As I landed in Istanbul last Valentine’s Day, I received an e-mail alerting me to an inordinately low fare to Rio de Janeiro on United for pretty much all year. I just happened to be on this trip to Istanbul with a bunch of travel friends, so the only logical thing for us to do was to immediately book a trip together to Rio!
So there we were, drinking free alcohol from the Club Level of the Grand Hyatt Istanbul – just blocks from Taksim Square. And what were we doing? Planning out what to do in Istanbul that weekend? Nope.
We were trying to book the most insane routings you could think of to get to Rio de Janeiro over Labor Day weekend and rack up as many miles as possible. At the time, this was a great idea since I was gunning for United Premier 1K status. Now, having achieved that status a few weeks ago, this routing looks pretty silly — even to me.
Thursday morning, I will be flying to Orlando — and then Houston to catch my Thursday night redeye flight to Rio de Janeiro. On Monday evening, I’ll be on the overnight flight back to Houston and then will be connecting to Denver, back to Orlando, and finally home to DC. It’s a total of 14,812 miles in an airplane — a perfect way to spend the weekend, right?
There are at least a dozen travel / miles enthusiasts who are making this trip, and we have a bunch of events planned. I’m slated to stay at the JW Marriott Rio de Janeiro — smack-dab in the middle of the famed Copacabana Beach. I will be staying a total of four days and three nights in Rio – a perfect getaway for Labor Day weekend. During my time here, I will be spending some time on the beach, touring various sights including Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer, and the beach neighborhoods of Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana. I also plan on sampling a ton of Brazilian food including dinner at Porcao – one of the more famous churrascarias (Brazilian-style steakhouses).
Sunday, I’ll be attending a futbol (soccer) game at the famous Marancana Stadium — the future site of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final and the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. I especially can’t wait for that, as I love going to sporting events in other countries.
I’ve been to Rio before, but was only there for a few hours on Ipanema Beach during a layover to start out my crazy 15-day adventure this past June. I’m definitely looking forward to spending some more time in Rio. Who knows? If I love it, I may just go back for the 2014 FIFA World Cup — I’ve already got award tickets booked just in case!
Does anyone have any suggestions for some other things to do or places to eat while in Rio? If so, I’d love to hear them!