21st feb 2012.
Last full day in Rio. The crowds have died down and although most of it looks like a bomb site I'm beginning to settle. It's a shame because a lot of the city has some large colonial style buildings but unfortunately they are in a very poor state. Couple that with the street rubbish and it's not a pretty sight.
Anyway after brekkie we headed off to the metro. This time to Botafogo. Still quite a few sad looking people in fancy dress around but not nearly as many as before. Our plan was to go to Sugar Loaf mountain. We left the metro station and decided to walk along the coast road to the cable car. It was very pleasant. Botafogo and Urca are clearly more up market areas.
Anyway we arrived at the cable carand there were no queues. It's a two stage trip to the top. The car stops on a smaller mountain where the usual gift shop etc are then you re-board to go up to Sugar Loaf. The views from both areas are amazing. We went to the top took some pics and then went back to the half way point to have a cold beer overlooking Copacabana beach. It was well worth the trip.
Once we were back down we walked along a coast road into Urca. It was lovely looking at the boats in the harbour and the sea wall lined with people fishing.
Tomorrow we have a lot of time to kill so we plan to try and go to Santa Teresa which is meant to be very pretty. This evening it's time to re-pack the rucksacks ready for the bus trip tomorrow night. It will be about 7 hours but they are luxury coaches so hopefully we will get some sleep.
To end this I'll offer some thought s on Rio. It was clearly once a pretty city but the poverty is obvious. That's without venturing into the Favellas. These are the slums where the really poor live. Crime is endemic .
They clearly enjoy a party. We read that beautiful people are everywhere. They must have left for the week end !!! They seem to have the world wide problem...too many doughnuts. It took us two days to realise that you don't order a meal each. The portions are huge so you agree a meal and share one. Makes for a cheaper evening.
If you like to drink for 5 days come to Carnival. If you don't come at a different time. I'm sure there is much more to see and do but at this time the city is basically shut for 5 days.
Next stop Ouro Preto which is a world heritage site town in the mountains. It's a 7 hour bus trip . Unfortunately in South America it seems you either fly or bus. There is little in the way of rail network.
Despite some frustrations it's been an interesting start to the trip.