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Brazil day 9 – Leaving Ilha Grande for Rio de Janeiro and checking out the city!

Posted by on July 20, 2011
Ferry boat for getting of Ilha Grande, Brazil/Brasil

Getting off the island on this old school ferry boat

Ah, finally, we’re getting off of the island. Despite how cool it was to be on the island, it was time to go. It was basically get up, pack up, and get on out of here. The only way in was by boat so the only way out was by boat. The only problem was that it started raining so there was no avoiding get the gear wet. Sure, the boat had some covered spots to block out the rain but as you know, water flows downward and all it does is just find its way down to the bags. And not that it mattered in the end since when we were getting off the boat, it was raining harder so basically all of the gear was getting wet anyway on the way to van. As soon as everywhere was packed up and ready to go it was off to Rio de Janeiro!

On the streets/highway with traffic onto Rio de Janeiro, Brazil/Brasil

On the way to Rio

It took a couple hours to get there and the rains subsided but on the way to the hotel as we were driving into the city, I could see one of the world wonders up on the mountain, Christ the Redeemer. I was definitely going there on that day as well.

Christ the Redeemer from far away on a cloudy day

Christ the Redeemer from far away - I was going there that day!

View of Rio de Janeiro en route to Christ the Redeemer, Brazil

On the way to the World Wonder while looking at the city of Rio de Janeiro

After checking into the hotel, I immediately had to get ready since the city tour of Rio de Janeiro was going to begin very soon meaning that I had to get my gear and myself down to the lobby pronto. As soon as everyone was down at the lobby, the guide came in and took us in a private van. The first thing on the itinerary was going to the Christ the Redeemer monument, voted as one of the seven new wonders of the world, which I saw earlier while riding by. The drive to the world wonder was not a long one since the visit took place on a Tuesday meaning that there weren’t a lot of people. The bad weather probably helped as well because I was told that generally every good day with weather are just complete nightmares trying to visit the place as it can be packed with people like sardines in a can. Don’t even ask about holidays, high season, or the weekends. It’s just even worse with the drive alone. Good thing there weren’t a lot of people on that day.

up close in the fog Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brasil

And there it was! Christ the Redeemer, one of the 7 New World Wonders as voted in 2007.

With people and tourists in the clouds Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brasil

My picture with the Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brasil

Great photo shot from below of the World Wonder

I thought the visit was neat just walking up to the statue and gazing upon it. It’s in a really unique location to where you can see all of Rio as well as the weather can change the perspective of it as well of that of the statue. Clouds would come in back and forth showing a clear view of the statue and of the city, but most of the time it didn’t. People had to time their photos right because otherwise they’ll just get a picture of a bunch of clouds. I, however, managed to get great photos of myself with it. This was my second world wonder visited (Machu Picchu was the first). If the World Wonder starts to get boring, you can always look down onto the city of Rio for some great aerial views.

Aerial view of the city and Sugarloaf Mountain from Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brasil

An aerial view of Rio de Janiero; you can even see Sugarloaf Mountain, another attraction of the city to go to.

After looking around for a bit, it was basically time to go. There’s only so much you can do and see once you’re there. So off to the next place of going to Santa Teresa, a well-known neighborhood renowned for its colonial style architecture.

Santa Teresa neighborhood, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brasil

This place isn't exactly a safe place to be in so heed caution while in Santa Teresa

There was this interesting painting that was in Santa Teresa about the World Cup 2010 Brazilian team. This wall gets re-painted every 4 years and the theme for this one was about the World Cup team. Well, apparently, one of the players did too much drinking and partying that he got kicked off the team. Therefore, he was portrayed on the painting as the one on the motorcycle going opposite of the national team. Real funny but I’m sure Brazilians weren’t too happy about after the World Cup since they lost. I had predicted them to win every time like in 2002 (which they won) and 2006 (didn’t win) but that didn’t happen.

World Cup painting of Brazilian soccer/football team, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brasil

World Cup painting in Santa Teresa

The next location was going to see this massive beehive-looking cathedral, known as Catedral de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro or in English as Rio de Janeiro Cathedral. This place was just massive and even as we’re driving through the city, the building just sticks out!

Cathedral/Catedral de São Sebastião, beehive building, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brasil

Catedral de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro or in English as Rio de Janeiro Cathedral; it looked like a beehive not a cathedral!

The inside was very impressive as well having these huge stained glass windows that went from near the bottom to all the way to near the top of the building. This cathedral was just as amazing as some of the ones I’ve seen in Europe. This was no joke on seeing this.

Inside of Catedral de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro or in English as Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, Brazil/Brasil

This was what the inside the beehive, uh, I mean cathedral, looked like.

Escadaria Selarón or Selaron stairs, colorful bricks of steps of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil/Brazil

Escadaria Selarón

Next was driving through a part of Lapa where it’s known for its nightlife of Rio but however, due to traffic, it was difficult to get a good glimpse so the next place to go was off to venture and see Escadaria Selarón, a set of steps highly decorated by Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. Initially, what started out as a small project turned into an ever-evolving piece of work that attracted people from all over the world to see as Selarón collect tiles from all over the world and install them onto the staircase. Take a look at the colorful design work he put in.

Escadaria Selarón or Selaron stairs, colorful tiles of steps of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil/Brazil

Close-up of some of the tiles

Escadaria Selarón or Selaron stairs, colorful bricks of steps of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil/Brazil

Everyone loves the Simpsons! They even have their own spot! Now we just have to find South Park and its spot...

Escadaria Selarón or Selaron stairs, colorful bricks of steps of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil/Brazil

The ongoing work in progress of Escadaria Selarón

Pão de Açúcar or better known in its English name, Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil/Brazil

Pão de Açúcar or better known in its English name, Sugarloaf Mountain

It is quite interesting that this man put so much energy into this staircase and it will probably continue on until his death. And despite getting insulted, mocked, and getting kicked out of his home over the years, he endured it all and made the place a world-famous tourist attraction. It was even in the movie, Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton in it! But as always, after one place, it’s off to the next. And this time and lastly, it was off to Pão de Açúcar or better known in English as Sugarloaf Mountain. Its name came from its resemblance from a loaf of sugar hence the Portuguese called it that and the name stuck. And no, the mountain is not sweet tasting or made of sugar at all. In order to get to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, it requires taking 2 cable cars, but once finally there, the views were just awesome especially the city at night.

Night photo of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil/Brasil

Great night time view of Rio - I could even see Christ the Redeemer glow in the distance but the clouds were blocking it on this picture.

We must have stayed there for awhile just looking at the city lights. And as always, it was time to go since dinner was calling. And tonight’s dinner was supposed to be a special one since this was going to be the last Intrepid travelers’ supper. So to go out with a bang, it was going to be a dinner buffet of Brazil’s best meats ranging from grilled and barbeque chicken, pork, picanha, beef, and as well as the side dishes of plantain, vegetables, bread, sushi, and others. I had always said during this trip that I don’t know if anyone could beat out Siga la Vaca in Buenos Aires as the best barbecue buffet but wow…. somebody else could and it was in Brazil. The meats were just exquisite and some were just plain so good that it made my mouth water. And no, there was going to be no photos for this one. If you really know what’s it like, go to Brazil and order the meat!

And to experience the Brazilian lifestyle fully, a nightclub was the next destination. I don’t remember too much from it as I drank quite a bit thanks to the free caprinhas during this 2 hour session, but wow, what a night.