Christ the Redeemer

29 Feb

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The 4 of us were up and ready relatively early in an attempt to beat the crowd to go up the Corcovado Mountain to see the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. Not early enough I guess as once we bought our train tickets to go up to the top we had to wait for 2 trains before we could get on one.

At 9:35am we boarded the 9:40am train, J.J. pushing aside members of an older Asian tour group to get a seat on the right-hand side as he’d heard we’d get better photos from there. There are a few stops on the way to the top, one of which was especially long as there was a problem with the track – never a good thing when you’re on an uphill train halfway up a mountain. We arrived safely to the top and despite it being only 10am, it was already scorching hot and hazy.

The statue is pretty amazing, standing at nearly 40 meters high and the span of His arms being close to 30 meters wide. There is also a lighting system that was installed to ensure that Christ the Redeemer can always be seen throughout Rio. Apart from the statue itself, the view of the city below is gorgeous, parts of it looking like something out of a fantasy movie.

We spent over an hour at the top taking photos, marveling at the view and watching the other tourists taking photos of one another in front of the statue assuming the Christ the Redeemer pose themselves.

Before noon we lined up to take the train back down the mountain, Tal and Jonny to see Santa Teresa and J.J. and I to do a little shopping before lunch and a relaxing afternoon of reading (I will finish Shantaram eventually, but there’s been so little time to read!).

We met Tal and Jonny back at our hostel to get ready for dinner. Tal and Jonny had heard about a restaurant nearby called Mesa so we opted to give it a try. The lighting was dim, the feeling was modern but warm and the ceilings were high and in a way it made me think of a classed up and bigger version of Watusi in the Queen and Ossington area of Toronto. The food was tapas style, each couple ordering 3 dishes from different portions of the menu. The food came in bowls and was amazing. Flavours we recognized combined in new and interesting ways. Also, the staff was amazing, with the bartender being the only person working there to speak English she came over to our table to answer any and all questions we had about the menu.

Once we’d finished our meal, the bartender came over to see how we liked everything and asked us if we would mind trying a shot she had concocted, on the house. It sounded pretty gross: vodka, pomegranate liqueur and 3 drops of tabasco, but she had been so nice and a free shot is a free shot. We took the drink as directed: hold it in your mouth for 2 – 3 seconds before swallowing. The verdict: amazing!

We walked the 10 minutes back to our hostel, mostly re-capping every bite of our meal, and went straight to bed as we had a 4:00am wake-up the next day to begin our journey to Ilha Grande, Brazil.

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