We were not going to miss the opportunity of going to a botanical garden in Brazil, right? Not surprisingly, this was a fantastic experience (although one could also think all I need for a great time is some nature and the chance to walk for hours...).
This is one huge garden, I think we actually missed a number of sections, but I made sure we hit some of the more interesting ones, like the one containing cacti (probably one of my favourite kind of plants) of many different and beautiful colours and strange shapes. Plus a lily pond with dragonflies! A good start!
Also, on a bush nearby, we were looking at a spiderweb, and got to see the owner in frightening action! Some poor insect flew into the web and, in less than a fraction of a second, the spider had woven a cocoon around its next meal! I don't think I'd ever seen a spider in action, and what a precise and fast action that was!
The other section I had to visit was the orchid garden. Containing all the orchids you could need, ever, period. All sizes, colours, shapes... I could spend hours looking at these elaborate flowers. One kind even had spots that looked like the face of a lion, or of Shakespeare, or Jesus? I guess our brain takes a very important role in finding patterns, eh?
Then there was the Mata Atlântica (the Atlantic Forest). What did we find there? Well, who the hell knows what that was, but huge gourd-like things hanging from otherwise ordinary looking trees? What the...? This was a good reminder of how different vegetation in this part of the world can get!
And we also got our nice share of wildlife! I guess such a big botanical garden had to have some, right? First, we saw some monkeys! They were so cute to look at, but they were not behaving cute at all. If there is animal bullying, that had to be it. A couple of monkeys were being simply mean to another one. Like really mean, not giving the poor fellow a break! Fascinating! And to complete the experience? A couple of toucans flew by! Had a good look at them, though it happened too fast to take a pic.
Monkeys and toucans. Check!
This was a really nice stroll. The rest of the flora was incredible. There were these trees with gorgeous purple flowers, gigantic bamboo, a promenade flanked by palm trees, some huge orange-pink and vaguely obscene/erotic flowers with a strange waxy texture, a behemoth of a tree that flowers one night a year, and some trees that had brown bark peeling off and revealing a rich green colour underneath. Wow!
One of my best memories of that trip to Rio (well, I think almost everything qualifies for a best memory title, whatever).