Blahhh so it’s Monday already. Which I’m sure sucks for a lot of you guys but for me it’s just another day in Rio woohoo! I can’t believe it’s my 5th day here already, I feel like a kid going down a slide; having a great time but it’s going far too quickly and I’ll soon be at the end. But what a negative way of thinking! We’ve still got 3 whole days to explore and that’s all that matters.
Yesterday I completed a huge tick off the bucket list with sunglasses on and camera at the ready like the fully fledged tourist I am, and headed for Christ The Redeemer, also known here as Big Jesus. And holyyyy nuggets it was absolutely incredible. I started the day with some buckwheat (brought from home, gluten free) porridge and banana, guzzled a litre of water, wore my comfy trainers as there’s a fair few steps and we got our Jesus on. The Ubers in Rio are incredibly cheap, coming out at about £3 per journey for the both of you. Although there are buses, it’s quite well known that they can be quite dangerous particularly at night with muggings being a regular occurrence- and although I am usually ‘100% the local way’ if I can be, it just seems an easier, safer option to travel by uber. So we hopped in our Uber and were taken firstly to the tourist train station that takes travellers up the mountain for an extortionate price but were told we could take an uber all the way to the entrance of the gates at the top for half the price so we climbed back in to our faithful car and headed up some steep ol’ roads.
When we arrived at the top the excitement was brewing as we bought our entrance tickets and clambered into a mini bus with a few others that takes us to the feet of the Man himself. By the time we arrived the last of the morning’s clouds were quickly dissipating and that typical gorgeous Rio blue was spilling out above us. The sun was high in the sky, illuminating all the beauty that was awaiting us around the corner! Our legs were still a little sore from the big hike we did to Pico De Tijuca (see previous post) so we practically dragged ourselves up the 220 steps after refusing to take the escalators because Mama didn’t raise no quitter. But all aches and pains were forgotten once we reached the top and we were greeted with open arms (see what I did there?). He was magnificent! With just simple carvings and powerful in his structure, standing at a height of 38m, gazing down upon us all as we all grabbed our piccies around him. And although it was Him we came to see, He was not the only attraction. The view from the platform below was just breathtaking. On one side looking down onto the whole of Rio city, this huge expanse of white coloured tower blocks surrounded by choppy green mountains gave the impression of a huge smile filled with crooked teeth. The other side staring out into the sea, dotted with a few random islands but mostly flawless as it met the cloud of fog that hung loosely above us all- I was one happy gal.
We relaxed and strolled around, took various posy pics in various places. How good is it having a friend who understands the need for a good picture? We were both talking yesterday about how annoying it is when you hand your camera to your pal or your mum and they just take one standard picture and then hand it back. NO! Thats not enough. The angle is wrong, there’s a creepy guy in the background and my hair looks disgusting. Take 50 pls and you’re going to have to get into some compromising positions to get those good angles, come on take it seriously. So after our photoshoot we thought we’d treat ourselves and have lunch with a view at the Restaurante Corcovado, Big Jesus to our left and the view over the ocean to our right. I had an EPIC salad with a glass of Graviola juice (related to the cacao bean but they taste nothing alike) which was refreshing but kind of gross all at once. Meggie had a cheese toastie, a milkshake, and a beasty plate of fries because deep down she’s a twelve year old American kid on her birthday.
After THEE most relaxing afternoon ever and one more look from the stunning viewpoint we headed back down the mountain and drove to a spot that Meggie had been wanting to take me for the past two nights but we hadn’t quite made it. Thirty mins later and we arrived at Feira de São Cristóvão a big stadium like arena filled with bustling hubbub of locals enjoying ‘Forro’ which is a Brazilian style of music and dance. Markets selling all kinds of weird and wonderful goods from jars of chillies that look like they could ruin your life and make it at all once, local delicacies such as Queijo Coalho- which is basically halloumi on a skewer cooked on a hot plate, and other strange wears.
This hidden gem boasts a number of stages, restaurants, mini clubs and a karaoke village. There were two main platforms where the majority of crowds had gathered to listen to pop-star style performers and a few other mini stages dotted around playing more traditional tunes on rustic instruments. In a crowd filled with couples dancing all Brazilian and groovy lookin’ Meggie and I found ourselves dad dancing in typical English fashion with our backpacks on trying to avoid the offering hands from sweaty men who wanted to teach us the true ways of Forro. However Meggie couldn’t resist for too long and got swept away to learn the steps by an older man with surprisingly good rhythm. It was my first true taste of Brazilian culture and I had the best time, dancing and nibbling my way around and grinning like a big goofy traveller. I recommend this place to anyone who has the time on a Fri/Sat/Sun night and who wants to experience a more intimate side of Rio.
Check out my Instagram @charlotravel for the latest snaps of my trip and let me know what your favourite local traditions and foods are in the comment section below, I’d love to hear them!