Rio, a City tour

Trip Start Jun 22, 2013
Trip End Aug 27, 2013

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Flag of Brazil  , Rio de Janeiro,
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Today we are off on a city tour, I don't know who will be on this trip, and I think some of my group will be coming along, a case of wait and see

I am hoping it won’t be another late arrival and another hostel tour

(Not much change in the weather though, so the paragliding is out the window so far)

I have been trying to change money over to the local currency, none of the banks change money, but all have the ATM’s, but I am always rather mistrustful of them (I saw a few people lose their cards and they had the devil of a job trying to get it sorted) most of the banks have an armed guard, who always seem to be doing something on their phones

There is 3 different kinds of police here (it seems to me) the tourist police, the black uniform police and then the riot police, then there seems to be others who just seem to be in a uniform and wander about

Getting around is easy enough, the train system is good as long as you know where you are going and get on a train that is going in the general direction, forget about asking where to go, I have found no one who speaks English (but sign language helps sometimes if its something general

Everyone seems to drag behind them (even the kids with school bags) and it can be a minefield avoiding them, phones........everyone is on them, head down, either reading, texting, or just looking at the screen, no idea where they are going or who they bump or walk into, it’s not unusual to see two people on their phones to walk into each other and then the two step trying to get past each other

The group is gathering now, we have just had another guy turn up, (Mario, I asked if he was a plumber, went right over his head until I told him about the arcade game, but nope he is an electrician) I think he is Swiss

We have a couple of young girls on the trip (gap year students I think) A couple of Aussie guys (who have taken unpaid leave from work) Rob and Chris, I haven’t seen much of the girls, they seem to be out and about or getting up late, Peggy (and John, her husband) should be joining us soon

As I haven’t seen much of the girls I have no idea of their names or what they actually are doing, where they are going

Not really sure how many are actually on the trip to Lima, but I reckon I’ll find out soon enough

Well this morning I will be mooching around town, changing (or trying to) money then meet up for the city tour


The minibus turned up on time and it was just my group going on this trip, so we all piled on and we set off, our first place we were to visit was the mountain with Christ the redeemer on, it was about a 45 minute drive and was uphill all of the way, but when we got there, the view was spectacular, all I can do is name the photos, I can’t describe how good it was, but even the photos don’t really do it justice (a picture is worth a thousand words and I haven’t got time for several thousand of them)

I did manage to get a couple of photos of the chapel at the base of the statue (which is pretty big at 38 meters tall, it is the tallest in Brazil, but it’s still just the second tallest statue of Jesus) the guide told us it was paid for by donations from all the churches in Rio, so it was actually paid for by the people, the government wasn’t involved, apart from granting the mountain top, it is constructed of reinforced concrete and soapstone (it’s done really cleverly, you can’t see any joints) it was built between 1926 and 1931, but the idea was suggested in the 1890’s (or there about) a priest came up with idea, but it was dismissed for a while before they decided it would be a good idea and work started

There is a small railway that was built before this and helped in the construction

As you know most religious places are built on hills or mountains, as the path to god isn’t supposed to be easy, well that has gone out of the window here, there are lift, escalators and of course 220 steps to help on the way (I took the steps, just because I have always used steps to visit places like this, so why change?) I did take the escalator down though

After all the photos were taken we all met up again, piled aboard and set off for this rather madcap place, there are thousands of wall tiles, all over these steps, it is pretty colourful, and there is a real mixture of tiles, going up there are 'musicians’ (used loosely) strumming guitars and banging cans, it’s called ‘street entertainment’ to me they just got in the way of taking photos of something rather unique, well again, have a look at the photos

We went all the way up, and then came all the way down to meet up with the minibus again

We stopped at a local shop for chocolate cake and a drink, there were tram lines in the road, but they haven’t been used in years after a horrendous accident, but plans are afoot to start them again

We found a scrap merchant and he has made some pretty clever sculptures from the bits he has collected (or in the words of the guide ‘he collects shit and puts it on show’ I thought it was pretty clever

Well it was back on the bus again, we were going to visit a cathedral (I know I said I wouldn’t) but this place is the biggest in Brazil and the Pope is coming next month, so I might as well take some photos

It is very impressive, with 4 huge stained glass windows and it can seat 5000 and 20000 standing, so that does give an idea of size (for some reason there was a white carriage inside with what I would assume is a saint inside, but with no one to ask, I’ll have to leave it to you to guess who he is

Now we are onto our final place of the day, Sugarloaf mountain, and they have 2 cable cars to get you to the top and the view is just as spectacular with the whole of Rio and its suburbs laid out before you, all the beaches can be seen along with all the bays, high rises and favellas (over 600 in Rio alone

It all finished with a really good sunset (I hope it comes back in a better mood tomorrow, it’s been rather grumpy and hidden behind clouds since I got here)

All I can say is enjoy the pictures, it may not seem much, but this was a day out and I really enjoyed it


Tomorrow we start our trip in earnest, and it’s a couple of nights bush camps, so there will be no updates until I can get back online with more pictures and entry

So until then enjoy this entry and the photos

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rossport on

looks great mate and the views are amazing hopefully the weather will be with you while you bush camp looking forward to your up dates

greekcypriot on

Wow! Both description and photos travelled me over my morning coffee this morning Derrick. I am sure the sun will be out once you get to the bush camp. In some photos favelas look like cans and junk thrown down the hillside. I consider myself so lucky that I live where I am when I see where these people live! Can't wait for more....Thanks so much.

mmbcross on

Nice tour. At least they aren't nickel and diming you yet. Should be a great trip.

IanC on

Good luck with the money changing - I remember similar difficulties in Bangalore, India in the old military airport before they built the new one.
In the end I was told to change my sterling with some guy standing around in the airport entrance.
There were no signs and no obvious exchange rates. ATM's seemed to risky also. Luckily I had just enough cash for the taxi and managed to sort it at the hotel - but probably got a worse deal than I would have off the guy at the airport.

greekcypriot on

No Ian, on the contrary I believe the safest is to have it changed at the hotel probably you get a bit less but you are safe and sure of what you get.
The person at the airport way! Half of the money he holds might be fake.
I would not do that. It happened to some friends years back. A similar guy standing at the airpot. However I don't know why at the banks don't exchange it.

Anne on

A amazing photo what a veiw
Did you have any look with your money changeing be careful were you change it must say you do really good on your blog

Jim on

Felt this place as I read, and saw the pictures- thanks Del. Cathedral was well worth viewing, and the views from sugar mountain-great.

travelmonster on

Some great views from up there!

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