Since we started talking about our around the world trip, Boy has wanted to stop in Brazil. He loved the Rio movies and was determined to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer above the city. Sorting out our Brazilian visas took some effort as they had to be done in our home country. A trip back for a family wedding in October gave us a chance to file the paperwork and get them done.
It was February when we arrived in Rio de Janiero. A quick stop at the grocery store for provisions and a look at the scenery on the way from the airport was all we could manage our first day. Settling in to our apartment for the week, we popped some popcorn and began with a Rio and Rio 2 movie marathon. After months of travel, we were tired and moving a bit slowly.
By day two, we mustered our energy and took a taxi to Corcovdo so we could go up to see the statue of Christ. Unfortunately, a storm rolled through and the clouds were so thick, you could not see the statue. The ticket office advised us to try another day, so we returned to our apartment and strolled along Ipanema beach in the overcast afternoon. A Brazillian grill with endless meat fed our bodies and got us moving again.
The next day, the weather improved, so we rode the funicular up Corcovado to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Boy took a quick look and was ready to ride back down again. We delayed him for a snack and a drink at the cafe, where we watched a monkey and a lizard in the trees below us. Not many birds to be seen, however, so not quite like the movies.
Wanting another overview of the city, we also rode the cable cars up Sugar Loaf mountain, known in Portugese as Pao De Acucar. The crowds were bigger here, but we had clear skies and great views.
More rain sent us indoors to the Museo Historico Nacional a terrific collection of artifacts from the 500 years of Brazilian history in a beautiful, colonial building. It is on the edge of the central part of the city, but at the moment is hard to reach due to street improvements for the 2016 Olympics. We all learned a lot about the founding of the country and wished we were there at lunchtime, as the museum cafe looked spectacular.
Another find was the fort at Copacabana beach. Boy loved the cannons while Dad and I appreciated the views. The 1914 fort is open for tours and has an outpost of the Colombo Restaurant, known for its milkshakes and afternoon tea, a treat we did not skip.
We skipped the trolley through the Santa Teresa neighborhood, however. The historic trolley has been shut since 2010 following an accident. It’s planned reopening for the 2014 World Cup was delayed and is now planned for sometime in 2015. We couldn’t wait around till then, so it dropped off our things to do list. We did spend some time at the beaches, checked out the Sambadromo and caught a street party at Ipanema for Carnaval, over the course of the week. We weren’t sure what to expect in Rio, but we found the beaches at Copacabana and Ipanema were fairly tame, many bikinis, on people of all shapes, but no topless sunbathers and few thong bottoms. A number of kids and families, especially at Ipanema. Overall, we found Rio to be easy to navigate and generally family friendly, though Boy was crushed he didn’t see more birds.
Christ the Redeemer and a city view