This morning, we started out waiting for our tour bus that was to arrive at 9:20am. Before we knew it, we were looking at the watch and it was almost 10:00am. Finally, we were approached by the tour guide and the tardiness was due to the traffic. Aboard the bus were two guys from Arizona. We then went to a couple other stops and picked up: 2 girls from the Bay Area (!), a couple from Argentina/Lebanon, and 2 ladies from Mexico. We began our tour and started for the Sugar Loaf. We arrived and went to the cable car station to board to the first level of the Loaf. We looked around a bit, and then headed for the next station, which lead us to the top of the Sugar Loaf. From here, you could see a nice 360 view of Rio’s environs, yet the haze disappointed us for nice pictures. We came back down the mountain and by this point, were pretty chummy with the girls from the Bay Area, Jackie, and Melissa. Melissa is studying abroad here for her final year at Berkeley.
After the Sugar Loaf, we headed back to Copacabana for our included lunch. It was a buffet and we had all sorts of meats, fruits, and vegetables. The food here hasn’t been stellar, but there have been some good items.
After lunch, we then headed for Maracanã, the largest football stadium in the world. This was an interesting area, because it was more downtown. We also went to the site that holds Carnaval, a festival Brazil is worldly famous for.
We then drove to a church called ***** in downtown Rio that had amazing colored windows in an interesting dome. Here was a good place to get some great shots of downtown Rio–the architecture looks so old and blocky! We then headed up to the ‘Cable Car’ Station to go through the old colorful favella called Santa Teresa. This was a very cool excursion through the windy hilly roads of the colorful buildings and houses of Santa Teresa. Although it’s called a cable car, there was definitely a motor and no cable–it was very rickety, but gave a very interesting view of the hills up to the top to overlook all the city of Rio. It’s quite interesting how all the ‘prime’ real estate is actually favella land..
After Santa Teresa, we drove through the mountains and Tejuca Forest to Corcavado, the Christ statue. As it was approaching evening by this point, we were very anxious to get some nice shots of the city from this vantage point. It was incredible, and the statue, so peaceful. I must have taken 50 shots from up there! Clouds started to come in and the view started to disappear between white fog as we were so high up, we were actually IN the clouds. We enjoyed the view so much though, that I think I’ll definitely make another trip up during the earlier afternoon, to enjoy a lunch overlooking this grand city.
After we got all our pictures, it was already dark, and we headed back to the city to drop everyone off at their hotels/apartments. We were very tired, and you forget how draining visual stimulation can be.
After our drop off, we exchanged contact info with the girls, and said we’d like to meet up for dinner one night this week–Joe and I headed to Copacabana for an Italian dinner by the water. Days like these are why I am addicted to foreign travel…