Cruise Queen Victoria - Brazil

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February 10th 2020
Published: February 14th 2020
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Saturday 8th February & Sunday 9th February 2020

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil It was a good idea to get an extra day in Rio and after a fairly bumpy 11 ½ hour flight we ended up at the airport 20.30pm ( Brazil time which is 3hrs behind UK time!). It’s a good job we didn’t leave it until the Sunday as UK was hit by Storm Ciara, loads of BA flights were cancelled and the storm made headline news!! A smooth transfer to the Hilton Hotel, Copacabana Beach, (1 hr 20mins) a quick pack of the day bag for tomorrow and a look at the Roof Top Bar with its infinity pool and views of the beach and Christ the Redeemer ( that actually looks very small!) and that was us done.

Five hours sleep and we were wide awake for the sunrise over Copacabana Beach at 5.30am (8.30am UK time!!) Beautiful sunrise and a lovely day forecast with a 20%!c(MISSING)hance of rain! Good job I packed an umbrella!! A breakfast to die for – everything you could wish for, ad a quick wander along the beach before our tour guide was due to turn up at 7.50am. ( Alina, C2Rio tours ad Travel )

Our first stop was the train up through the rain forest to Christ the Redeemer through the National Park da Tijuca. We were told to look out for toucans and sloths but apart from seeing a fluorescent blue enormous Morpho butterfly (biggest in the world!) we didn’t see any wildlife!

Christ the Redeemer was definitely a wow! The views were stunning – picturesque islands and mountains, with lots of beaches and the only downside was the amount of people!! I think it only gets worse as well as I heard someone say that the queue for the train can be as long as 4 hours!! Anyway, the statue is 38 metres high and one of the seven wonders of the world and about two million people visit the statue annually!!

Back down on the train through the rain forest and back on the coach! A quick tour of the City showing us where the Carnival takes place and the Maracana Stadium where all the football happens, and the unusual round Cathedral! We also saw the aquaduct, which now has a tram/train running on it but used to supply water to the whole city, until the coffee plantations dried the source up! Hence why its now planted with all sorts of plants that make up the rain forest that keeps Rio de Janeiro about 4c cooler!! Some of the plants, such as Jack Fruit had been imported from the Far East but seemed to thrive quite well in the Brazilian climate. Went to the Selaron Steps, a work of art by a Chilean born artist, who decided to renovate the delapidated 215 steps outside his house, collecting tiles from all over the world, dedicating the work to Brazil as it was mostly in Brazilian colours of yellow, green and blue and declaring that the work would never be finished until his death! He died in 2013!

Stopped for an amazing lunch! It was basically a buffet of all different salads, then they came round with loads of different cuts of beef, pork, chicken, etc on a skewer ad sliced bits off for you!! You could have as much as you wanted so we were fairly stuffed when we finished the meal!!

We had one last thing to do in the afternoon which was Sugar Loaf Mountain ( 1299ft) ! I had never really questioned why it was called this, but Alina explained that they used to get the raw sugar and put it in a container with a heavy stone on top of it to drain out the water, When it was ready, the container was turned over and emptied out, creating a shape known as a “sugar loaf”………exactly the same shape as a local mountain – hence the name - Sugar Loaf Mountain!! It was built in 1908 by Augusto Ferreira Ramos who had a vision to build a cable car to the top of a mountain and it was the 3rd cable car to be built in the world. Professional rock climbers were brought in to scale the mountain and to take the first four tons of building materials to the top.Once they reached the Sugar Loaf peak, spikes were driven into the rock to be used in lifting the crane that would bring the rest of the material up. Then, a manual service cable car was installed to bring more material and workers up. It was a difficult, daring and dangerous project, took 4 years to complete it and was opened in 1912, the first cable cars being made of coated wood.

Caught the two cable cars to the top and were rewarded with fine 360 degree view all round, with the usual black vultures soaring, joined by frigate birds as well! Beautiful views and you could clearly see the bay, so even though Rio de Janeiro is named Januarys River, the River turned out to be a huge bay!! Saw a family of marmoset monkeys chilling out in the trees.

Back to the hotel, and the sat on the roof terrace, chilling out with a drink! I think we needed some down time!! Had a wander along Copacabana beach Promenade before eating in a restaurant quite close to the Hilton.

Monday 10th February 2020

A fairly easy lazy morning packing as the transfer to the Cruise wasn’t until 11.00am. (Cunard – Queen Victoria) Everything went very smoothly and we ended up on the ship for a late lunch! First impressions of the ship were: a) quite small but perfectly formed. b) cabins are quite small, especially the shower room, c) everyone behaves themselves – very English, no unexpected surprises! No photographers in your face all the time and no ‘Entertainment’ team. Its quite a quiet ship and seems quite empty!

It rained all afternoon – heavy rain and I felt sorry for all the people on their trips. We were so lucky with our trip and good weather yesterday. Our dinner was ‘fixed dining’ at 18.00pm (early!) and it was with some trepidation we went to the dining room, sat on a table for four people, and were quite relieved when two people from Cape Town showed up! A Surgeon and an Oncologist so a bit of a busman’s holiday for them!!!

Tuesday 11th February 2020

A sea day (one of many!!) so after a leisurely breakfast we decided we would go to a Beginners Bridge class and try to understand the game a bit more!! It still seems very complicated but I think we will persevere!! Had to leave spot on at 11.00am as the lecture was Simon Weston, the Soldier from the Welsh Guards who was badly burnt when the Sir Galahad was hit by an Argentinian missile in the Falkland War. Interesting guy and very Welsh, who told his story and experiences since then, and was very funny as well!! Lunch and a chill out afternoon, led on the sun loungers (in the shade!!) reading a book from the library!! Also had a voucher for the duty free so we could get one litre of Gin and Rum to drink in our cabin!!

Wednesday 12th February 2020

Another sea day!! Cloudy and rain again. Saw the lecture on Ushuaia, a future port that we are going to, as well as Simon Weston again, who was answering questions! A leisurely lunch, chill out and then ½ hr in the gym whilst Chris went to a lecture on Black Holes before walking around the deck!! He is none the wiser on Black Holes as he fell asleep!!

Additional photos below
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1st March 2020

Christ the Redemer
Interesting that you said the statue was small . I remember going to Lisbon in 1966 and seeing the Statue of Christ the Redeemer Lisbon style and thinking how big it looked from the distance . Been again a few years ago and was still impressed . all looks very different and amazing though . x
3rd March 2020

Great read!
Lovely to read and catch up with the blog! Fab pictures :)

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