After watching the Rio olympics and paraolympics last summer, I think we’ve all been looking forward to our time visiting the city of Rio de Janeiro. However I wondered; would it be as scary as the media makes out…in a word, No! It’s just the most wonderful place and with such fantastic sandy beaches right next to the lush green city streets, cobbled pavements, parrots and orchids in trees, seriously this place is pretty gorgeous!
Today we were up and out early ready for a full on day of sightseeing, first up the beautiful Christ Redeemer that overlooks the city from way up high. Our guide drove us up through the lush urban jungle and we were one of the first groups of people on the platform. Goodness it’s just beautiful so serene and kind of comforting. Close up you can see it’s covered in tiny mosaics and at the base there is a tiny chapel that seats only about 15 to 20 where every Sunday they still have mass. I loved it! Also the view, wow we were lucky, the sun was out and the 4 areas of the city stretched out below, twinkling in front of us.
After taking many, many photos and trying our best to take it all in, we made our way back down (picking up some more stickers for the girls books on the way) to our guides car and sped off to the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, an area known for its bohemian narrow and winding cobbled streets, colonial Portuguese style houses with wooden shutters and artistic street art. The Brazilian Montmartre! We first stoped at parque das ruinas, an old mansion left to ruins, that has recently been contemporaryly (is that a word!) adapted into a venue for musicians and artists and offers a wonderful panoramic view of the city.
We then stopped at my favourite the colourful Escadaria Selaron steps. Our guide told us the fascinating story of the Chilean artist Jorge Selaron (who he had met many times) How he came to live here after falling in love with a local lady and decorated the stairs with tiles from near and far! Tragically he died or as our guide thought was perhaps killed on the very steps he had created! Fascinating stuff! The girls enjoyed climbing the many different levels and searching for tiles from places we’d visited.
We then traveled through the lively Lapa neighbourhood and dashed into the most unusual cathedral, the cathedral metropolitan, shaped like a pyramid with an internal cross on the roof made of stained glass. Molly’s wasn’t keen but it was interesting to see such a modern take on a cathedral and lovely to see a nativity scene on December 1st!
Afterwards we drove on to the famous Sugar Loaf mountain and took the cable car up the granite rock to see a completely different view of the city, mountains and forests. The famous copacabana beach stretched out below, along with all the lagoons and bays just gorgeous! Whilst we were up there we caught sight of some of the small marmoset monkeys, much to the girls pleasure! And it was funny to watch the vultures flying below us, gliding along in the breeze!
After this we said good bye to our lovely guide Alan who dropped us back at our apartment. Feeling a little tired we had a quick siesta before heading back out to the ipanema beach, just a short walk away. We spent the late afternoon relaxing in the sun, drinking fresh coconut water from the beach seller, and the girls and Den had a great time splashing and swimming in the crazy waves followed by lots of beach snuggles!
What a full and wonderfully exhausting day xx