Jesus is big in Rio

Next morning we decided to do the big tourist sites. First stop the Christ the Redeemer. We decided to brave the buses as they stopped right outside our hotel. This turned out to be the budget option as we paid 5 Reals for both of us, about £2, for what turned out to be a 40min bus journey to the opposite side of town. To get up to the statue there are two options, cog railway or a drive up the mountain. We opted for the cog railway as we could organise this ourselves and also we’d been on the “first cog mountain railway in the world” in New Hampshire & thought we could do some comparison! The track was a lot less steep for a start, they were clearly less ambitious in Brazil than in America!

Come on then Brazil, you're in competition!

We reached the summit after a 20 minute journey & then we had a short walk up to the statue itself. The views were spectacular, as was the statue. A feat of worldwide artistry, design & engineering. Different parts designed by different people in different places then put together, delivered up the mountain and assembled. If you believe the advertising too, this was all done with absolutely no damage to any part. Careful hands!

The big guy himself!

The summit was full of people all trying various stunts to get the perfect picture with Jesus, comedy poses were all the rage. We did our own!

I'll just hang out here....

Can I have a hug?

You could see as far as Sugar Loaf, Copacabana Beach, Ipanema Beach and a lot of the development of Rio.

Linz captures it all

The lake and the sea - plenty of available water for Rio

Sugar Loaf!

Copacabana beach and where we are staying is down there!

It also gave us a birds eye view of some of the favelas. Not sure what we had in mind for a favela but actually the developments we could see were better constructed than we had anticipated. They also seemed to have been built with permanence in mind. Some brick construction was evident as well as the more stereotypical corrugated iron. Even Favela tours are offered but this just seemed step too far to treat some of the city’s (country’s) poorest people as a tourist attraction. Or maybe this was a good way to bring this issue to wider notice, or does it encourage people to stay put??? Definitely a topic for deeper discussion.

Favela in the foreground, our hotel in the background. Not to be confused!

On the way back we dutifully joined the queue (we are British) to go back down the cog railway. We thought it was exceptionally long and we couldn’t understand why groups of people were taken by site staff away in the opposite direction to the railway. After about 10 minutes of waiting though it all became clear. The railway had broken down and we were being collected in vans and taken down the mountain road. So, the American railway won for reliability but at least this way we got to experience both options.

Oops, Brazilian engineering 0.... America 1

Jesus visited, we were then on to Rio de Janeiro’s other main attraction, Pao de Azucar or Sugar Loaf Mountain. The Portuguese named it because the shape of the mountain resembles a traditional dessert. It is situated in an imposing location, marking the entrance to Rio’s harbour & probably would have been the first thing that the Portuguese saw when entering Rio.

Yes Linz we are going up there!

We caught the same bus back towards our hotel & Copacabana beach, jumping off when we could see Sugar Loaf close to us. By the time the bus stopped though, we’d just lost sight of it but as it was already getting on for early afternoon we walked with purpose to where we thought it was. Half an hour later we arrived at the bottom of the cable car. Linz looked up and at that point we were nearly not going anywhere. Or Linz wasn’t. As you can see from the pictures the Sugar Loaf is two summits and two cable car rides. The first follows the line of the mountain although Linz wasn’t looking out the window, so it was left to Coln to confirm the first ride gave great views of the city. The second “dangles” between the two summits, hanging in mid air…. Linz clung on for dear life and hid her face.

It's ok Linz, hold on tight!

The views again were amazing. Especially looking up to Christ the Redeemer, reversing our position from earlier in the day.

We've been up there!

Some of the panoramic viewpoints were a little too  high for Lindsey’s liking. So she elected to be photographer from a distance, good job we have a good zoom!!

It's great from here thanks....

Rio de Janeiro has two airports, the larger international one which is situated on the outskirts of the city and the smaller domestic airport, situated right on the harbour front. From the top of Sugar Loaf you look down on the airport with the slightly unnerving experience of planes taking off below you and what appears to be narrowly missing you!

Apparently it will miss us

Another unexpected bonus were the monkeys that had taken residence at the summit. They were clearly show offs & definitely enjoyed having their picture taken!

A rival for Lindsey's "cute" title

On the way back down Linz looked up whilst Colin took pictures of climbers scaling the sheer cliff walls of the opposite mountain. Then it was time for skype.

There are climbers going up that, honest!

That evening we also had a mission to undertake. The following day was 6 nations rugby and the internet told us that there are places where we could watch the game in Rio. So, never like us to be underprepared, we took a taxi out that evening to the bars to research the best option. The Irish bar (Shenanigans) we discovered only opened at 6pm, although they assured us they were showing the rugby we weren’t convinced considering it started at 12noon. We did, however find a sports bar that claimed that we were showing it and it looked nice so we considered our research over. It was definitely over when we found a brilliant place to eat, that Bar-b-qued the food at your table. We could not have eaten any more meat!


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