The sights of Rio - and some unplanned adventures

Trip Start Feb 16, 2012
Trip End May 03, 2012

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Saturday, February 18, 2012

After a restless night (damn you jet lag!) I was up early and off to breakfast in the hotel. Then we met up with the rest of the group at 8:30 to start our city sights tour.

First stop was to the Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro (Catedral de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro) which was way more impressive than I expected! This cathedral has 4 amazing long stained glass windows and is huge inside - can hold 21,000 people. I have included a photo of both the internal & external of this cathedral. By the time we arrived here it was already getting very hot but I'm not complaining given I haven't seen blue skies and hot summer days for a long time in Sydney!

We next drove through the Lapa district which was still mopping up after last nights parties - there were still many people walking around in costume, as everyone does during Carnaval week! We weren't sure if they were still partying from the night before or were commencing their partying for today! We next visited the St Theresa area and the convent steps. These steps are an ongoing work of art by the Chilean artist Serano. We were very fortunate as Serano was there, cleaning up from the street parties held the night before and I got a photo with him. He has been decorating these stairs since the early 1990's when they area was very run down and forgotten by the government. He has collected tiles from about 40 countries around the world and it is fun to try and track down some from your own country. I have included a photo of me on the steps as well as the one of Serano and myself (he is a bit cheeky in the photo)

Then with much anticipation we drove up the windy steep roads to the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redento) - the highlight of any visit to Rio. The statue is massive and built on top of a very high hill so that it looks over the city of Rio at every angle. A visit to the top not only gives you great shots of the Christ but also panoramic shots of the city of Rio.

On the way back down to meet our mini-bus I somehow managed to fall out of the van we were in - I was rushing to pack up my camera into my backpack and completely misjudged the steps out of the bus. I really believe I was fortunate to have this happen in the shadow of Christ the Redeemer as both I and everyone who witnesses this spectacular fall was absolutely amazed I didn't break my leg as my shin hit the curb. I can happily report that apart from feeling a bit sore and sorry for myself, I am ok. Pretty sure my shin and hip will bruise but I was fine to continue walking for the rest of the day and night (more about that later)! The girls that saw me fall said that all I said was "my camera!" - I'm pleased to report that also survived with no injuries!

We were then off to Sugarloaf Mountain. Rio is surrounded by these amazing rock formations and Sugarloaf really stands out. It takes two cable cars to get to the top (awesome trip if your not afraid of heights!). The view from the top is just breathtaking. I have included one shot I took that captures Cocacbana beach area - this is the area I am staying in.

After our city tour ended a group of us girls that have become friends - Hailey & Donna (qld) Linda (Melb) and Sarah (wales) decided we would go out to lunch and our tour guide had recommended a great seafood restaurant by the beach. Once we eventually found it (it wasn't much to look at from the outside) we were swept in with great service and guys in interesting costumes to a table where our bags were subsequently strapped to our chairs - security precaution. We ordered a drink then the maitre de asked us if we wanted the meat or seafood option- of course we said seafood. We then thought - I wonder how much this will cost as we hadn't even seen a menu. When we were told the cost of the all you can eat seafood & meat option we nearly died. I think it equaled the food budget most of us had planned to last a week! We all just looked at each other with shock on our faces then realized our bags were strapped to the chairs so we couldn't do a runner so started all justifying why we should just spoil ourselves and enjoy the experience! Enjoy it we did - the seafood was the best I have had in a very long time and all the meat was superb. Needless to say, I didn't eat anything else until the next morning! We still break into fits of laughter when we think about this lunch event!

Linda and I then rolled out of the restaurant as we were off to see a "futball" match. This was an experience in itself as we got to the ground early so decided to have a drink at a little bar near the ground. This turned into a mini street party with people dancing to the samba in the middle of the street. Fabulous atmosphere in this city - everywhere you turn. 
 The soccer match was fun but the real fun started when we tried to get home. We only got as far as Impanema beach as the streets were all closed off for the street party. Linda and I decided we would try to walk to the Metro which took about an hour as there were 1,000's of people at this street party and sometimes you couldn't even move. What a fantastic atmosphere! We eventually got to the Metro but nearly got squished trying to get in and then once in realised the queue for tickets was going to take another hour so decided to continue walking towards Copacabana. After walking for about another 1/2 hour or more we eventually managed to get a cab who was only too happy to take us back to our hotel but at an exorbitant price but we were so over walking and knew we had at least another 1/2 hr to go, decided to just pay up. Gringo prices!

Quote of the Day (thanks to Linda) - It's an adventure! Came in handy several times on our walk home!

We then met up with the other girls at the hotel bar on our roof - ah, a caprihina to unwind from the amazing day!
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Clare on

I am so glad that Christ the Redeemer looked after you Cath. Looks like we will have to set up a prayer roster to keep you safe! You have had so many adventures already!

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