One and a half days, really. We docked yesterday morning, spent the night in port, and left a bit after 1:00 this afternoon. And one and a half days was nowhere near enough time to do this vibrant city justice.
Yesterday we took a walking tour of the highlights of this city, home to “nearly seven million” people, according to our guide. Originally settled by the Portuguese, Rio was the second capital of Brazil, from 1763 until 1960, when the capital was moved inland to Brasilia. The city overlooks Guanabara Bay, which offers 45 miles of beaches. It’s not unusual to see modern skyscrapers adjacent to historical buildings.
The central square contains city hall, the Bibliotheca Nacional (national library), the fine arts museum, and the French-influenced Municipal Theatre.
(Click on any photo to see a larger version.)
The plaza displays geometric mosaic designs created from tiles originally brought as ballast in ships from Portugal.
Today we ascended Sugarloaf Mountain, a conic mountain that resembles the way sugar was stored in colonial times. The trip up the mountain requires two different cable cars.
The top offers beautiful views of Guanabara Bay as well as Copacabana Beach, three miles of sand along the Atlantic side of the peninsula.
A hungry iguana joined us at the top of Sugarloaf:
On our way back to the ship we drove by the beach but weren’t able to get any decent pictures. The beach was amazingly crowded, with umbrellas and chairs about 10 deep along the water. The temperature was about 97 F, so there were paths from the beach up to the sidewalk along the street sprayed with water so beachgoers wouldn’t burn their feet. The sidewalks along the beach feature mosaics similar to those in the central plaza.
We didn’t get to visit one of Rio’s most iconic sites, the statue Christ the Redeemer that overlooks Guanabara Bay from atop Corcovado Mountain. When we first arrived in Rio, we stood on our verandah and could just see the statue far in the distance.
We had hoped to get a better view on our second-day trip up Sugarloaf Mountain, but the top of Corcovado was shrouded with fog:
After we reached the bottom of Sugarloaf, the fog had lifted enough for us to catch another fleeting glimpse.
Now we have two sea days to rest up for our next adventure.
© 2019 by Mary Daniels Brown