Here it is! The big day had finally arrived! We were finally going to realise Bens’ dream of visiting Christ the Redeemer, something he’d wanted to do his whole life.
After a short walk along Copacabana beach, we booked our tickets and grabbed a fresh coconut (and beer for Ben) whilst waiting for the transfer to the big man himself.
The journey up to Christ was an experience to say the least; the driver throwing the mini van packed with 20 or so tourists around hairpin bends at break neck speeds. On top of that, the side door flew open whilst he overtook a lorry on a blind bend!! By the grace of God and with us all hanging on for dear life, we eventually made it to the top of the mountain, ready for our trek.
The bus dropped us at a tourist centre where you can buy some souvenirs or just take in the surroundings. The view from this point was already incredible; lush jungle, stunning beaches and all surrounded by imposing mountains in the distance.
A quick drink was needed to steady our nerves after a very frightening bus journey, but we grabbed our bags and headed towards the start of the jungle. We had read a lot of horror stories online of tourists being robbed at gunpoint over the past few weeks, so we were rather nervous about the hike.
But determined not to let the actions of a few idiots ruin our experience, we headed off. The trail was very slim and you could only walk one person at a time, although our fears were put to rest when we passed loads of other tourists on their way back from the mountain who insisted that the trek was safe.
The jungle was so thick and dense and monkeys swung from the trees around us. The temperature had risen to around 35 degrees and we were absolutly dripping with sweat!
Despite this, we gave a 110 percent and conquered the steep 2.5 km trek up to Christ, stopping along the way for some pictures of course! Some of the viewpoints were breathtaking, making our efforts worthwhile.
Upon reaching the top, we were completely overwhelmed with the sheer size of the statue. It lived up to all expectations and we were completely blessed to be in the middle of such an amazing experience. You get a full 360 degree view of Rio City which is noting short of incredible. This really was a dream come true for Ben and he took every minute in. Here’s a selection of the photos we took with the Big Guy.
Feeling on top of the world, we posed alongside the 1000s of other tourists for the obligatory “statue pose”.
Unfortunately, a member of the public hadn’t been as lucky as us on the way up the mountain and had actually slipped and fell from the tiny track. Search and rescue helicopters were out in full force, trying to help the injured person back down the mountain. So being extremely cautious, we started the descent back down the mountain.
We decided to take the same route as before and headed back towards the jungle. This was certainly a better idea than walking head on into the hundreds of busses driving at 60 mph around tiny bends! We cut away from the main road and began the 30 minute hike downhill through the jungle and towards the tourist centre.
The way down was much quieter than the way up and we hardly saw another tourist. We turned a corner on the trail, only to be greeted by two men in football shirts, armed with pistols and a machine gun! Our hearts in our throats we carried on past the two men…. and were relieved to see two Police badges on their chests! The guys were actually patrolling the trail to keep the tourists safe, assuring but very scary none the less!!
The taxi ride back down the mountain was just as terrible as the way up, but we surprisingly made it back to Copacabana in one piece.
We decided to take a walk to the beach front and treat ourselves to a nice meal.
We stumbled across “Carretao,” an authentic, Brazilian Churrascaria restaurant that served all you can eat meat! Perfect after a long day of hiking!
You are given a paddle with green on one side and red on the other. When on green, the waiters continually visit your table with a selection of meats on large swords.
Roasted lamb, rump steak, fillet, gammon, chicken… it was all there!! On top of this sushi, salad, sauces and dessert were all included at a fixed price of BR $89 … an absolute bargain considering that between us we devoured an entire farmyard!!
It has to be said that the waiters saved the best till last and the pièce de résistance was a huge chunk of rump steak that had cheese stuffed into it. Hannahs eyes lit up as the waiter gave her the large carving sword, allowing her to slice off thin bits of steak, oozing with melted cheese.
Our belly’s full, we headed back home for a well deserved food coma.
A truly unforgettable day ❤️