Day 21: July 21, 2013 by Karl
Wrapping up this trip in writing will be tough. Words cannot describe how incredible our journey has been and this final day was no different. We all did our final shopping at the hippie market in General Osorio Square here in Ipanema. The sky cleared up just in time for us to then go to the beach one last time. The waves were just as big as yesterday so we stayed out of the water for the most part and put our new found knowledge of the sport futevolei (Volleyball with only using the head, chest and legs) to the test and tried to play; albeit unsuccessfully. Afterwards we all came back and got ready for the big Fluminense and Vasco game at Maracana Stadium.
After a slight mixup with some of the tickets, we were all on the Vasco side of the stadium but once we entered we could tell that no matter where we sat it was going to be a great time and a great atmosphere. I had never been to a professional soccer match before so I was incredibly excited and it easily surpassed my expectations. The stadium has been recently renovated and capacity cut in half to make for a much more grandiose stage for the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics. The stadium looks incredible and the game was just as amazing. The atmosphere was rowdy the entire time and fortunately for us Vasco won the game 3-1; allowing us to experience firsthand the intensity and excitement that is experienced during a Brazilian Premier League game
Lastly, for our farewell dinner we ate at an amazing buffet a couple blocks from the hostel. They had a huge salad bar and we were brought all types of meats to our table. The food was incredible and was a great last meal for all of us to have together.
I can honestly say these last three weeks have been the greatest experience of my life. From the culture and language we learned about in the classroom, to practicing Capoeira, going on hikes, hang gliding, celebrating a victory at Maracana with the Vasco fans and so much more. This will be an experience never forgotten by my peers and I; it was easy for us to see why Rio is a prime location for Kinesiology students to study the culture of health, wellness, and sport. We came, we learned and we saw Rio to the fullest and I’m incredibly thankful to the CIEE program directors, Jan and all others that made this abroad program happen for us.