Christ the Redeemer & Santa Teresa
24.01.2013 32 °C
You'll be pleased to know that the cheese and ham toasties went well this morning! No fruit though as we got up a little later, so another trip to the supermarket for fruit, water and nutella - the kitchen in the hostel is not very good so we thought a quick sandwich and some fruit would be better. Oh and we bought superglue to try and fix my flip flops!
Here's a picture for Lee Holmes and Michael Parker. Andrew's decision to bring a washing line wasn't so stupid after all!! Who knew?!
And a quick, cheap lunch in the hostel - reminds me of our Cyprus days!
Today we went on a city tour, which covered Christ the Redeemer, a cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain, Lapa Steps, Santa Teresa and the Cathedral San Sebastian, and it was incredible! The tour was with www.bealocal.com and our tour guide, Gustavo, was fantastic, speaking three languages throughout the tour and helping us with places to go and food to eat for the rest of our stay. On the bus already were two couples - one from Ireland and the other from Mauritius - and soon three Argentinian guys, one Brazilian man, one Canadian guy, two Danish girls and a German girl joined us.
We started with Christ the Redeemer, something we had both always wanted to see. The statue stands 99ft (3 metres) tall on top of the 700 metre Corcovado mountain, in the Tijuca Forest National Park. The bus journey up there went well, winding up the mountain as you can imagine but I felt so much safer than, say, at the monsoon palace in India - these were real roads at least! The guide told us that sometimes there's an hour and a half wait for the bus up to the top, so we might prefer to walk as it only takes 30 minutes, but luckily the queue was 'small' so we took the bus. It was a shame not to take the train, as it looked fun, but apparently this is much more expensive and takes longer.
It was around 220 steps up to Christ and the first glimpses up close were impressive. As with most of these monuments, it had souvenir shops, snack bars and restaurants along the way. It was also packed - there is such a small area around Christ that getting a picture without someone's head, arm or body in the way was quite a feat!
However, none of this took away from looking up at Christ the Redeemer so closely and out over Rio from so high up - it was amazing.
It's unbelievable to think this was designed, sculpted and constructed over 90 years ago.
On to Santa Teresa, a neighbourhood that was created in the mountain side in the 18th century to house the rich people of Rio when yellow fever broke out in city (this knowledge is according to Gustavo by the way, so I hope it's right!). Here is a picture of the 'pleasure' favelas, so called because there used to strip clubs at the top!
The area is famous for it trams but after an accident in 2011 that killed six people they have been stopped, which was really sad to see. There was even a team 'graveyard' in the hill.
The people of Santa Teresa are campaigning to have the trams back in service, and this is piece of street art showing the actual driver of the tragic tram and a woman with a sign saying bring back our trams (not a literal translation!).
Art can be seen all over in Santa Teresa - here are some photos I took. This is the work of an artist called Pedro Grapiuna who creates sculptures with recycled iron:
'Alive!' on the hillside, under the houses:
And here's one for Jodie Mace, formerly Jodie Ellis AKA Tupac - Tupac Shakur on the side of the wall with Charlie Chaplin!:
The streets around Santa Teresa are pretty steep but the drivers do this 6 times a week, so you never feel unsafe.