese fleet led by Pedro Alvares Cabral. Thinking that the impressive entrance was the mouth of an enormous river, they called it the River of January, but it is, in fact, a massive bay, Guanabara Bay. When you are distracted by the amazing scenery, and mountains appear to rise directly out of the sea, in a location of such natural beauty, such a mistake is understandable. If you were to choose the most beautiful city in the world what would your criteria be? You don’t usually find beaches in a city do you? Well, no you don’t. But this is not a usual city. There are over a hundred beaches in and around the city with 80 kilometres of beach. These include three of the most famous beaches in the world, Copacabana, Ipanema made famous by the song ‘Girl from Ipanema’ and the white sands of Leblon. This city has a number of mountains, one, the Sugar Loaf Mountain, appears to rise directly out of the sea. The Corcovado Mountain, the home of the famous statue of Christ, is also a spectacular mountain, offering stunning views over the whole city. On the other side of the city, is Pedra Bonita, a mountain where hangliders throw themselves off the rock to land on Praia do Pepino, Cucumber Beach, below. There are also Dois Irmaos, the Two Brothers, who watch over the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon. It is unusual to have any significant green areas in a city, never mind a forest, but Rio has the two largest urban forests in the world, the Tijuca Forest, and the Pedra Branca Forest. These forests lead up the mountain, Corcovado, from where the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer stands, which surveys most of Rio. Just to make up the almost overwhelming mixture of nature’s most precious possessions, Rio also has a lake, the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, best seen from Corcovado, where it appears as a mirror below, in the shimmering sunshine. Then you have the man made beauty in the city. Rio is also home to more than 50 museums, and one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. The city is also home to many of Brazil’s greatest writers and musicians who have just looked around the city where they live for inspiration. Rio was the capital of Brazil from 1763 to 1960, when the capital was moved to Brasilia. The Portuguese Royal Family made it their home in 1808 when fleeing Napoleon’s armies, and built many fine traditional buildings. The Opera House is of outstanding beauty and there are several royal palaces to explore. Oscar Niemayor, the modernist architect who brought Brasilia to the world’s attention by his outstanding designs for the city, has also left his mark in Rio, with the modern museum of art his most beautiful creation. It looks stunning perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Bay of Guanabara, and appearing to be where a spaceship has just landed. There are many more beautiful modern buildings in the city. Rio also stages the two biggest and best parties in the world. New Years Eve is celebrated every year on Copacabana beach where everyone dresses in white for the all night party to welcome in the New Year. The firework display lasts more than twenty minutes, launched from boats in the bay. In February every year the most spectacular, biggest and longest party in the world takes place. This is the Carnival. This starts on a Friday night and finishes at midday the following Wednesday. For four and a half days, the Cariocas, the inhabitants of this amazing city, dance, party, sing, parade, and lots of other things until they, quite literally, drop. And then before you know it, you have to leave Rio. As you sit at Rio’s airport, waiting for your flight to be called, suddenly a voice comes across the loudspeakers calling a flight. Except this is not any ‘voice’. It is a ladies voice which comes across in cool, calm sultry tones, full of pregnant pauses, almost orgasmic in its poignancy. “Passengers on flight number… to London, please, please come …..to gate number… sixxx.” It just isn’t fair! You are already disappointed to be leaving, and here is the sexiest, crumbliest voice in the world telling you to leave, but really holding you back! Passengers have been known to look at the loudspeakers in disbelief, walk blindly to the wrong gates, just walk around aimlessly looking for the ‘voice’ or just smile, a knowing smile, knowing that this is Rio de Janeiro, the most beautiful, the most amazing, and the sexiest city in the world! Gerard Moxon is Founder of Luxury Hedonist. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Gerard Moxon

Gerard Moxon travelled widely during the course of an international career which including living in Brazil, France and Portugal. Gerard is a Director of Carte Blanche Travel and the Founder of Luxury Hedonist, a blog on the luxury industries.

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