A city embodying its
zest for life...
"Christ's View" wide over Rio toward Sugarloaf
Rio is an astounding place visually, in its samba music and in
its 12 million people - a way of life embodied in a city. Love of
living life seems painted all over it. Being there, it
feels nowhere near as dangerous as what is written about
it. On this trip I spent three days in and around Rio
and then two days 700 miles west at
Iguaçu Falls on both the Argentina and Brazil sides. The summer
weather was hot - around 90°F, but clear with no rain
throughout the trip. I had an
driver/guide in Rio whom I now consider a
Raphael Torres Lopez (+5521 9469 6562
firstname.lastname@example.org). With his help, I saw some
things few tourists see and covered a staggering amount
of ground in a short period of time.
February 5th - Corcovado & Marapendi
I arrived late morning after my overnight flight
from Washington DC. Rafael met me at the arrival hall and off
we sped to the
JW Marriott on Copcabana Beach (view from my room in first
picture below). I did a quick turnaround there and we were en route to Corcovado by 1pm.
We stopped at a lookout point called Mirante Dona Marta
(second picture below with Rafael) while winding our way 2300
ft up through the urban Tijuca rainforest. The iconic 1931 art
deco styled statue,
Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) is an imposing 100
ft tall and can be seen from all around the city (immediate
right and third picture below). The 360° view from the top of
Corcovado is equally impressive (large picture above facing
east, shot at 10mm wide angle).
At the base of Cristo Redentor on Corcovado
Descending through the Tijuca rainforest
on the road of Paineiras, we passed by natural showers and the
Cascatinha waterfall (fourth picture above) before crossing to
the west side of the city to take a unique lagoon boat trip through
the Marapendi Wetlands (first through third pictures below).
This is a large, scenic "off the beaten track" series of
islands and peninsulas where many Cariocas (locals) live. We
saw lots of wildlife and upscale residences there before
returning to Copacabana. I had dinner paired with some nice
Argentinean wine at the hotel's sushi restaurant before
retiring for the evening.
February 6th - Sugarloaf, Centro & Niteroi
I started the day with a ~2 mile walk up and down Copacabana
Beach before breakfast. Rafael picked me up mid-morning and we
headed east to Sugarloaf, known locally as
Pão de Açucar.
There are two cable tram trips that take you 1300 ft up to the summit.
The trams were crowded and hot, but the views along the ride
were wonderful (fourth picture above headed up from Cara de
Cão and first
picture below headed down facing Corcovado - Christ Statue in
the background). The views at the
top were great as well. The second picture below shows the
crescent of Copacabana Beach from Sugarloaf's peak. From Sugarloaf we headed toward Centro - the business district downtown,
with a stop en route at São Bento Church, built in 1576. It has a very
plain exterior, but a magnificent interior. Since no flash
pictures are allowed inside the church, the third picture
below was shot at ISO3200 with my 50mm f/1.8 lens. We parked
downtown near the ferry boats in a neighborhood with narrow
streets that reminded me of
Seville, Spain. We stopped at the Cultural Center of Banco
do Brasil and at the Candelaria Church, dating from 1727. The
fourth picture below shows a beam of natural light inside Candelaria
over the alter.
After a snack in Centro, we drove north and then
east to Niteroi, across Guanabara Bay from Rio (first picture
below - 20mm wide angle of Rio from São
Francisco bay). We stopped at the
Contemporary Art Museum, designed by Oscar Niemeyer
(second picture below) and the colorful fishing village of
Jurujuba before climbing up the steep grade to Parque da
Cidade with its sweeping views across Guanabara Bay towards
Rio (third picture below). Before returning to Copacabana for
the evening, I had my first
Caipirinha along with a traditional Brazilian meal at
Restaurante A Mineira in Niteroi across from the beach.
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