We had the Highlights of Rio tour today at 8:15. All the world cruisers had to get off the ship by 8:45, and all others waited for their numbers to be called to transfer to the airport or stay longer in town. Our bus went through some familiar areas we had seen yesterday and then headed across town to Corcovado, past the Tijuga forest to visit the Christ the Redeemer Statue which looks down on Rio de Janiero from its lofty perch. It can be seen almost anywhere in town, although most times we are looking at Christ’s back side. He is looking east over the harbor and is over 100 feet high with 30 foot long arms. Several years ago, it was struck by lightning and broke a finger. This has been repaired, and additional lightning rods installed around the monument.
We all had timed tickets for the Cogwheel Train, (similar to Mt. Washington’s Cog Railway), but much larger, with 4 cars and holding over 300 passengers every few minutes. There are about 4 trains that we could see in service for the half hour ride to the top. This is a hugely popular local attraction and thousands of Brazilians were there with us today. When we exited the train, there was still some climbing to do to get to the monument level. One could either climb 250 stairs or take an elevator followed by an escalator to the top. Since we only had 40 minutes before going back on the train, we chose to do the easier way. We took lots of photos of the statue and surrounding parts of Rio. Views were amazing from up here, and we were blessed by another clear, warm day. When we decided we had done justice in the photo department, we still had some time left and decided to walk down the steps, the easier and quicker route than going up them.
After our completely full train descended to the base, we continued our tour with a drive past all the beaches along the way. This began with the lagoon, an inland waterway where all the rowing events were held in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Sailing is common here as well, but no swimming, as the lagoon is polluted. We continued past Ipanema Beach and Copacabana Beach, which were both crowded. Tomorrow is a holiday and many folks took a long weekend. It was a good beach day. We did get to spend few minutes at Copacabana Beach to walk on the sand and say we were really here. Our bus pulled over and parked so we could get out and take pictures (probably illegally, but it was nice). These beach areas are the highest priced neighborhoods in Rio with homes in the 5-10 million dollar range. On the way back, we passed by the Carnival Stadium, a place that is used only once per year. It is more than a ½ mile long with a wide boulevard between steep stadium type seating for 70,000 spectators of the Carnival parade and dancing.
When we returned about 12:30, we saw many new passengers making their way from the buses to the terminal. We greeted some and welcomed them aboard. Mac and I took a few minutes to shop close to the ship and then went for lunch.
I wrote about our hectic day yesterday and, before we knew it, it was time for our 6th and final muster drill. We abandoned our cabin five minutes ahead of time and went to the internet café so that we would conveniently not be in our cabin when the alarm sounded, and thus not able to bring our lifejackets to the muster. We are always told to come as we are when the alarm sounds. You could tell who the world cruisers were by looking at the ones without a life jacket. We were definitely not alone. We were good for the first few times, though.
The ship left Rio at 5 o’clock and lots of folks went up on deck for a going away party. There was a beautiful red sky tonight, but the sun sank behind clouds again. We got to meet some newbies and introduced ourselves.
There is no entertainment in the theater tonight except a movie, so after dinner we will try to listen to Clive play and sing with the piano for awhile. He does this every night and has a loyal following, but we always go back to our cabin after the late show to do our writing and sending of photos.
We now have to travel over 1000 miles to Recife, our last Brazilian port, and will spend the next 2 days at sea heading northeast.
Yours in travel,
Pat & Mac