Day 388 – March 25th, 2015. Cruise Day 4 – MSC Magnifica in Rio, Brazil.
We woke up with the alarm this morning at 7.15 am and by 8.15 we were having breakfast at the buffet. It was not as hectic as the first day but still busy. The options were again very poor and we made do with some cereal and fruits, a cup of tea, which was really all I was keen on after my bug most of yesterday. A couple we spoke to, also commented on how disappointed they were with the food…
Toughen up princess
I wasn’t feeling my best, but had a look in the mirror and told myself to ‘toughen up princess’ and make the most of this opportunity, you never know if it will come again… And so I did just that.
Back in the cabin we watched from our balcony as we approached Rio.
A spray of water suddenly dropped down, my first reaction was that it was spitting with rain, but then it stopped and moments later came again… No, it was not rain, but rather they were cleaning the balconies with a hose.
How crazy is this, we are arriving in Rio, one of the most fabulous cities in the world and most people with balconies will be taking in the view.
A few reactions from neighbouring cabins echoed as they also copped a dowsing as the cleaners above moved along, not happy Jan!!
It was a little cloudy and the famous Christ the Redeemer statue was not visible, but the Sugarloaf mountain with cable car was.
MSC Magnifica manoeuvred alongside the dock in Rio.
The bottom photo shows where we docked alongside the port, and the other photo shows the construction of the new cruise terminal in Rio.
As we left our cabin, outside were two of the cleaners with a hose just about to start on our level, they were just following the schedule.
We made our way to the theatre in preparation for our tour where we were ticketed to group number 9 and were some of the first ones called to disembark at 10.30am, happy days.
Bus number 9 was waiting for us and after all the number nines were on we left the dock and made our way through the city towards our first stop, the Sugarloaf mountain.
Moni had purchased the Gran Tour Corcovado & Sugar Loaf (BRRIO06) @ $169.00 USD $211.00 AUD each on our second day onboard as she walked by the tour desk. It was very busy and eventually this tour sold out so kudos to my babe for organising this. We don’t usually do the ships tours as we like to see things at our own pace, plus they are expensive, let’s hope it’s worth it.
The Gran Tour Corcovado & Sugar Loaf
After a 30 minute drive we arrived at the base of Sugar loaf Mountain, well not quite the base of Sugarloaf, but from where you take the first of two cable cars which gets you to the top of Sugar loaf. Our tour included these tickets, but the price would be R$62 Real or $26 AUD as at writing 2015.
Sugarloaf Mountain (Portuguese: Pão de Açúcar) is a peak situated in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 meters (1,299 ft) above the harbor, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar. It is known worldwide for its cableway and panoramic views of the city. Info was taken from Wikipedia.
The cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf
From the base station at the bottom of the Babilônia hill we took the cable car to the first hill called Morro da Urca where you have to get out before heading on up to the top hill called Pão de Açúcar. Some nice views are here as well as a cafe and the standard souvenir shop, also toilets.
With this being a very popular tourist attraction we had to wait a while to get the cable car up and down. This is to be expected and the tour details clearly states this in the program, even though we still enjoyed nearly an hour here.
Basically it’s a rock with a view, but a really good view over Rio. It got its name from the Portuguese back in the 16th century during the time when sugar cane was popular in Brazil. Apparently the sugar was stacked in blocks that resembled the peak and so the name was born.
The distance between the two hills is 1400-meters and the cable cars run every 20 minutes each carrying 65 passengers.
It looks a little like El Peñol, Guatape, Colombia, don’t you think?
Did you know that this mountain and cable car in particular was used in the 1979 James Bond movie ‘Moonraker’ for the scene with Jaws fighting on the cable car and the crash into the station as it comes down.
View towards the Christ statue in Rio
In this photo you can clearly see the most famous icon from Brazil, the statue of Christ perched high on the hill in Tijuca National park overlooking Rio.
Rio is a very widespread city, with mountains dividing the areas, and many bays with fantastic beaches. It looks a really interesting and wonderful city, one that deserves more than a day’s visit.
The same photo just with us in it…
One of the views from the top platform on Sugarloaf Mountain.
I know that some of the photos look similar, but each one captures just that little bit more…
After spending around an hour on Sugarloaf Mountain we made our way down, this took a while as the queues for the cable car were backing up a bit.
Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer statue
The next visit of the day was Corcovado and the most famous icon of Brazil, that being the statue of Christ that is perched high on the mountain at Tijuca Forest National Park and overlooks Rio with open arms. Millions of people flock to see this each year and there is only one way up and down…
Christ the Redeemer (Portuguese: Cristo Redentor), is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with the French engineer Albert Caquot. It is 30 metres (98 ft) tall, not including its 8-metre (26 ft) pedestal, and its arms stretch 28 metres (92 ft) wide.The statue weighs 635 metric tons (625 long, 700 short tons), and is located at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain overlooking the city of Rio. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, and was constructed between 1922 and 1931. Info was taken from Wikipedia.
The bus picked us up and drove across town under the city and out the other side avoiding all the city traffic, about 20 minutes later we stopped on the side of the road to get off, whilst holding up all the traffic, not sure how the locals like it, but it seemed all very placid. From here, crossing the road we walked up to the cultural center where you get the train which takes you to the top of the mountain. Tickets cost R$62 Real or $26 AUD, ours was included in the tour.
The train only has two carriages and they get booked out quickly, especially when cruise ships are in. Our tour had the 2.00pm train booked and the next available one was at 4pm for those without tickets. Each train which is made in Switzerland can accomadate 180 passengers and they run every 20 minutes for the 20 minute journey between 8.30 & 18.30 that’s a maximum of 5,400 passengers each day.
I found this video on Youtube by Oskar Sjostedt which shows this whole area.
Note; if you are going to visit the statue of Christ the Redeemer on your own make sure to book a ticket in advance and plan your day or you may miss out and have to wait. Check to see if any cruise ships are visiting as well as the majority of 3000 passengers will be visiting this attraction.
We had a group of young school kids on our train that were very rowdy and kept us entertained as the train crawled its way slowly up the mountain. You get a glimpse of the statue as the train gets closer from the left hand side, and you also want to sit on the left going back down.
At the top we had a short walk to where you can take a lift to the statue which is even further up and not yet visible. There was a line of people waiting for the lift as it only takes about 10 at a time. You could walk up the steps if you wish. By the way, the queue to get the train back down was long already and for this one you don’t have a booking!!
The first glimpse of Christ the Redeemer statue
Once you exit the lift there is an escalator which takes you to the very top and the statue, which now you can see from behind.
Okay, we made it. Along with hundreds of others all trying to get that perfect photo, some people were laying on the ground looking up through the camera lens hoping for the best shots.
We took a few photos from many angles and of course tried our best to imitate the image…
Some great sun rays in a couple of pictures adds a special effect. The weather just got better as the day went on, no sign of the cloud cover that we had first thing this morning.
The views around and over the city are awesome…
There is a cafe up here which we didn’t visit but it was busy.
Just look how vast this place is with all the islands as well.
This one is just a bit closer, very populated indeed.
Our tour allowed us plenty of time to spend up at the statue before we had to meet down at the train so that we could all be sure to get on the same one. The line was still the same length and you wait a while before actually reaching the covered area with a few seats before the next train arrives. Not so ideal for some of the elderly tourists, even I was felling it today due to that 24 bug that hit me yesterday.
They do run regularly but like I mentioned they each have two carriages and only three trains run on the line with a passing point about half way.
World famous Ipanema & Copacabana beaches
Back down at the bottom of the mountain we walked to a place where the bus could stop and pick us up without upsetting the traffic, there is a small car park there. A couple decided to take a taxi back to the ship as it was all too much for them by now. Our last visit for today are two of Rio’s most famous beaches Ipanema & Copacabana.
A balmy 27 degrees at gone 5pm with the sun setting throwing long shadows over the sand. We drive past Ipanema beach as traffic is very thick and would not leave enough time to see Copacabana beach. Notice the pattern of the pavements by the beach.
Now see the difference in design, apparently very specific for these beach areas. We stopped almost at the very end of Copacabana beach and spent 20 minutes here, just time for us to touch the sand and water.
It was warm and the glow over the beach made for a great end to the tour. The old image of the dangerous Copacabana has been cleaned up and made very tourist friendly. Looks like we will have to plan a longer visit to Rio and Brazil for sure…
Back at the ship
The bus took nearly an hour to return to the ship due to lots of traffic and we were about 30 minutes over schedule, not to say that was a problem as we still had plenty of time before departure.
By the time we arrived at the ship it was dark and the lights of Rio lit up the sky.
After returning to the ship we showered and went for dinner in the restaurant. Marlon our waiter was once again excellent and with all his table busy kept up very well, like a well oiled machine. We enjoyed a Chianti with our meals and plenty of water. The cheers package is turning out to be great value indeed.
Fanned out prosciutto – and Cantaloupe melon. (J&M)
Cream of chicken soup – with rosemary croutons. (J)
Pasta & Risotto
Risotto al provolone affumicato – with smoked provolone cheese and basil. (J&M)
Beef strips, sautéed in mushroom sauce – with onions and sweet paprika, accompanied by Spåtzle sautéed in butter and steamed broccoli (J&M)
Panna cotta – with berry coulis (J)
Picture sequence from top left to bottom right.
On the way back to the cabin we meet our new steward only briefly, and she said she will talk with us soon.
What a great day in Rio, even though we only had 8 hours here we did see a few of the major sites, but we have the feeling that it has so much more to tell and so it is a city that we must visit again.