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Published: March 10th 2009
Day 691 (18.02.09)
Why is it that when you need a bus to arrive on time it rarely does? On the way to Rio from Florianopolis we had to change buses in Sao Paulo and when we booked the tickets we were due to arrive at 7.30am giving us plenty of time for the transfer. However, after a big struggle though the craziness of Sao Paulo rush hour, we finally pulled into the bus station at around 8.55am. This left us with approximately 5 minutes before our bus to Rio was to leave.
"Oh well" we thought, buses from the same company tended to leave from the same area in bus stations so we should be able to hop onto the next door bus and be away no problems.
It didn´t quite pan out like that. As we waited for the driver to unload our bags we discovered that our next bus was to leave from platform 4. Sadly we're not lucky enough to have parked into platform 5...no, we´d landed on platfrom 78. Bugger!
A huge dash through the enormous terminal ensued and despite arriving breathless, sweaty and cursing our luggage, we made the bus!
View from Christ the Redeemer
We got into Rio and after dodging the dodgy taxi drivers found one that would take us on the meter to our hostel in Botafogo, the Rio Party Hostel. Now normally we'd avoid places with that sort of name like the plague but we were here to party and it was half the price of all other places in Rio at carnaval time (despite the prices being inflated from normal rates by 4 times!).
It was a nice place in a nice area and we met our dormmates, English guys Nick, Drew and Mark, and had a quiet night after our long journey sure we´d need the energy for the next few days.
Day 692 (19.02.09)
Normally phrases like "Have you been up Christ?", "Did you have a good time up Christ?" or "We went up Christ today - he´s really big!" would be considered more than a little inappropriate but not in Rio de Janeiro. The must see attraction for all visitors to Rio is the statue of Christo Redentor or Christ the Redeemer, towering iconically over the city.
We´d planned to arrive before carnaval began so that we could see the major sights before
Christ and Sugar Loaf
With Camilla and Marika
the festivities began and so obviously our first choice was Christ.
We teamed up with Marika and Camilla, two Swedish girls we´d met on the bus in Florianopolis who´d turned up in the hostel this morning, and caught the bus out to the base of the Corcovado, the jutting mountain on top of which the statue stands.
We travelled on the funicular train through the jungle-like coverings of the mountain and were soon enjoying spectacular views over Rio, from beaches to favelas, and skyscrapers seeming to take up every bit of available space between the multitude of sharp, tree covered peaks that punctuate the city.
Amidst plenty of other tourists enjoying the views and imitating the stance of the famous statue of Christ we finished our tour of the viewing platforms with an amazing view over Botafogo bay to the city's other well-known landmark, the Sugarloaf Mountain. Going "Up Christ" had turned out to be even better than we´d thought it would be!
Back in town, we had some lunch, sat for a bit on Botafogo sands and then walked over towards the cable car that would take us up Sugarloaf. Two cable cars later and
Views back onto Rio from Sugarloaf
we were perched at yet another incredible viewpoint this time looking back over Rio.
With a beer, we sat up on Sugarloaf and watched the sun go down over what has to be one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world. The sky gradually turned from blue to pink to black, with the statue of Christ peering out occasionally from the thick cloud that had built up over the city. We watched as the lights twinkled on giving us a whole different view and then made our way back down to the hostel. It had been quite an introduction to Rio.
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