From the botanical gardens, we could see Jesus. And that’s a good sign, I suppose. We’re in the rainy season here in Rio, so most days are cloudy and it takes a clear one to look up Corcavado mountain and see Rio’s other iconic view.
We grabbed a cab to take us to the Jesus train, but there was some sort of accident and we ended up inching slowly through the dark muggy tunnel under the statue for more than half an hour. When we finally reached the train station, we were informed that the next available train was in 3 hours. That wasn’t going to work for us so we headed back to the apartment.
The next morning was clear, so we decided to take Red Beard up the mountain. It was a beautiful drive and without traffic. We stopped at the mirante and snapped some photos. There were very few tourists so we were feeling good.
You can’t drive to the top of Corcavado. You must stop half-way, turn your vehicle around on a tight windy road, and park. There was a long, chaotic line for tickets to the big event, which included a minibus ride to the top. After a long wait, we had our tickets in hand and headed to hop on the minibus.
We could see that the buses were coming pretty continuously, but the line to get on one was probably another kilometer back the other direction. We got in and waited. And waited. Luckily, Bode had a book with him (and finished it). It was really starting to get hot, but about an hour and a half later we finally got on a bus and headed up the very steep, windy road to Cristo Redenter.
There, we joined thousands of others taking in the statue. We couldn’t even find a place to stand without getting in someone’s photo. Within 20 minutes we were done and headed back down, a bit disappointed.
Sure, it is summer vacation here, and it was the first clear day in a while. But we’ve been to many tourist attractions and can’t believe how poorly this one is set up for crowds. Next year, the World Cup will be here. In three years, the Olympics. If you’re coming then, I’d suggest skipping it and just taking a peek from Sugar Loaf.