Ipanema, Rio De Janeiro – December 2013
Rio is an amazing city brimming with vibrancy and panache in equal measure. However, the heavily guarded shops, hotels, and apartments are a stark reminder that this place is no safe place. The busses are likely targets for muggers and so it was with some trepidation that I climbed on board number 584 for my first must see tourist attraction.
The cog train from Cosme Velho takes 25 minutes to rise from sea level to the top of Corcovado Mountain at 900 metres, where Cristo Redentor stands. As we arrived at the summit the statue was engulfed in mist, and that was how it remained for the next hour or so.
The cheers from the crowd indicated that at last the mist had cleared and the iconic figure had now emerged. Christ the Redeemer towered above welcoming me with open arms. I turned 180 degrees to look for Sugarloaf Mountain but it was a little more elusive, only allowing a brief moment of view and not full frontal at that! However the views over Copacabana and Ipanema were quite simply stunning.
The Walk from Ipanema beach to Copacabana beach takes over half an hour – unless you dip your toe into the Atlantic Ocean and savour a beer that is. There is an abundance of flesh on display – with next to nothing covering it. If you are a fan of wobbling cheeks then this is the place to be. Men and women, of every proportion, and every age, parade majestically along the strip with a wonderful care free attitude. If you have, it or even if you don’t, then Copacabana and Ipanema beeches are the places to be.
Kilogram restaurants are popular here. The principle being that you help yourself to a buffet style meal and pay according to the weight – simples! It’s a cheap option but the choice is vast and the quality excellent.
The cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain is a two stage journey. The panoramic vistas on a clear day are spectacular – the city, the beaches, and of course Christ the Redeemer.
The Municipal Theatre was also a top site to visit. From 2008 to 2010 2% of the countries budget was spent on renovating this early 20th Century theatre. Inside, the decor is salubrious beyond belief.
I have only caught a glimpse of Rio but what I have seen I like. It’s people are full of joie de vie and the weather is just superb. It’s a bustling city – what on earth it will be like when the World Cup lands I dread to think.