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2019 - South America - Day 10 - Rio

Our final full day in Rio and we were off to see Big Jesus. This was a pre booked tour from before we left as we were told it was easier and safer to it this way.

The usual fare for breakfast had Karen yearning for a bacon sandwich although I pointed out it was years since she had actually had one at home. We were told that we would be picked up from the hotel at 8.55am so we were in Reception on time but predictably running on Brazilian time the pick up was 10 minutes late. It was a nice coach only about a third full. The problem was the guide had to repeat all the information in 4 different languages as we went along, which was annoying, probably to everyone.

The first stop was at the Rio Cathedral which we had walked passed the day before. A weird concrete pyramid building from the outside it was actually pretty good inside with enormous stained glass windows the full height of the building. It was here that I was reminded why I hate organised tours. We had been told to only be 10 minutes here which was long enough for us and but obviously not for others as we sat wasting our time waiting for them on the coach.

From here we headed to the cable car at Sugarloaf. There are actual 2 separate cable cars each of which take 3 minutes each. It is very organised with minimum of wait times. This is where they filmed the Jaws scene in Moonraker. At the top of the first rock we stopped to take some pictures before going up the top of Sugarloaf itself. The view from the top was magnificent and we could really see how all of Rio was laid out with the various beaches itself. For the first time we could say that Rio did look rather lovely. We stopped to have a coffee at a cafe at the top and then wandered round to look at the 360 degree vista. It took about 20 minutes to get back where eventually we rejoined with everyone on our tour.

We knew our tour included lunch and hasn’t really anticipated much so were pleasantly surprised to be taken to be taken to an upmarket Brazilian BBQ restaurant in Ipanema. The meal itself consisted of about a dozen waiters constantly bringing round on skewers to carve onto your plate. We both turned down the chicken hearts but tried everything else. We were both full of meat by the end. The only issue was having to sit as a group with other people on the tour. It reminded me of all the bits of a cruise that I hate, although amusingly the Italians who sat near us only wanted to talk about Brexit which was headline news on the Brazilian news channels playing in the restaurant.

Lunch went on for far too long before the tour recommenced. Now as a bonus the guide for the afternoon decided to take the long way to Corvacado Mountain so we could go round the Maracana stadium. Close up it was not impressive as I anticipated but I am glad we got to see it. From here we drove to the base tram station for the trip up to finally see Big Jesus otherwise known as Christ the Redeemer. It was a 20 minute trip and it was a hot one as the train seemed to struggle up the very steep and winding climb. There were a couple of stops en route at which people were selling water through the windows. At the top there was a series of steps before some escalators took us up to the statue itself. At the top there was hoards of people all trying to take the same photo. It was quite a scrum. The views were again out of this world. Despite the height it was still incredibly hot. We took lots of normal and also some arty type pictures. The statue itself is huge at 30m tall and the outstretched arms are 28m apart. Coming down to the train station was easy enough, however we had to wait over 20 minutes to get through the queue to actually get onto a train. Once at the bottom we then had another 20 minute wait for the coach which irritated us once again.

Although we were the first drop off on the coach we did feel that we could have done more in the day in less time and probably in a better order by doing the tour ourselves. We decided to not go back to our room but instead back to the shopping mall for dinner. I had a Steak Caesar again whilst Karen had a pasta chicken thing. Very nice they were too. Karen went and got herself a coffee from Starbucks whilst I paid the bill to ensure we were ready to go back through the tunnel to the Hotel whilst there was still some resemblance of daylight. So 11 hours after we left we returned to our room.

Whilst we were getting ourselves sorted we had a note pushed under our door telling us that our pick up for our transfer to the beach resort we were moving to tomorrow would be at 7am which meant we tried to get ourselves organised before retiring quite tired after the day for the night.

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