Rio 2016 – Day 6 Rest day
Today was our one day with no tickets for any events, so we decided to cram a visit to the two largest tourist sites in the city into one day, which in hindsight was a bit of an ask.
The first challenge was transport. You can only travel on the BRT and Metro if you have a valid Olympic ticket for that day of competition, we didn’t so we had to cab it around and although not expensive, Rio’s traffic is atrocious. It took an hour to get from our apartment in Barra to Corcovado, where where we met the cog train to ascend 20 minutes up a side of a mountain to see up close the Christ of the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue.
We had booked tickets for Saturday but when we got there the weather had turned and the 38m Christ the Redeemer statue was hidden in threatening rain clouds. We were tempted to go for it as we were there, but we were advised against it and instead told to come back very early one morning.
So we did, although we weren’t early but we did get lucky with both the queues and the weather. It was like a summer’s day and old Cristo with his arms stretched wide looked particular scholarly with not a cloud behind him as he purveyed over his Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvellous City). He is a lucky man because the views up there are amazing.
We then went to Botafogo, which I have inherited as my Brazilian football team and am on the lookout for a shirt. Botafogo has some quaint tree-lined side streets, one of which we found an intriguing place for lunch. Plus the view across the bay to Sugar Loaf Mountain with boats dotted all the way across is quite beguiling. I liked it. Come on O Glorioso.
We then nipped in another taxi to the cable car that in two stages takes visitors up to Sugar Leaf Mountain (Pao De Acucar). The glass and steel cable cars climbed the 215m to the first level, where shops and a fancy restaurant greeted us. That first bit was quite simple. We paid, queued a bit and then we were looking down over this vast city in bright sunlight.
We had a little drinks break, but then it dwelled upon us that there were a million other visitors with a rest day as the wait for the second cable car was horrible. I was out-voted in just taking a photo and returning to ground zero, so we got in a multi-national line and by my reckoning the climb to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, and back, with a 10 minute stay at the top, not including queuing, was about 3.5 hours. And it was bloody freezing, with Chicago-like winds.
By the time we got down, a planned Brazilian steak dinner was shelved for another hour long taxi journey to the apartment and a warming bottle of red.
Enough of sight seeing. Back to the Olympics tomorrow.