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1 - The Road to Iguacu

2 - Iguassu Falls Nat'l Park

3 - Macuco Boat Safari

4 - Iguazu Falls Rest.

5 - Foz Tropicana Aviary

6 - Rafain Churrascaria

7 - The Road to Noronha

8 - Fernando de Noronha

9 - Sueste Bay Snorkeling

10 - Farewell to Fernando

11 - The Road to Rio

12 - The Hippie Market

13 - Sugar Loaf Mountain

14 - Copacabana Palace

15 - Too Much Gluten

16 - Botanical Gardens

17 - Buzios

18 - Copacabana

19 - Ipanema Beach

20 - Plataforma Show

21 - Corcovado Mountain

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Corcovado Mountain
Atop Corcovado Mountain with Christ the Redeemer.

At 9:00AM, Marcelo picks us up from the apartment, and we head up to see the symbol of Rio de Janeiro - Corcovado Mountain, where the statue of Christ stands tall, arms spread wide, watching over the city.  The weather is bright, warm sunshine - perfect for this tour. The road up is a winding one through the jungles of the Tijuca Forest, providing us with wonderful views of the city below.  As we reach the gate, there is a small entrance fee per person to drive up, or you can park the car and walk up for free.  We opt for the driving option as it looks pretty steep.


As we continue driving up the road, we see a group of school children walking - after another 10 minutes of solid uphill driving, we're very happy we chose to drive.  Once at the top, we ride the glass elevators up to the statue itself.  The ride in the elevators is great in itself, with views sweeping all over the city.  However, this is nothing compared to the views at the top, standing at the foot of Christ the Redeemer.   We are rewarded with near-360 views of Rio de Janeiro, stretching for dozens of miles in every direction, panoramic vistas of the jungle-draped mountains and the azure blue sea.   It is absolutely breathtaking.

We all pose for photos with the statue, looming high over us, as the crowds start to get thicker.  Naturally, Kicki and Bertil have their eyes on the Corcovado Cafe, where we sample some excellent, but sweet, Brazilian juices, and of course, espresso as we gaze out over the city below.  After our break, we check out the gift shops - very expensive, of course - then we descend the glass elevators back to the car for the next part of our tour - Tijuca Forest.  The forest is the largest urban forest in the world, the remnants of the massive Atlantic rain forest that once surrounded Rio de Janeiro.  The road winds around the mountains, offering tremendous vistas of the city and ocean beyond.  We see waterfalls, people rock climbing, many people jogging, and some beautiful tropical foliage.

Corcovado Cafe
Corcovado Cafe, built into the mountain...

Afterward, Marcelo takes us down the Southern Beaches of Barra and beyond.  We've seen Barra already, so it's mostly to drive.  Down past Barra, we drive past Sao Conrado Beach, then Barra de Tijuca beach, where there are dozens of Surfers filling the water.  It is strikingly beautiful, and staggeringly hard to park.  After a couple minutes, Marcelo takes us even further - up to a restaurant called Restaurante Point de Grumari, overlooking the Military Reservation, which is a vast area of unspoiled wetlands, mountains, and perhaps the most beautiful beaches in all of Rio de Janeiro - those along Baia de Sepetiba - off limits to all civilians.

Restaurante Point du Grumari
Traditional Brazilian - Empanadas and Capirinhas!

It's a lovely setting with outdoor seating, and views sweeping over the wilds south of Rio and live jazz playing throughout our meal.  We sample several items on the menu - one fish dish was too bony without much taste, but another was excellent.  We also try some shrimp filled shells which are excellent.  After lunch, I had planned to go hang gliding, but when Marcelo called the hang gliding people, they said the winds were too strong that day - that it wasn't safe.  Oh well, another time. We head back to Ipanema to pack up our things, as this is to be our last day in Rio de Janeiro.


After packing up and a tearful farewell, we're taken to the airport by Rio Apartments for the 11:15PM flight, where we board the American Airlines jet to Miami.  After Miami we'll fly to Seattle and then back to Portland - all told 13 airports on our trip.  Brazil - what a wonderful place.  We can't wait to go back and explore more.

End of our Brazil Travelogue.
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