So today we decided to travel up the big cable cars to visit Sugar Loaf mountain. This is done in two stages and boasts terrific views over Rio. In order to get to the cable car starting point, we walked from our hotel down through Botafogo and along past the university buildings. The walk took us about 25/30minutes which wasn't bad but it was hot. Rio is definitely hotter than when we were at São Paulo.
We located the cable car (station?) and bought tickets. We then went upstairs to join the queue to board. A bit like the capsules on the London Eye, the cars are mostly glass to give an all round view as they travel up to the first point. The climb is steep but steady. Each car can carry up to 65 people and the journey only takes a couple of minutes.
At the first point, there are some shops, cafes and viewing points. There is also a helipad from where you can buy tours of the sights. These were obviously very popular as helicopters have been flying about non-stop! We spent some time on this first part, taking photos and reading about the history of the cable cars to Sugar Loaf mountain, including looking at the first two car designs.
The next cable car ride was even shorter and less steep. The views were still spectacular and we were incredibly lucky with the weather.
As it was lunchtime, we travelled back down to the first point and stopped in one of the cafes. The service was, unfortunately, incredibly slow. Again, the language barrier proving rather tricky at times! Eventually food arrived, but not before we were completely under siege by pesky marmosets! As Sam and I were sitting at our table waiting for our lunch to arrive, Sam's chips had already been delivered. Suddenly out of nowhere, a marmoset jumped onto the back of Sam's chair and then onto our table. From that moment on, marmosets were running and jumping around on chairs, tables, railings causing mayhem! We moved away from the railings but soon the marmosets were running riot round the whole cafe, much to the amusement of many visitors! Think of seagulls around a bag of chips and you'll know what I mean!
After an entertaining lunch, we descended Sugar Loaf mountain and decided to catch the Metro into Ipenama. After a long search for the Metro station we managed to buy two tickets (about 70p!) that would take us there. We were quite impressed with the Metro, it was clean and very well air conditioned. The trains were big, spacious and you were not hemmed in like on the London Underground. The end of the line stop at Ipenama had been newly built in time for the 2016 Olympic Games.
A nice stroll brought us to the famous Garota bar in which the famous song 'The Girl from IPanema' was written. Here, Sam and I indulged in chocolate mousse, strawberry ice cream and more orange juice!
We then walked along streets famous for their high brow retail boutiques before heading back to the Metro station and travelling back to the hotel for the evening.
We decided to eat in the hotel for dinner and went down to eat at about half eight. Whilst coming down in the lift, there was a complete power cut (which had affected the whole area we were later told!) and we were plunged into complete darkness in this tiny lift and it ground to a halt. This was very freaky and as we scrambled to get our mobiles out for the light and to find the alarm button, suddenly everything came back on and the doors opened at the next floor. We shot out of the lift and took the night 7flights of stairs down to reception to alert them of what happened. It was then we noticed the entire neighbourhood was also in darkness!
We ate our dinner without much hassle, apart from the odd loss of power and lights to keep us entertained. Luckily the hotel have got back up generators!
All in all, a very eventful day!