On my last day I only had a few hours before my flight so I took the train up to Cinelandia in the centre and walked about 10 minutes to Lapa.
Lapa is one of the oldest neighbourhoods and has as old Roman style aqueduct running through it dating from before 1750. It no longer holds water but instead carries the ‘bonde’, an old tram which would have been a fun ride if I’d had more time.
The area is run down and a bit edgy but stick to the main streets where there are lots of people and you should be ok.
I had lunch at Novel Capel, another old-school dining room with waiters in white tunics. Apparently they are famous for their bad tempers but mine were fine. The restaurant is one large room with seating for about 80 (it was packed and noisy when I went) and the decor doesn’t seem to have been renovated since it opened in 1967.
I went for the house special of Cabrito (roast goat) which came with roast potatoes and broccoli rice, a new concept for me. It was ok (B) but nothing special and the portions were too big for me to finish, as usual.
With this a half bottle of Brazilian Cab Sauv Merlot (Miolo ‘Selecao’ 2009), my first taste of Brazilian wine. It was drinkable (C) but not something I would get again. Chilean and Argentinian labels dominated the wine list. With a beer and a water it cost me the equivalent of about £40, yikes! All in all prices are pretty expensive in Rio, much more than I expected. Don’t expect to eat and drink cheaply and well.
My main reason for coming here was to see the Escadaria Selaron (thanks for the tip Kat), a stairway going up the hill to Santa Teresa, which has been decorated in multi-coloured tiles by the Chilean artist Selaron as his personal tribute to the Brazilian people.
The artist is there most mornings so you can meet him and have a chat. 2013 update: very sadly Selaron has since died in mysterious circumstances. To my knowledge even now we still don’t know the cause of death.