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Sky high in Rio

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My head has been in the clouds this week as I continued to see why Rio de Janeiro is labelled as the marvellous city.

Over the past seven days I have been lucky enough to go up Sugar Loaf Mountain and Corcovado (Christ Redeemer) and climb to Rio’s second highest peak.

All three landmarks were fantastic with each giving me a different view of the city.

views9Christ the Redeemer was by far the busiest of all them with hundreds of tourists cramming themselves on the platform to take photos of the statue.

Despite the cramped and packed conditions I was in awe of this piece of architecture.  To build such a thing on top of a rock amazed me and I could see why it is one of the wonders of the world.

The views of the lagoon and the iconic Maracana stadium were stunning and it was the first time I had seen Rio from ‘the sky’.views1

A few days later I was riding high again, this time to Sugar Loaf. The mountain is shaped a bit like the end of a rugby ball and according to those who had already visited the mountain has fantastic views over Rio’s Copacabana beach.

After getting the two cable cars up to the top, spotting a monkey or two and seeing the spot were the James Bond movie Moonraker was filmed, we made our way to the viewing point.

Unlike Corcovado there was a lot more space to move around and you certainly had a bit more time to appreciate the sights.

views7Again, I was blessed with clear blue skies which meant I could see for miles. Again I was not disappointed.

Two things stood out. Firstly, just how big Copacabana beach is. The 6km sands curve round one of the city’s most densely populated areas and from a height, it just looks fantastic.

Second thing to catch my eye was just how weird Rio is geographically. Never before have I seen a city with so many high rise buildings which are then separated by large forest covered mountains. It just looks surreal.

So the question was could anything better these two iconic Rio landmarks?

The answer was yes.

At the end of last week we went on a trek through the Tijuca forest (which covers Rio de Janeiro) and climbed to the second highest peak in Rio. Higher than Corcovado and Sugar Loaf.

It was probably the toughest hike I have ever had to do but to be rewarded with such beautiful views made all the clambering over rocks and through forest worth it. views5

views2We also saw a python resting in a tree. Thankfully it looked as though it had just eaten.

Perhaps what added to the trek was learning more about the history of the city, how the forest had once been chopped down in the 19th century to grow coffee but then replanted at the order of Emperor. More than 80,000 trees planted in 13 years.

Hopefully that gives you an idea of the scale of this forest.

I don’t think I can pick a favourite view or landmark. All three were special. All three presented me with amazing views. And all three show Rio de Janeiro is truly the ‘marvellous city’. 

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