Let the Games Begin! Our 1st Olympic Weekend

What an exciting time to be in Rio! We’ve lived here for two years and have only known the city under Olympic construction. It’s so great to have the traffic clogging, view obstructing, construction mess cleared away – we’re loving all the new additions and renovations!

Here are some of our Rio Olympic highlights from the past few days.

COPACABANA Thursday, August 4th

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Megastore

My daughter and I had to check out the souvenirs and t-shirts at the Megastore.

IPANEMA – The calm before opening day

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USA House

The USA House is in Ipanema – it is by invitation only, but everyone can visit the USA Store on the ground level.

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Country and futebol club pride – #TEAMBRASIL #Botofogofan

LEBLON – Hospitality Houses on the Beach

Denmark House

The Denmark House (open to the public) showcases Denmark’s culture and commitment to green energy. Did you know that 80% of Denmark’s children either ride bikes or walk to school?

The German House (open to the public) has music, big screens for sports viewing, food, beer, and fun! We’ll definitely go back before the Olympics are done. Maybe next time the food lines won’t be as long and I can get currywurst and a pretzel.

German House - Leblon, Rio de Janeiro

Olympic Torch

We walked home from the German House and had only been home for a short while when my husband and I heard sirens and loud music coming down our street. We rushed out onto our balcony and saw several bus like vehicles (basically discos on wheels with dancing people, flashing lights, and blasting music). It was after 11:00pm and the Olympic Torch was coming! We knew our street was part of the torch route but assumed we had missed its passing while we were out and about. We raced downstairs and followed the torch brigade a few blocks (me in my Havaianas – flip flop flip flop) and saw the passing of the flame – so cool!

LAGOA – Friday, August 5

Friday was declared a city holiday, and while my husband still had to periodically check and answer work emails, we were otherwise free to explore.

Swiss House

The Swiss House (open to the public) with its snow globe, mini track, slack line, and faux ice-skating rink is a huge hit with little kids.

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See the bowl with pickled onions, pickles, roasted potatoes and melted cheese? SO YUMMY!

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OLYMPIC BOULEVARD – PORTO MARAVILHA

Big screens for viewing the Olympic Opening Cermonies were set up in Praça Mauá in Porto Maravilha (Rio’s newly renovated port district). Traveling by metro, we arrived in Centro at dusk and walked to the waterfront. I can’t get over how great downtown looks!

Praca Maua

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We took a slow walk through the Brazil House and a quick walk through the Coca Cola Store. We liked their running man hanging art display.

Coca Cola

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Longing and love – I keep waiting for you

Olympic Boulevard

Street food

OOOOOOO! Are those sun-dried tomatoes? Dinner on the street  – Pizza Al Taglio Food Truck 👍

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A chill classical guitarist added beautifully to the evening’s ambiance.

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The new street art along Olympic Boulevard is fabulous – LOVE the long wall of faces from around the world!

Murals

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Here is the brand new Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) looking like something out of Star Trek.

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Back at Praça Mauá, DJs kept the growing crowd entertained.

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We had planned to stay in Praça Mauá for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, but nature called. We stumbled upon the Lego city of Rio while searching for a restroom.

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We then discovered another big screen at the Skol House – people were actually sitting to watch.

Opening Ceremonies

Our feet were exhausted so we plopped down and watched the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in this cozier venue. I felt tears well up when the Brazilians around us sang along to their National Anthem – the first Olympics in South America, what a proud moment for Brazil! We had two friends who were dancing in the Opening Ceremonies so we kept hoping to catch a glimpse of them in their colorful wigs. We watched until the US athletes came out and then we took the metro home – had to wake up early, we had  tickets to a session of qualifying rounds for Men’s Gymnastics at the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca.

OLYMPIC PARK (Parque Olímpico) – Saturday, August 6th

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Brazil was competing in this round and the local crowd was really into it – they periodically broke out in chants of BRA-SIL-BRA-SIL-BRA-SIL,  we joined in too! There was a wonderful moment when Brazil’s Diego Hypolito burst into tears after receiving a great score on his floor exercise routine.

Mens Gymnastics

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HOLLAND HEINEKEN HOUSE  and DUTCH HOSPITALITY

The sun and heat were intense out at the Olympic Park, so it was wonderful to unwind at the Holland Heineken House – drinking Fanta (orange of course) and Heineken while watching USA vs China Olympic Basketball on the poolside big screen. At 10:00pm the entertainment rocked!

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LEBLON – Sunday, August 7th

Although we did not have any event tickets today we caught glimpses of the women’s cycling race from our balcony.

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My husband spent the day working.

LA

Here he is with the Mayor of LA who is leading the LA  2024 delegation.  Since we’re from Southern California, we hope Los Angeles gets to host the 2024 Summer Olympics!

Well that’s a wrap!

This week will be busy and exciting – starting with beach volleyball tickets tonight and then basketball, swimming, and table tennis later in the week.

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