Howdy all… here I am, home safe and sound with a cold but I’ll be over it sooner or later. I wrote the final post of my trip in a couple of stages, firstly in Rio before I left, and completed it on the flight from Rio homewards, hoping to publish on one of my layovers. However, I didn’t have long enough in either Santiago or Auckland to post it. Anyways, here it is as originally was written, the last destination of my two-month visit to South America, Rio de Janeiro.
Yallo! Sure, that’s a word. I’m writing from my hotel in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro here. I will say I really like this place, the last stop on my South American Adventure!
I had a long list of things to do, and just two and a bit days to do them in. As per usual, I did not have the length of time I would have liked to do all the things I wanted to do, still in basically two days I packed a heck of a lot in.
I arrived on Thursdsay night after a pretty decent flight from Iguassu. The internal flights have all been pretty easy going and on time, good job by Latam there. Baggage claim incredibly quick. Literally walked into the baggage claim area, saw my bag on the belt, took it and I was out. Bought a pre-paid taxi, but still loads of taxi drivers approached me as soon as I was out the door and in the arrivals hall. Nevertheless, found the right taxi and was in Copacabana in 35 minutes. Over an hour on the way back and I’ve heard it can be way worse.
Friday I started the sight seeing. First up was the most recognisable thing in all of Rio de Janeiro, the massive statue of Christ the Redeemer. You can take a minibus up to the top and back, but the more ineteresting way is to take the train. It’s at a permanent angle, because it’s around 25 minutues through dense forest straight uphill the whole way.
Once at the top it was flooded with people, and yes, they were all taking selfies. I mean I took one too, it wasn’t very good so thusly I won’t be featuring it on the blog, but goodness me there were a lot of people desperate for a shot of themselves in front of the statue arms outstretched just like the big guy was doing.
I then visited the Museum of the Republic, a former presidential palace and not dissimilar to the ones I visited in Buenos Aires. Very lavish, beautiful, worth the visit and less than two bucks. Fun fact: One of the presidents killed himself in the main bedroom in 1954. I believe it’s still set up the way it was back, because you know, historical event and all that.
Sugarloaf is either one or two mountains, not sure if it’s both or not, you reach by a big cable car. It’s a stunning location and an incredible feat of engineering that they could possible get the cable cars up there and connected. It’s one from the ground to the first mountain, and then another from the first to the second, which is twice as tall at nearly 400 metres and woah! It’s a steep incline the cable car goes up. The views are stunning from both sides, it’s a sensational location.
I also had a nice walk along Copacabana beach on Friday afternoon. The sand is brilliant, soft and a light yellow, in a good way not in a way that makes you think it was once white. I dipped the feet in the Atlantic and watched people practice racquetball and soccer. Friday however, was still a weekday.
On Saturday the weather was better – lots of cloud on Friday. Now there was a fair bit of blue sky. I visited the beach at Ipanema on Saturday and it was packed. Loads of people, umbrellas, stalls, there’s even wifi! Skateboarders, cyclists, volleyballers, people playing soccer, the people of the beaches were stories to themselves.
I visited the Selaron steps, named after the artist who decorated a large cement stairway with tiles. He asked people all over the world to send him tiles so you can see tiles from any country imaginable. It’s quite special. He died at the feet of the stairs, it was ruled suicide, however some believe he was murdered. Yep, another fun fact!
The Metropolitan Cathedral does not have the most beautiful of exteriors, it must be said. However, inside it was incredible, fall amazing stained glass windows reaching from the floor to the celing. And iside there was a ‘mass-wedding’ in progress.
Finally, I visited the Santa Marta Favela. I had a guide with me – I had joined a tour earlier in the day, which was then cancelled when the rest of the people didn’t show. The lady offered for the same price to show me around the favela and the steps. It was great to get a local’s perspective.
I’m sure I’ll do a full post on the favela experience, but it was really interesting. The way it had started at the bottom and people just kept building up the mountain, the story of the changes that have occurred for people in the favelas in the last ten years, and it was this favela where Michael Jackson filmed bits for his song in the early 90s, ‘They don’t really care about us’. The square now is called ‘Michael Jackson Square’ and it’s a relaxed meeting place with a shop/bar and a trampoline for the kids. It also has a statue of Micheal Jackson too.
Today I just got ready for my return, and as I write this I am actually on the plane to Santiago, the first of three legs back to Melbourne. Thanks for following my South American adventure, and May the Journey Never End!