LOAF, SAARA & SANTA TERESA
BRAZIL TRAVELOGUE - DAY
9 - RIO DE JANEIRO BRAZIL
Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro Brazil..
We eat a
typical Swedish breakfast on our balcony, taking note
of the heavily overcast skies - a drastic departure
from the bright sunshine we'd experienced the previous
day. At 9:00AM, we meet our guide for the week,
Marcelo Esteves. Bertil and Kicki had taken a
tour already before we arrived, with a different guide
(also booked through Luiz Amaral), to Petropolis, the
former home of King Pedro II. They couldn't stop
raving about the guide and the tour - they had a great
very friendly and outgoing, full of information about
the city of Rio de Janeiro.
escorts us in his own Citroen, comfortable for the
five of us, to Sugar Loaf Mountain, after courtesy
stops at Citibank for us to take out cash, and at
Rio Apartments for Bertil
to charge his phone (it was 220V, so it didn't work
at the apartment). At Sugar Loaf Mountain, we
board the famous cable car that will take us up to the
first of two mountains (after a $35BR per person Entry
Fee). As we arrive at the top of the first mountain,
the clouds obscure almost the entire view, which we
can tell would have been tremendous.
informs us of the history of Sugar Loaf and describes
what views we have as we board the second cable
car to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. The
view from the cable car must be fantastic, though
ours is very limited due to the clouds below us.
Occasionally they split, giving us panoramic views
of all of Rio de Janeiro, far below us, only to
form again and take it away. At the top, after
enjoying what views the clouds allow us to have,
we take a little nature walk along a paved trail
through the surrounding jungle. We see beautiful
banana trees and other tropical foliage, and we
find a group of Marmosets (small monkeys with long
ringed tails and really big eyes), in a tree as
we walk back up. There are six or seven of
them within six feet of us, and we enjoy watching
them for a while before heading back to the top.
At the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro.
exploring the overpriced gift shop (Marcelo tells
us where we can find the same items at better prices,
and later shows us where they were - the difference
was quite astounding), we have espresso and then
head down to the bottom, where we begin our tour
of Historical Rio de Janeiro.
portion of our tour takes us to the artsy community
of Santa Teresa. Built on a hill, the primary
form of transportation for this area is by old trolley,
which runs up and down the hill all day long.
Marcelo takes us by car through the community, as we're
running late and I'm supposed to go hang gliding today
after the tour. He points out various famous people's
homes, shows us the surrounding favelas, and explains
to us the history and culture of the area.
A look at the Santa Teresa neighborhood of Rio.
We stop the
car, and have lunch at Sobrenatural, a great little
restaurant where we have some excellent Bahia-influenced
fish dishes and excellent appetizers. A Bahian
lady comes by selling necklaces, which Sandra and Kicki
gobble up. We watch several tourists get off the
trolley and come inside, along with a few locals.
we go next door to a little artsy shop, where they sell
some of the same items we had seen at the Sugar Loaf
gift shop for a fraction of the price. Marcelo
explains about the art on the walls, made by another
local tour guide in Rio as Sandra and Kicki browse the
Now, we were
to ride the trolley down the hill, but in an effort
to make the hang gliding that day, we pass it up and
drive downtown for the Historical Rio tour (we would
later postpone the hang gliding for another day, as
we were having too good of a time on the tour).
For the next
portion of our tour, we drive down to Centro, where
Marcelo shows us three important churches in downtown
Rio de Janeiro - the first an incredible Catholic cathedral
named #, that we're told took 80 years to build.
Inside the cathedral is more impressive than it even
is outside with beautiful carvings and stained glass.
Next is a Presbyterian Church, an unusual sight as over
90% of Brazil is Catholic. The church is a traditional
Presbyterian-style cathedral - beautiful on the outside,
more simple on the inside. The third church, the
Cathedral of San Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro, is a unique
conical shape that is much less impressive inside than
The San Sebastian Cathedral
of Rio de Janeiro..
Enjoying a great cup of coffee at Columbo Coffee
is the Saara shopping area, where there are seemingly
endless shops and a huge amount of people. The
shops mostly sell knock-offs of everything from designer
shoes and handbags to CDs, DVDs, and Software.
These are incredibly cheap - such as 3 CDs for $4 USD,
and major software titles for just a few dollars.
"Nike" shoes can be less than $10 USD. It seems
everything is inexpensive in this area - as we walk
through the streets, we're handed flyers that advertise
sex for $10BR (about $4 USD)!
shows us the Columbo Coffee House, which he says is
the best coffee in Rio. The place is amazing -
all impressed with the fine decor, and the cappucino
is absolutely the best we've ever had. After
coffee, we continue walking through the downtown
shopping area, filled with people and
mid-to-high-end shops (we're out of the knock-off
area now). It's closed to traffic, and is a
fun place to walk and see people. We return to
the car, and back to the apartment.
a full day of touring, we decide to stay in and make pasta at
home that evening. Tomorrow is our anniversary, so we
want to be fresh.
Continue to Day 10 - Copacabana Palace
or select an option from the menu at left.