Our initial plan when arriving in Rio was to spend the first week being die hard tourists, hitting every major tourist attraction we could (wallet permitting of course). Whilst splitting our time between being tourists and job hunters, as our plan was to try and stay and work in Rio for as long as we could. This plan however was slightly benched as our Portuguese was non existent and the places we had emailed already, wanted only people who spoke both English and Portuguese. We therefore planned to tackle the biggest attractions to Rio in our first week, just incase something landed on our lap and we had to start working.
We therefore gave ourselves a little tick off list of things like Christ the redeemer and the Corcovado train, Sugar Loaf mountain, Copacabana Beach, Ipanema Beach, Botanical Gardens and the Lighting of the Lagoa Christmas tree. This would pad our first week out nicely, although it wouldn’t go well with our wallet, as these attractions aren’t cheap! Luckily I had scored some work for ‘weloverio.com’ writing blog entries to get people excited about Rio ahead of the world cup next year and the Olympics. Therefore luckily for us, some of the costs (for one) were covered, which really helped our budgeting and it meant some money was coming in, all we had to do was visit the attractions and write about them from our own personal experience, simple right?! Not when Rio decides to have 5 days of rain and fog engulfing the whole city! Which meant for the first 4 days we couldn’t even see Christ or Sugar Loaf mountain. this sure as hell didn’t stop the sunbathers though, who were still out in force whilst we shivered and moaned about the lack of sunshine! Although we were in Rio and with that in mind and a STRONG Caipirinha in hand, we were always smiling from ear to ear, after all we have to moan about the weather, were British.
When the sun finally put his hat on (hip, hip, hip hooray) we were faster out of the blocks than Usain bolt, with camera at the ready and our tourist legs fully warmed up. Our first goal was to see Christo Rendentor/Christ the Redeemer or as my friend Helena called him ‘big Jesus’. We opted to go via the Corcovado train instead of the buses which leave every 10mins, however that meant waiting for 1 1/2 half hours for our train, as you get allocated a slot! But the ride up was totally worth the wait.
On our journey up, we were also treat to some live samba music, which got everyone in even better spirits than they were already, however that was soon to be dampened when we reached the top! Now although everybody somehow manages to get the famous Christo Redentor pose infront of the big guy, the reality of getting that shot is a whole different story. Especially when the crowd is a mix between a mosh pit and a cattle market! Busy doesn’t even come close to what its like up there!
We did somehow manage to get some of the ‘pose’ pictures, but it took some hellish patience and a lot of poking people in the face, as nobody kindly stops! Aside from the obvious pose and the statue itself, the views from up there are amazing, a full panoramic view of Rio from above and on a good day, even seeing all the way to Barra da Tijuca (which is far)! Unfortunately though its hard to stand around and relax, due to the obscene amount of people here and plus I really hate crowds, so could only stand it for 30mins tops!
In the afternoon we retreated back to the beach, only this time the sun was out which meant people were out in their droves sunbathing, not as busy as normal Rio images, but for British people, it was like seeing south shields beach on the only sunny day of the year, everyones there! Our first port of call was Copacabana and then we walked along to Ipanema, to see if that girl in that song was there and she was!
After strolling around the beaches and sipping Caipirinhas, it was time to hit the hay and get our rest in, as the next day was meant to be a scorcher and we still had Pao do Azucar/Sugar Loaf and the Botanical Gardens to see, rounding the week off with the lightning of the Lagoa Christmas tree.