After we got severely sunburned by roaming the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, we decided to spend the next (and last, according to the forecast) sunny day by going to Сristo Redentor and Pão de Azucar, and do something else in between. We were well aware of our abilities and our speed, and Rio had so much to offer.
We were immediately attacked by van companies, requiring 25 reals to take us uphill.
We knew three ways to reach the top. By a car or a van, by a panoramic train, or on foot. We quickly rejected the last option after yesterday’s sunbathing and a 6-mile walk. The vans “assaulted” us immediately after we got off the bus so we decided that the cheapest option would be the train. We queued, bought tickets for the next train, which was in an hour and twenty minutes, and went to wait under a shadow in a nearby garden. Twenty minutes before our scheduled timing, we went back to the queue line with the hope of getting on the train soon.
There was something wrong. A train, full of people, was motionless for quite a lot of time. A commotion commenced and the ticket sale was stopped.
Until we found somebody to explain the situation, we were already happy that we had brought long sleeved clothing as we said our farewell to the last sunrays. The situation was the following: the train uphill had broken down and only Jesus knew when they were going to fix it. First, we revalidated our tickets and immersed into thinking and calculations which would be the best time to come back. Tonight or tomorrow morning? How would the statue of Christ the Redeemer be lighted by the sun; what would we be able to see; how much time would we waste…
At some point, we came to the conclusion that right now was the best time. A few moments later, we were once again approached by the vans, so we returned our tickets to the train station company. After a multitude of negotiations with the different van representatives, it turned out that riding a van could be even cheaper. In the meantime, it got cloudy. While we were going uphill, we realized the whole drama. Every company charges you for transport apart from the entrance fee for the outspread giant… We have not written our best homework, but the tourist sector hocused us – they did not want to tell us about the alternatives since they belonged to another company. It was obvious that these people were elated.
If you decide to go there one day by a van, be prepared to change at least three different ones, to line in a queue at the last or the real entrance, and finally to queue for the last van.
If you have grown tired from this van adventure and you are lazy to ascend the final steps – a new queue for the lift awaits you. 🙂 In our case, it started raining when we were at the queue for the last van. No wonder the umbrella and raincoat business was thriving. After it started and stopped raining at least three times, we decided to spend some money on a nylon which turned out to be a great investment. There were equal amounts of rain and wind so we managed to dry ourselves, thanks to the last one, and to mingle with the crowd around Jesus, which frequently poked us with selfie sticks (the crowd, not Jesus!).
Despite the cloudy weather, at this height, we managed to get an idea of the sheer size and the gorgeous beauty of Rio and its surroundings. We decided it’s time to leave since it was 5 pm and we had not eaten yet.
Jesus had difficulty letting us go – on the way back we needed more time to find the station of bus 483. The people we asked were challenged to either understand us or to explain to us how to get there. Anyway, if you ask 5 persons and join their stories, the right answer may be found. We got off the bus somewhere in Ipanema, stuffed ourselves heavily in a restaurant, and for some inexplicable reason, we decided to walk to our hostel in Copacabana (again).
The sea was turbulent. A couple of insane surfers were trying to survive the gigantic waves, barely riding one, once in a while. At some point, it started pouring cats and dogs so the only people on the street were the most ferocious runners and we, packed in nylons, in a quick pace. Rio runners are unstoppable – they prefer practicing in stormy weather or not until there is a serious risk of getting sunburned.
During the evening, the topical question was “What should we do in Rio when it is raining?”. The idea of going to a party, organized by one of the samba schools “Salguiero”, came out of the blue but was quickly embraced. At around midnight, we took a taxi (yes, absolutely normal, wow, so spooky). After it dropped us off, we walked for a minute to the hall and a new, dry world, opened before our thirsty-for-entertainment-on-Saturday eyes. Not only the school showed how much it had advanced in regards to the carnival’s preparation, but also we managed to keep up with the pace of the “Crazy Drummers”, along with the other 1,000 cariocas there.
Around 3 o’clock in the morning, we were back to our hostel. Rio did not turn out to be that scary.
This article was brought to you in English by Svetoslav Dimitrov.
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