(Fut)ballin’ in Brazil – Post Trip Thoughts

I've been back home for a few days now and just wanted to post a few post trip thoughts from my time in Brazil. In the end, the trip was pretty exhausting - I slept for 12 hours straight the day I got back, and this is after getting six solid hours of sleep on my flights home (and no appreciable time change). Aren't the best trips always like that? The World Cup as a Sporting Event: Must See If you're a sports fan, I think you should put the World Cup on your bucket list. I've been trying to think about what sets it apart from the Olympics and I think it's two things. First of all, the Olympics has all these random sports that very few people in [...]

(Fut)ballin’ in Brazil – Fears Finally Realized on the Long Way Back (Days 6 and 7)

I'm back in the States - after I got home yesterday afternoon I celebrated my five year anniversary and then proceeded to sleep from 8 PM to 8 AM. The last leg of my trip brought me face to face with two of the things I had feared most before I left: the infamous traffic and getting my money stolen from me. My flight from Rio was scheduled to leave at 9 PM. After the delirium of the USA qualifying for the knockout stages, I decided to relax for a bit before departing for the airport at 5 PM. Of course, that put me right into rush hour so it took me two hours to get to the airport! I noticed some interesting things in the traffic jam. First, my [...]

(Fut)ballin’ in Brazil – Random Musings (Day 5)

We went to our second game today - again it was quite an experience though it was pretty similar so I won't rehash it here. Instead, here are some random thoughts and musings about things I've noticed during my time here in Brazil which is regrettably coming to a close. One note about the stadium - again everything was very secure and we felt very safe. This time we cabbed it to the stadium and there were no issues, though again we left three hours before kickoff. Although streets are blocked off they let cabs through to drop people off (or at least it seemed that way) - not directly at the stadium but by one of the nearby train stations. We did have a little issue this time - [...]

(Fut)ballin’ in Brazil – Waiting for the Big Guy (Day 4)

In terms of touristy things, I had only one goal for this trip - Cristo Redentor. The most iconic sight in Rio was my only must-see outside of all the soccer. After taking it easy yesterday and with a match to watch tomorrow, today was the day. It turned out to be an all day affair. Let me start by saying this: buy tickets online. You can do that here. If you buy tickets online, you will be given a date and time. Show up at the train station, Trem do Corcavado, and you're entitled to a 20 minute ride up to Cristo Redentor and back all for 55 BRL. Or you can do what we did. The schedule didn't work out for us to purchase online, so first we [...]

(Fut)ballin’ in Brazil – Rest and Recovery (Day 3)

After three very full and stressful days, today was a day to take it easy. I slept in until about 930 and then we just hung around the apartment for awhile. When we finally went out, we had lunch at a little place called Galitos which is a chain of some sort. The way things have worked out with our busy schedule we haven't been able to eat anything authentic yet (though who knows Galitos probably is not either). Regardless, the food was excellent. Today is a Brazil match day so the whole city is abuzz. We made it to the beach and some stands wouldn't even rent us chairs because they were going home to watch the game. After finding a stand that was willing, I rented a chair [...]

(Fut)ballin’ in Brazil – Match Day Impressions (Day 2)

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for instant updates! The World Cup is an experience. There's no other way to put it. From the moment we stepped onto the subway until the final whistle of Belgium vs. Russia today in Rio, it was an amazing atmosphere and one that I won't soon forget. This is despite the fact that the match itself was pretty lackluster. Here are some haphazard thoughts from my experience today. Safety  I mentioned in another post before I left that one of my bigger concerns coming to Rio was the safety issue. Well, I must commend the city because I felt the game was very well organized and safe. When we got out of the Metro, there were plenty of volunteers and policemen guiding us in the [...]

(Fut)ballin’ in Brazil – Finally Here! First Impressions (Day 1)

After a long layover in Charlotte, I'm finally here in Brazil. As I type this Lionel Messi just drilled a stoppage time game winner - World Cup fever is officially on. A few things of note about our business class flight from Charlotte. The seat was fairly comfortable as far as angled-lie flat business class seats go - but my friend's seat stopped working from time to time which was pretty annoying. The food wasn't especially amazing, but I didn't expect much from US Airways so I wasn't disappointed. I think the biggest surprise for me was the in flight entertainment - they gave us Samsung Galaxy Tab 10s with movies, shows, and games preloaded! I thought that was pretty cool - although not as convenient as a personal screen [...]