Wow what a place! Before I say anything else…
We arrived at 6ish and then had to locate a bus to the stop we needed which was a lot cheaper than the usual taxi. We were directed to the correct place and then a very helpful man told the driver where we needed to get off and then when it was the right place he was going to signal us. The plan went as it should apart from the fantastic red full moon above the bay that we saw on the bus but couldn't get a photo of much to Sarah's disappointment.
We got off and followed the directions to the hostel the only problem that is after finding the right street the hostel wasn't marked with a sign or anything so after a bit of hunting and meeting some fellow travellers we found the spot. We had booked into dorms this time as unknown to us there was a public holiday in Brazil the Monday after we had arrived, no wonder the prices were so high and nowhere was available. We settled in and then headed out for some food before going to bed ready to explore the city the next day.
The next morning we made the decision to go to Christ the Redeemer, we caught a bus to the base of the Corcovado mountain and then there were mini buses to take us to the next stop before getting a final bus to the very top. In the minibus however we got to stop at Dona Marta (another hill nearby) where we could get more shots of the surrounding area, we also stood on the heli pad where we could get good views of the beaches as well.
Once at the top car park we walked up the steps to Christ which was not far, the sight was stunning, the statue was so big and the views of Rio and the surrounding areas were amazing, the only problem was the amount of people, this made it difficult to get many good shots but Sarah did take a few. After a bit of wandering and taking in the views we made our way back down.
After the first bus stop we had to wait for the second minibus to pick us up, whilst we were waiting we saw a brown monkey of some description, it was there for a while until a little girl made too much noise and it ran away! It was clearly scavenging for food but was very timid.
Nothing more that day we just got back and then later that night went for a stroll along the beach, it was so warm we just sat there taking pictures of the Sugar Loaf and watching some fireworks that were going off over the football stadium.
The next day we had decided to walk along the beaches, from the famous Copacabana to Ipanema. It was very sunny which was nice. We caught a minibus to the start of the beach and then headed to the shore front to walk in the sea. The beach was packed because of the holiday weekend and every one was following the rules of the beaches in Brazil. No swimming costumes only bikinis for the ladies and the men had to wear speedos or board shorts, you shouldn't take a towel and definitely no books. A bit different from the beaches in the UK. We had a nice walk but the beach was not as nice as we had envisaged, we had thought of palm trees and very clear water but there were no trees and the water looked very scummy, still we had a good time and then headed into Ipanema to grab a bite to eat before heading back to the hostel via the lagoon in the centre of Rio. It didn't take too long, only a couple of hours considering the distance, but at the end we were both quite tired and we had organised to go out that night to Samba so we had time for a quick siesta.
For the samba trip we had booked we were being picked up at 9.40pm, it was nearly 11.20pm though when we were eventually picked up, usual South American timings! There were already two Australians on the bus waiting then we went and picked up the rest of the people, they were from all over the world but as usual they could all speak English. We headed to the area where the Samba was being held and as we pulled in to the car park our guide pointed out a famous samba dancer that was stood there so we all stood and had our photo taken with her before heading in. People were all dressed up ready to dance and have a few drinks. It was great, all the people were really happy and ready for a party!
We headed inside but it was not what we expected. It was like a huge warehouse and very bright, it was packed with people of all ages from 8 years to 80 and the atmosphere was electric. There were demonstrations and we watched as they did the samba in their carnival costumes and the bands and percussion were playing, it was amazing. There were two or three demonstrations and in between the bands were going and all the people were up and dancing the samba, it was great to watch. At 3.30am we all met and got the taxi back, everyone was exhausted and falling asleep in the bus.
The next morning we had a bit of a lay in as we were both very tired it was a bit of a lazy day then we decided to go to the Sugar Loaf Mountain. We walked to the start and were told we could walk up so we started on the path thinking that it would take us to the first stage, it didn't but it seemed to be a running track for the locals with loads of tiny little monkeys and the scenery was nice. We got to the end and had to turn around as it said you need a guide to go any further, we headed to the cable car instead.
The cable car took us up to the first level it only takes about 2 minutes it's really quick even though it's so steep, it's just like a large ski gongola but not as packed as they restrict the numbers. We got to the first level and had a look around the views were good even though it was a bit cloudy, there were a few shops and a lot of people so we decided to head to the top level. Whilst we were queuing we looked in the trees and there were loads more monkeys, everyone was taking pictures of them and there was quite a few. Again the next car didn't take long at all another couple of minutes and we were there.
Once at the top there were a few paths and stuff that we wandered around to get different views of Rio, we could see one of the airports and there we watched the planes taking off and landing it was weird being higher than the planes. Sarah was taking loads of pictures and there were load of the little monkeys running around, people were feeding them banana's and stuff even though they weren't supposed too. We grabbed some lunch and ate it before heading down to catch the cable car back. It had been a really nice experience and very enjoyable. Once at the bottom we walked back, on the way we wandered through a mall and found a shop that sold maxi dresses the lady in there was so friendly and helpful we think she made them herself. Sarah purchased one and the lady gave us both a hug and wished us well on our travels.
The next day we didn't really do much except catch up on the blog and load photos, we had wanted to take a trip to a favela but the police and army were raiding them in a clean-up operation so there were no trips running. We had planned our trip to Paraty already and were catching the bus the following morning. We had packed up and caught the bus across the street from the hostel, it was a mad bus journey and the driver was an absolute nutter, eventually we got off the bus a stop early because he was so bad, we headed into the bus station and got some tickets. The bus left at two and that was our Rio adventure over, definitely a place we both want to visit again.