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Published: March 13th 2013
9th March ’13 Rio, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Copacabana
Well we got up early today and were first for breakfast so we could leg it round to the cable car for Sugar Loaf Mountain and hopefully beat the bus trips and we did. The sky was clear and so we paid our money and got in the cable car, which first took us to Urca Mountain (of mountain view room fame) and then on up to the top of Sugar Loaf. The views were glorious and stunning, a 360 degree panorama of Rio with all its bays, beaches, mountains, suburbs and the statue of Christ the Redeemer looking down from its perch over the whole city. There were paths leading down and around the mountain and I think we explored them all (no surprise to those of you who know Howard!) It was incredible to be walking in what I guess was rainforest up a mountain within a city and there were lots of mini komodo dragon lookalikes prowling around through the trees, just to add to the unrealness of the place.
By the time we had viewed Rio from every angle and direction the place was filling up
with tour groups so we decided to go back down to Urca mountain and have a look around there. Once more we walked all the walkways, looked at all possible views and generally enjoyed the place before catching the cable car back down. We could have actually walked right back down the mountain but it was baking hot and I didn’t think my knees (or any other body part) could have taken that.
That afternoon we decided to catch the local bus to Copacabana beach, it stopped just opposite our hotel which was handy and we had been told roughly when to get off. So the bus pulled up and was already pretty full and this time there was a young girl perched on a seat by the turnstile taking the money. This meant the second the driver could get the door shut he took off at top speed and we found ourselves trying to pay, squeeze through the turnstile and attempting to reach a free seat whilst hurtling along and veering round corners – well it was an experience!! And we made it there in one piece albeit slightly stunned.
Just walking down the road to the
sea front was hard going in the heat, then we just had to look around all the little stalls set up nearby and once we reached the actual beach we were close to collapse. The beach was heaving but I guess it was the weekend, there were chairs, umbrellas and bodies as far as the eye could see and the heat coming off the sand was staggering. So after a bit of a walk along we gave up found a table in a bit of shade and sat at one of the many drink stalls lining the ‘prom’ and had a much needed drink.
Just sitting there watching everything that was going on was fascinating entertainment. Running alongside the prom area is a section reserved for cyclist, runners and other mad creatures who were out exercising in the full glare of the sun. People of every size and shape were going on by, lots of them posing and being there to be seen, lots of them with it all hanging out regardless of said shape or size!
After a second drink we decided the heat was just too much and trying to negotiate for an umbrella just too
much hassle so we jumped on a bus back to Urca again and just went to the local beach, which although busy was much more manageable.
Dinner that night was in the local restaurant – which actually had some room, trying to order something to eat was another matter! We had looked up the words for chicken and beef so thought we might have had a better chance but once again it was lots of slow clear portugese pronunciation which meant nothing to us. Purely chance a guy on the next table realised we were having problems and came over and in excellent English translated the menu for us! Now that’s one of the joys of travelling! So we got some food, thanked our new friend and saved a fortune compared to the night before!
It turned out that this restaurant is also I guess what we would call the off licence too and all the locals come in and buy their beer, put it in their coolers and go and sit on the sea wall to drink and chat, it’s a really nice idea. Even though they all get really loud (this just seems to be a
Brazilian trait) it’s all good humoured and they are just having fun and we didn’t see any trouble at all – bit different from back home.
So we went to bed for our last night in the Hotel Belle Vue da Urca and regretfully to have the last little bit of 'luxury' for a while.
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