After a short flight from Buenos Aires we arrived back in to the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro. As we got to the hotel after midnight, we made arrangements to get up early the next morning for a full day of sightseeing.
The bus driver that picked us up from the airport arranges tours so the Portuguese speaker negotiated with him and we were up bright and early. Our first stop was one of Rio’s most famous icons – Christ the Redeemer, also known as “Cristo Redentor” in Portuguese. It stands at 30 metres tall (not including the 8 metre base), and the arms stretch out to 28 metres.
The Christ is located at the top of the Corcovado mountain overlooking the city, so as you can imagine the views are stunning. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t quite as good as on our first day, and although it was hot, it was pretty foggy.
Even though we arrived early, it was already getting very busy. We still managed to fight our way through the crowds and see some of the amazing views though!
Next on our tour was the Selaron steps, or “Escadaria Selarón”. There are around 250 steps which are covered in over 2000 colourful tiles from all over the world.
They are the work of a Chilean artist named Jorge Selarón, who called them his tribute to Brazil.
Our driver dropped us off at the top of the steps, and coming from above you almost don’t realise that there is anything special about them….and as soon as you look up you see hundreds of beautiful, intricate tiles.
After stopping for a quick drink and a bite to eat we headed towards the Sambadrome. Obviously it wasn’t carnival season in Brazil, however for a very small price it’s possible to try on some of the amazing costumes, all year round!
There were a few other people trying on some of the costumes at the same time and suddenly everyone wanted a picture with us! The head pieces were actually incredibly heavy, I can’t imagine how the dancers wear them for hours at a time!
After attempting to learn some basic salsa steps and failing miserably, we drove on to our next stop – Pão de Açúcar, or the Sugarloaf Mountain.
There’s a cable car which takes you up to the first level – Morro da Urca, at 220 metres.
The next cable car takes you up to the Pão de Açúcar. Whilst in the cable car we actually spotted some crazy people climbing up the side of the mountain!
The views from the top are some of the best I’ve ever seen. It was still a little foggy but we could even see the Christ in the distance!
Next time (if I’m lucky enough to get this trip again!) I’d love to go on one of these helicopter rides over the city!
After admiring the view from all sides, we got back on the cable car to go down, where our driver was waiting for us. Reluctantly we drove back to the hotel, with a quick stop at Copacabana beach. We just had time for a meal by the pool before it was time to get ready to fly the long 14 hours back to Dubai.
This trip was by far the best I’ve ever done and I realise how lucky I am to have been able to see all of these places (and get paid for it!). Fingers crossed I get to go back one day!
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