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Published: January 11th 2019
Today we’re going to see Christ the Redeemer. One of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World. In the school summer holidays. I suspect we won’t be alone…
The ascent is made by funicular railway. You need to purchase tickets in advance for a specified time. Turn up late and you lose your slot. So we leave ample time for the bus journey to the station. We find the bus stop, the bus is on time and we get off at the correct place; the result being we arrive an hour before our train.
It’s very busy but very efficiently organised which is kind of good, because I like order and kind of bad because there’s no chance of getting an earlier train.
Eventually it’s our turn to board and we set off, or rather up. The train ride takes 20 minutes and ascends 700 meters. At the top, there’s a further climb of 200 steps (or an elevator/escalator combo if you prefer). And there he is. Christ the Redeemer. 38 metres tall, looking down on Rio from the top of his mountain.
There’s not much to do; just admire/photograph the statue and admire/photograph the stunning view
across Rio and beyond, together with hundreds of other tourists. So it’s a kind of spectacular anticlimax.
My guide book says that you can take a trail through the park back down into Rio, but it’s closed. So we descend by train and take a bus to the Botanical Gardens.
The Gardens are beautiful. It’s hard to imagine you’re in a city amidst the palm trees and lily ponds. The spectacular array of plants, waterfalls, lakes and fountains all watched over by Christ the Redeemer. My favourite bit, however is the cactus garden. A gardener sees us admiring the amazing cacti and invites us to try some. He cuts the top off an ancient Brazilian cactus and he and the old man proceed to eat it.
Beautiful though the gardens are, the temperature has reached 36 degrees. We manage 2 hours but that is my limit so we set off to catch a bus back to the hotel. The bus route is circular; you can catch it either clockwise or anti-clockwise. We have a difference of opinion over which Direction is correct. I’m right (obviously) but while we’re arguing, the bus sails past without us.
journey back to Copacabana takes ages. It turns out there has been an accident; some scaffolding has collapsed onto the pavement. I feel slightly guilty about how I used to complain bitterly about Risk Assessment in my former life.
We reach our hotel, stopping briefly to purchase the obligatory supplies of drinks and crisps. I like to pretend the crisps are important in replacing the salt I have sweated out. The truth is, I really like crisps.
Next, a glamorous interlude while I wash underwear in the bathroom sink and hang it on the air conditioning unit to dry. As if life wasn’t glamorous enough, we go to the supermarket to buy dinner. I choose a selection pack of 5 different cheese spreads. Back in our room, I google the flavours; one contains nuts. Who knew you could play Russian Roulette with cheese?
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