Our final morning in Rio we rode to the top of another high hill. This time we rode a cog train to Corcovado, the mountain close to Sugarloaf but slightly smaller. At the top stands the world’s fifth largest statue of Christ, towering at 130 feet. That was one tall Jesus.
The view was great, but not as amazing as the previous evening’s view from Sugarloaf.
After one last delicious lunch, we retrieved our bags from the hotel and made our way to the airport for our overnight flight back to Houston.
There is no line at immigration if you arrive at the Houston airport at 5:00 AM. FYI.
I really loved my visit to Rio de Janeiro. If you ever get the opportunity to go, do it. And while you are there, order the national cocktail of Brazil, the Caipirinha. You’ll be glad you did.
Wow. It has taken me 10 days to get the rest of Thursday up here. That’s pitiful. I could list my excuses (which include daughters going off to college) but I will spare you my stuff and show you my pics instead.
Thursday afternoon we rode big gondolas (really more like a van hanging from a wire than a gondola) to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain and were treated to the most beautiful view of the city and the Bay. Someone in the group suggested that we remain up there longer than had been planned, in order that we might enjoy the sunset and some cold beer in that amazing setting. It was a brilliant idea. What was NOT a brilliant idea, however, was leaving my husband alone with my camera and a sunset. Oh my. He does get carried away sometimes.
This was our destination, Sugarloaf Mountain. The gondolas can’t get all the way up there in one trip, so you get off at a stop (where you can take pictures and admire the view) and then you take another one to the top of the mountain. This picture was taken at the first stop.
Now we are at the top.
Good night, Rio!
Darn. I should have saved my beloved “Girl From Ipanema” video for today’s post, because I was that girl! Well, sorta. I decided to take a pass on the day’s organized tour because I was dying for some exercise and some quiet time. Our guide is fabulous, but being a true Brazilian, she never stops talking. So this morning I took a long walk from our hotel to Ipanema, which is just another beach neighborhood in Rio. It was such a good day!
I sat on these big rocks and watched the surfers
Each neighborhood has its own distinct pattern on the pathway. Here is Ipanema’s.
Here is Copacabana’s
Nothing like a morning at the beach! When I got back to the hotel I was hot and sweaty. So I spent several hours here with my book and some cold coconut water.
As the men in the song said, “ahhhhhhhh”.
Today we learned about Carnival in Rio, and got to see the Sambadrome, where Carnival is held. It was a long and wide street, lined with spectator stands. It was kind of hard to look at the empty space and imagine the crowds, colors, and music that is Carnival, but we watched a video in the small “museum” and that helped bring it to life for us. Afterwards we visited the H. Stern jewelry workshop, had a gourmet lunch at the Museum of Modern Art, and then explored the museum. I didn’t take many photos today, but here they are. Enjoy!
Today we walked all around the city of Rio de Janeiro with a guide and two security guys who wore Ray-Bans and crossed their arms a lot. Rio is a fascinating mix of old and new, all crowded in between the sea and the mountains.
First stop was a monastery which looked nice and simple on the outside.
gorgeous iron gates
But the inside is anything but simple. Baroque, baby!
loved this font in a side chapel
Many buildings in Rio reflect a French influence.
There are also lots of modern buildings in Rio. Sadly, they are not all as pretty as this one.
Reflected in that building is a modern cathedral where the Pope held mass just last week. It was amazing.
one side of the cathedral- all the little squares were open air
The ceiling on the inside was a clear glass cross, with modern stained glass coming down each of the four sides. It was quite dramatic.
After a lunch break back at the hotel, we visited a much smaller church at the top of a hill, which afforded this lovely view .
The church was charming. I loved all of the tiles, which came from England.
Afterwards, we wandered around some quaint little streets from colonial times.
As you can see, it was a full day. I hope you all had a good start to your week!
We flew all night from Houston and landed this morning in sunny Rio! Mark and I had lunch at a small beach restaurant. Usually I avoid places with plastic menus featuring photographs of the food, but in this case it was handy, as we are totally out of our element with Portuguese! Occasionally I will recognize a written word from French or Spanish, but for the most part I am clueless. The spoken language sounds like totally gibberish to me. So we were happy to point at the beers and the calamari and the unknown fish nuggets pictured on the plastic menu. None of it was great (well, the beer was actually pretty darned good) but we were hungry and enjoyed sitting under our umbrella and watching all of the beach and boardwalk activity on this sunny Sunday.
a bikini tree?
The pathway that runs parallel to the beach is a pretty mosaic pattern of stones.
The water was cold and the surf was HUGE! Most people simply hung out at the edge of the water and tried not to be swept back out with the current. The spray and the sound of the pounding surf was amazing.
Our hotel sits across the street from the beach and is gorgeous.
love this floor
It’s now 7:30 pm and pitch dark- so different from Paris, where it stays light until 10:30!
Off to dinner. Stay tuned for more Rio- same Bat channel, same Bat time.
Bonjour mes amis! I know I am not the only one who was rather flabbergasted to see “August 1” appear on my calendars last week. The summers used to last so much longer when I had several little kids to entertain in the steamy Texas heat! This one has certainly zipped by at warp speed, but has been a good one.
I happened to see that Ina Garten had posted a new recipe for Blueberry Bran Muffins on her website, and I had all the necessary ingredients in my kitchen, except the wheat bran (which I found at the nifty new Fresh Market that just opened across the street). I whipped them up in no time, and they are delicious. I love that they use yogurt and honey, with no other fats. Muffins without oil or butter? Yes! Try them now, while the blueberries are plentiful at the stores. And yes, they do taste best with a little dab of butter stuck in their middle.
I was a huge fan of Philipp Meyer’s novel, American Rust, when it came out a year or two ago. His newest novel, The Son, had been getting a lot of buzz in the literary world, and I was happily surprised to find it at the library shortly before I left for Paris. I took it with me on my trip (all 560 pages of it) and it was definitely worth the additional weight in my carry-on! The Son tells the epic tale of how three generations of one wealthy Texas family participated in 150 years of Texas history. From Comanche raids to cattle drives to crude oil, this story never loses its edge, and neither did it lose my interest. You don’t have to be from Texas to enjoy this story of the settlement of the American West, but, as in all things, it doesn’t hurt! Go lasso yourself a copy.
Tonight I embark on my final trip of the summer, to a continent I have never been before. We sent the Pope on ahead to prepare the friendly people of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil , for our visit. I hope to gather plenty of material for a couple of posts from the Copacabana beach straight to your inbox. I never thought I would be visiting Rio, and I am super excited to see the home of the girl from Ipanema!
I know I have shared this video with you before, but I think it’s time for another visit with The Girl From Ipanema, don’t you?
I do love that song.
Talk to y’all soon!