Gooooooalllll is the spirit song in Rio. The beaches are magnificent; the silky sand caresses the souls of football fanatics with endless pick-up matches, foot volley and lazy siestas between matches for fans cheering on their teams. Brazil is the place to be. The capaharinas are flowing, flags are flying and face paint is a norm.
It only happens once every four years and Brazil is the epicentre of the beautiful game where the samba is sizzling the streets.
I am here in Rio writing for the Vancouver Sun and Canada.com thanks to Flight Centre sponsoring my trip. I am so thankful to be at my seventh straight World Cup since Italy in 1990. The matches have been magnificent with tons of scoring, surprise upsets and daily drama. As a fan, you don’t have to have tickets to the games to have an amazing experience. Here in Rio, they have a FIFA Fan Fest on the beach with big screens showing all the action. The zone is electric with bands between games, fan activities at booths, a zip line and even a carnival ride. If you want souvenirs, the store here is better than a candy shop for the football fanatic.
Exterior the Fan Fest, there are dozens of mini bars right on the beach where a chorus of eclectic chants ring out from supporters cheering on their teams. The street is pulsing with patriots caped in their national flags, drummers, carioca dancers and a rhythmic groove that is intoxicating. The buzz never stops because this is the World Cup in Brazil.
If you are lucky to score a ticket to a match, you will be wowed.
I forgot how amazing it is to see a World Cup game until I walked into Maracana stadium and was mesmerized by the magnitude, the energy and the exquisite field. I saw France play Ecuador. The touch on the ball and the movement was magic. I will remember it for a lifetime.
I am thankful to Flight Centre for giving me this fantastic opportunity. I was also surprised at how great the prices were to go to Brazil during this time. It is so worth to enjoy a once in a lifetime trip to the World Cup. Rio is simply glorious.