What a view

Trip Start Sep 07, 2011
Trip End Sep 06, 2012

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Firstly I have to apologise as I am writing this with a really heavy cold and I probably will not be as enthusiastic as I normally am, but here goes................

I had booked myself on a day tour today which was going to take me to the most famous attractions in Rio. As it is a day tour, I would assume it would be all day, however, I was not picked up until 1 pm so in the morning I decided to go to the beach to see if it would make me feel better as I have come down with a really heavy cold on top of my water infection.

I don't think I told you in yesterday's blog that the tablets that I got from the chemist for my water infection has changed the colour of my wee.  You can imagine the shock I had that when I had to go to the toilet yesterday afternoon after taking the tablets for a few hours, my wee had turned bright green, a bit like the green toilet duck products you can buy.  Hmmm I'm a little concerned now!!!  I know i'm in Brazil and they love their flag (which is green and yellow) and so do I, but they don't have to make chemical products that turn you that colour too!

The bus came for me around 1.15 pm and once we have rounded up all of the troops, we headed off to our first destination, Parque Nacional da Tijuca, Corcovado, or to you and me, Christ the Redeemer.  The journey up the hill was a very steep and slow one.  I don;t know why they decided to make one of the steepest hills in Rio out of cobbles.  You have to drive quite slow and you can imagine how bumpy that would be.  You have two choices to get to the top where Christ is situated, either by minibus, or take the novelty train up the hill.  We took the comfortable option and took the minibus.  On the way up, the driver stopped as he spotted a little monkey in the tree.  I took me forever to spot it as it was pretty camouflaged.  He was so cute and so tiny.  Unfortunately I was too far away to take a photo, however, I am glad I saw him as this is the first monkey I have seen in the wild.

Once we got to the top into the car park we then had to make another choice.  Do we want to take the original path up to Christ which consists of 220 steep steps, or take the elevator and escalators that have recently been put in. Hmmm, let me think, I'll take the lift please!!! 

Within 2 minutes I was at the top and oh boy, was I not disappointed.  What a view and what a statue.  Once you walk in front of the statue you walk to the edge of the hill which gives you a panoramic view of Rio and the surrounding area.  It sent shivers down my spine when I looked out, the view was mind blowing.  It was a lovely clear day and we were lucky to see so far.   He was certainly looking down on us today!

The statue is incredible.  It is 130 ft tall and looks down over Rio and you can see it from virtually everywhere you go in Rio.  They have even built a small church inside the base where you can go and pray.  It is one of those things that I have always seen on the TV, but never thought I would see in real life.  Amazing! 

The only bad thing about being on a tour is that you feel everything is a little rushed.  We only had 30 minutes here and then had to go, so elbowing all the other tourists out the way, I took as many photo's as possible and then headed back down the steps to the van.

The next stop was Santa Teresa.  This suburb used to be for the rich and famous a long time ago, however, as time went on, other suburbs were created and the rich moved out into places like Leblon and Ipanema.  Santa Teresa was then taken over by the artists and became a very bohemian area.  We really only drove through the streets, apart from making a quick stop to look in a couple of artisan shops.  I really didn't see the point in this part.  It would have been nice to stop and have a walk around the streets to see the architecture, but we didn't have time.

Next stop, Sambadrome.  This is where the official carnival parade is held every year.  It is a long road which concrete seating either side that runs for more than 1 km.  Most of the year it is empty, apart from when the Samba schools practice for Carnival. We were fortunate enough to be able to try on a carnival costume. We had to pay $5 reals, which is nothing for the pleasure. My eyes lit up as I love dressing up and the carnival outfits are so colourful. You can see by the pictures why I chose my outfit! I will try and upload the brief video of my audition to enter the carnival. Let me know what you think. I loved this part of the tour and could have stayed here all day trying outfits on.

Next stop, Lapa.  I had already been here, but not seen the famous Lapa Street Steps or Escadaria Selaron as they are better known. The guy who created this is Jorge Selaron and he started this all off back in 1990. His house is on these steps and one day he decided to make them look a little nicer and brighter. It just grew over the years and people from all over the world now send him tiles to add to the steps. He was there when we visited.  For a guy that is so famous, he is truely a miserable man, or so it seemed. I asked if I could have my photo taken with him and he grumpily said, you go in my studio first and look around. I think he wants everyone to buy something before he will allow a photo to be taken. Maybe this is just an act, but he looked pretty miserable. We took a quick look in the studio which was full of tiles and postcards and tat to buy, which I didn't, and then managed to get a quick photo.

Last stop of the day was Sugar Loaf.  This is the big hill/mountain that sits the ocean but has the another amazing view all around Rio. The reason the hill was given this name was that when the Portuguese conquered Brazil and found Rio, they though the shape of the hill resembled a sugar loaf, and so it was named.   To get to the top of Sugar Loaf, you have to take two cable cars. It only takes about 3 minutes in each car to get up there, as it is a pretty nifty cable car. Again, when we got to the ti op, we were not disappointed.  By the time we got to the top, the sun has just set so the sky looked amazing.  It would have been good to be here maybe 30 minutes earlier just to see the sun setting, but it still looked awesome. To be honest, I think the view from here is better than the view from Christo.
We spent about 20 minutes up here before we had to head off back.

I had an amazing day, even though I struggled to get going and keep going.  When I got back to the hostel I just collapsed.  I was so exhausted and tired that I wasn't up for doing anything.  It was John's last night again, and they all wanted me to go out, but there was no way I could face it.  I'm glad I never as they did not go out until 11 pm and got in gone 5 am!
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Mama on

Lucy, I haven't made many comments on your photo's as I really didn't want to put the same thing on them! Rio looks a simply fantastic place to visit (or live if you have the money) and was blown away seeing Christ and all the beautiful views around of Rio by day and night. What a lucky, lucky girl you are.

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