By Tom and Lennert
It’s nine o’clock in the morning, everyone is enjoying breakfast. But it’s not the bread and eggs that get the attention, it’s this one heroic young man on his way to immortality. Despite his recent acquirement of a driving license, the expectations are high… Then the lights turn green and the race has begun! Half a minute in, our hearts skip a beat. Those two silberpfeilen run each other off the track. Our hero is just one spot away from making history! Led by his new teammate and chased by the red cars the race continues. Overtaking is difficult so it seems like pit stop strategy will decide the outcome. His two main competitors dive into the pit and Max is leading the race, but for how long?
Lap times are good, strategy seems dead on, he makes one stop less than his competition and stays ahead, but will the tires last till the end of the race? A tortured time follows full of hope and tension. One mistake or just plain bad luck could wreck this dream we’re living. How to cope with the pressure as an 18 year old while the world is watching? As if he’s been doing it for years he drives a totally perfect race, putting the lap times in like Sven Kramer on his skates. The whole of The Netherlands believes in him, we’re witnessing the rise of a champion. A handful of laps left and Kimi seems to give in, no one’s taking this away from us. Everybody knew he was going to be great, but no one expected it would be this soon. Teary-eyed we hear the commentator’s voice break and we jump up from excitement! A champion, or maybe a messiah, is born this Pentecost day! If anyone received the holy spirit this day it must be Max Verstappen! What a hero, we will remember this day forever.
As if this day didn’t bring us enough joy yet, the sky turned blue. Somewhat behind schedule we took a cab to the Ipanema Hippie Fair, a relatively large square area hosting stands with all kinds of souvenirs, merchandise, food, local handcraft work, paintings and lots of soccer shirts and flip-flops. The visit gave us a first impression of Ipanema, but the most important thing had yet to come: the famous beach! After putting on loads of sunscreen, everyone chose their own strategy: get some rest, play beach soccer, walk along the shore or negotiate with the numerous amount of street(/beach) vendors.
At some point, the declining position of the sun made us aware that it was time for our next stop: Sugarloaf Mountain! Two rides in a cable car brought us to the top of the gigantic rock, situated between Botafogo and Copacabana. The view of the city is enchanting and very welcome after failing to see anything of Rio back at Christ’s feet. There’s obviously some melancholy in those with a loved one at home. We will share this moment with pictures for now.
Back at the foot of the mountain it’s time for a walk to the restaurant for this evening. A genuine ‘boteca’ with Brazilian grill specialties has never been a bad choice, and we can recommend the filet mignon to everyone. While we enjoy the meal the moment to leave Rio comes closer and we look back at some great days. Back at the hotel we packed our bags and drank some last caipirinhas during the ‘Drinking Game of Thrones’. Salient detail is what we found out about our hostel in São Paulo during this game: it’s being renovated at the moment so we have to move to another hostel. If we hadn’t found out, it would’ve been a very unpleasant surprise. Now we’ll close our eyes for the last time in our beloved Rio.