Friday January 20th – Day -16
Oh what a day. Up at 6:30am for 7am breakfast to leave the ship by 7:30 to start our morning tour and despite my moans about getting up so early – just a few moans – aren’t we glad we did.
We were in the first group of people to catch the 8am cog railway up the Corcovado mountain travelling through the jungle almost vertically – or so it seemed at the time.
Already behind us there were hundreds of people – today is a bank holiday in Rio – waiting to buy tickets for the next train – they were every 20 minutes. Corcovado, also known as the Humpbacked Mountain, is over 2326 feet high and is topped by the statue of Christ the Redeemer which has become the symbol of modern Rio. It is made of reinforced concrete and was completed in 1931. It weighs over 1000 metric tons and stand 98 feet tall.
When we reached the top there were only about 30 of us there from the first train up so we really enjoyed the tranquillity of the views and the almost spiritual feel as we gazed up at the face of Jesus. We took so many photos – it was a beautiful moment that we’ll never forget. Twenty minutes later as the next train arrived we were swamped by hundreds of people and the peaceful moment was then gone. The viewing area was soon covered with noisy crowds, pushing and shoving, trying to get the best spots for their photo moments…time to go!!
So it was back down the mountain by the train where we rejoined our coach ready for our next stop at the beaches. First stop was Ipanema beach where we just drove along the promenade as the traffic made it difficult to stop. Then it was onward to Copacabana beach where the driver was lucky enough to find a place to stop for ten minutes. We rushed across the promenade to get our first sight of this famous beach which due to the bank holiday was already crowded by the locals.
Whilst taking photos we were approached by a TV film crew who were making a documentary on the affect tourists have on Rio. We were interviewed and asked about our impressions of Rio and why we had decided to come there. The TV company was called Global and they do a daily lunchtime programme that is broadcast to over 28 million viewers in Brazil. The show went out at 1:30pm so I guess by now we’re famous – in Brazil anyway – unless they edited us out of course…but we’ll never know as we couldn’t get that station on our ship. By now it was 31°c so it was back to the ship in our air conditioned coach in time for our noon day ritual.
Sail away on deck was at 5:45pm where we enjoyed the departing views of Christ The Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain…bye, bye Rio and thank you – we’ll be back!!