After 12 hours spent on board of the plane we couldn’t wait to get out of the plane. Rio in the morning embraced us with lovely temperature of 30’C and really high humidity. We just quickly dropped our bags and headed right into the city centre to see the world famous Copacabana and the rest of the city known for samba, football and beautiful beaches. We got stuck in the traffic on the way from the airport but after that we could even more enjoy sound of sea waves in the weakening Copacabana. Sunbathing in the middle of March is really inspiring…
We had a whole day ahead of us and we decided to visit at least one of the main attractions which was the Sugar Loaf. We took a bus from nearby stop and headed to Pao de Acucar which is the starting point to the second most famous mountain in the city. You can get up there with modern chairlift and it won’t take long. You can prepare yourself for one of the most beautiful views you have ever seen. There are actually 2 mountains connected with the chairlift. The first one is Morro da Urca and the second one is the Sugar Loaf. It means that you have 2 rides up and 2 rides down with one ticket. From Sugar Loaf you can make beautiful pictures with Copacabana, Ipanema or Corcovado. Absolutely amazing… Be careful with the monkeys running up on the trees. They are cheeky and can easily steal anything from your bags. This place is really amazing and you can spend a whole day here but it started getting dark and we decided to call it a day.
Next day we started with my the most favourite place for me – Maracana stadium. Every football fan knows what Maracana means, for those who don’t it’s probably the most famous football stadium in the world. The capacity at the moment is around 100.000 spectators but according to our guide, the final match of 1950 World cup between Brazil and Uruguay where home country lost 1:2, there were approximately 200.000 spectators. For most of you Maracana is probably remembered from the last year’s World cup 2014 where the home team was trashed in semifinal by Germans 1:7. It is a beautiful stadium and I’ve got such a ritual, every city I visit I have to walk around the whole stadium. There was a long queue of fans waiting to buy tickets for the next match. The stadium itself went through a massive reconstruction recently. You can visit Press centre, VIP sector and also the player’s dressing room. The tour ends on the “holy grass” and you can also sit on the bench. Fantastic sport experience…
Todaywas very hotday and I decided to go to the beachbutthis time to Ipanema notCopacabana. Ipanemaisslightly smallerthanitsmore famoussisterCopacabanabutI’d say more photogenicwithmany palm treesandhills in the background. The beaches areafull of peopleand everyone is having a good time. Brazilianslove themandit’s the best place for all their activities. Besides national sports likefootball andvolleyballyou can also find here manyfood stalls, massage, souvenir shop, informationcentersetc.I satinto a heatedsand andletmyself to be carried awayby thegoodenergy ofthe sea, wind, music and singing.
The next day we wanted to learna little bit more aboutwhere we are andwhat we see. We have chosenorganized tour towalk around thecity.The meeting point was in the city center Carioca. Our firststop was theoldest and most famous confectionery inRio –ConfeitariaColombo which hosted manywell-known politicians, actors and writers.From there wethen proceededtothe Old Royal Palace. It was avery simplebuilding and it didn’t look like a palace at all.Furthermore, wecontinued tosquare withthe city hall andnicely decoratedNational Theatre.
Next stopwasSanta Teresa, a place known forshops, barsand restaurants.A few men were fixing the stage andgetting everything readyfor the eveningconcert. According to our guide, Santa Teresa is the main entertainment center and there is a balanced mix of tourists to the locals. So if you ever go to Rio and you want to see a proper night life, you know where to go now… Not far from us there was a famous spot – red Selaron stairs. The stairs are a known work of Jorge Selaron who just loved the area where he lived so he started to insert one tile after the another into the stairs. When other people found out about his work they started to send the tiles to him from all around the world and created this unique work.
After this stop we went for a lunch where we tried the Brazilian national dish Feijoada what is actually pork with black beans, rice, bacon and manioc flour. Bit unusual but tasted very good. After such a hearty lunch we said goodbye and everyone has continued on his way. We went back towards the subway and on the way we passed a famous church in the shape of a giant pyramid. It is the cathedral of Saint Sebastian with a respectable height of about 100 meters. Return to the hotel, rest a bit and back to the beach…
Last day of our stay has come not only in Rio but overall in South America. Since our return flight was only later in the evening we had a whole day ahead of us. We kept the very best spot till the end and it was the visit of Corcovado mountain which dominates the city with the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Short transfer by bus and we were at the stop of red funicular which takes tourists up to Corcovado. The whole journey to the top takes about 15 minutes and because it is the attraction of great interest, it is good to buy tickets at least one day in advance. With Easter just starting the timing was absolutely great. The statue of Christ impress you with its size and enchant you with its simplicity. What radiates from him is hard to describe but I can only agree with the statement that it is a masterpiece of a sculpture.
A person under the outstretched Christ feels like an ant and I have a feeling that it was probably the intention of its creator Maximilien Paul Landowski. There are 2 good things on Corcovado. The first is of course the already mentioned statue and the second is the absolute best and most beautiful view of the city I’ve ever seen. For years my most favourite views were from the Charles Bridge to Prague Castle and from Vauxhall Bridge to the London Eye but Corcovado easily put Prague to London in the pocket. Even while ascending up along the base of the statue where by the way is a small chapel, on the left side in the distance you can see Maracana stadium, continues with totally fantastic views of the Sugar Loaf to Morro de Urca and ending with great Copacabana and Ipanema. What else to say? If you ever go there make sure you have enough time for a tour of Corcovado so that you can see this wonderful city from above which is safely embraced with the Christ and his wide open arms.
Afterthis top experiencewe decidedthat wewill goswimmingone last timeandsay goodbye toCopacabana.The temperature was above30’C, idealto cooloff in the sea. There wereprettybig waves in the sea andas I was just fooling around I hit the bottom a few times.Thoseunderwaterflips made me a bit tired and it was time to say goodbye. We must admitthat it wasn’t easy to leave such an amazing placeandour lastviewswenttowardsthe Bosson Corcovadowho couldn’t choosea better placethanRio…
What to say at the end?This South American tripgaveus a lot and in many thingsopened our eyes. From all thecountries onthis beautifulcontinentI’d say we havetraveledthe most beautiful ones althoughI understandthere aremaybe evenbetter places. Anyway, one of our travelersdream came true and I would recommendit to everyone whohad so muchpatienceand read this storyupto these finallines.We agreed on that we put this adventure to our first place. At least for now…
Tip 1: Go for a free walking tour and find out interesting things about the city. It’s free but leave some tips at the end.
Tip 2: Book the trip to Corcovado at least 1 day in advance. You can do it in Copacabana information kiosk.
Tip 3: Take the funicular up to the Sugar Loaf mountain and enjoy the amazing views.
Total costs: 20 nights (Brazil + Peru (Inca trail) + Bolivia): £1720.00
(Prices as of March 2015)
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