When we woke up today and looked out the window the weather was perfect. Clear, blue skies and the winds the night before had pushed a lot of the haze of the city away. So we jumped out of bed, had breakfast and made our way to visit the famous Christ Redeemer statue.
The taxi brought us down rather than up, down to the start of the Trem do Corcovado or train of Corcovado, a little red train that brings visitors up the hill through Rio’s lush urban Tijuca forest (the largest urban forest in the world) all the way to the top. This railway is worth the trip itself. It is Brazil’s first electrified railway, inaugurated in 1884 and is older than the Christ monument itself. It is this train system that carried all the pieces of the statue up the hill for the four years it took to erect it. We got the first train going up at 8.30 which meant that we were able to enjoy the statue without the crowds that surely accumulate at the top as the day goes on.
The 130 foot tall statue at the top is stunning. It was actually elected as one of the new 7 wonders of the world a few years back. A guide told us that the statue is covered with thousands of little white mosaics cut by little old ladies across the country. Apparently the woman wrote their name on the back of the different pieces although you can’t see that because they have all been glued in place.
I can’t describe the views, no one can, you have to go see for yourself. It is quite incredible and also helps one to understand how Rio and its neighbourhoods are set out. After spending quite a bit of time near the statue admiring the view, we noticed that there was a coffee shop with tables and chairs where we could continue to admire the view, perhaps with a hot chocolate.
I was expecting nothing from this hot chocolate, as it had everything going against it – busy Tourist spot, top of a mountain, but I was wrong. It was expensive but worth it. The chocolate was simple and tasty. Chocolately but still quite light and easy to drink. Best of all it came in a little white porcelain pot so there was enough for almost 3 cups of hot chocolate!
On our way down the hill a group of musicians playing Samba came to play for us in the train. I don’t even remember what I paid for all of this but it wasn’t much at all, plus it doesn’t matter. I’d do it again.
Verdict: A good hot chocolate, an incredible view, a stunning train ride through the forest and beautiful weather, what are you waiting for. Corcovado www.corcovado.com/br