Cristo on a Bike.... I mean hill

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South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro
September 3rd 2011
Published: September 4th 2011
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Tina Writes

After a sleepless night we got up and ready for the day. The hostel provides breakfast as part of the stay, so we filled our boots and headed out. We took a stroll down to Copacabana Beach. It is a pretty impressive beach. All along the beach are frame like structures for exercising on and a lot of the locals did just that, some of them all buff too. They really like to keep fit here. We came across what looked like a children’s park but is actually an exercise park for everyone to use, with permanent structures such as a cross trainer but made out of the stuff you see in kids play parks. We decided to go to Sugar Loaf Mountain and walked to the end of Copacabana Beach as it looked like we could get to it from there. We took pics of ourselves in front of it but I remarked how unfamiliar it looked considering it is such an iconic landmark. We of course realised it was just some boring old mountain and not Sugar Loaf at all, so deleted those pics before we looked stupid!

With that being unsuccessful, we decided to just head up to Christ. We got the bus (£1.20) that the hostel told us to get (No.583) but the problem with that is we had no idea where to get off. Luckily a wee boy, who was about 10, stood next to us repeating ‘Cristo, Cristo, Cristo’, until we realised it was us he was talking to and we nodded, he gestured this was the stop. Thank god he did or we would have stayed on that bus for god knows how long. As we tried to cross the road , we were stopped and offered a bus service to take us to Christ for $R37, it was only $1 more than the train and stopped at 2 other places along the way but we decided to get the train up as I had read it was a great experience. It was great fun and once at the top we made our way up the steps to Cristo. As we climbed the views of Rio were spectacular but once we saw Jebus right there in front of us it was like a bolt went through us, a bolt of ‘wow we are really here and this is just too cool’. We took lots of pics and headed back down to the train. While waiting, some monkeys came along and begged for food. An Australian guy gave it a crisp but one of the security came along and took him aside to tell him off.

We then decided to try and get to Sugar Loaf again but didn’t have any idea which bus to get. None of the bus stops have information on them. We ended up walking the entire way, which is FAR. Wasn’t much fun to be honest. Anyway, we got there and were quite taken back by the £25 ticket price but as Christ was so good and I wanted this ticked off my list, we paid up. We got on the cable car and up we went. Unfortunately, the weather turned on us and the cloud came down and rain started. Once on Sugar Loaf we had a very quick look but couldn’t see much and it was baltic. So we waited on the cable car back down along with most of the other visitors only 10 mins after arriving. Was quite a big disappointment but its checked off the list anyway. We then had the problem of how to get back to the hostel, apart from the fact we didn’t know which bus to get, we also didn’t bring the address of the hostel with us and weren’t really sure where it was. We jumped on a bus back to Copacabana and walked down to the beach where we had started the day and worked our way back from there. What a relief to find it.

The hostel has dinner on every night for £5.50 each, it’s all you can eat and changes each night. We decided to do this as the price of food in the cafes and restaurants (even McDonalds) is extortionate. We were both exhausted after a long day and hit the hay about 10pm. A much better sleep was had, sleeping mask and ear plugs rule!

Next day we went on the Favela tour. A Favela is an area in Rio where the poorer people live. They basically moved in to a public area and built houses. They are a famous part of Rio and the contrast between rich and poor is quite striking. We were taken by a guide in a car to the first Favela. As we entered it the guide put down the windows in the car, this is to allow the ‘watchers’ to see who is in the car. The watchers are generally 13 year old boys who make sure to keep the drug lord informed of what’s going on and who is coming in and out. If there is a problem they have a few ways of letting others know, by mobile, walkie-talkie or red fireworks. We were taken to a wee school they have set up to teach the kids languages and dancing. The trip we had paid for, helped to fund this school, which is cool. One of the best parts was the views. They have the best views in Rio. Also the fact that ‘Favela’ is one of the maps on Call of Duty, was a big pull for us and it was amazing how accurate it was (although there wasn’t a bunch of guys running around shooting each other with AK47’s and throwing grenades much to my disappointment).

We spent the rest of the day doing some admin and booking our next destination. We then went for a wee walk on Copacabana and got soaked by the enormous waves. Next stop Ilha Grande.

Additional photos below
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4th September 2011

For some reason it's not the pics of you at Cristo or on the beach that make me realise you are somewhere exotic but in fact the pic Train to Christ 2. It's just so... South American!

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