on July 8, 2006
If you've seen the Simpsons episode where Bart and family go to Rio, you might remember a scene where they look up at a huge statue of Christ and Homer says, "It looks like he's on the dashboard of the whole world..." He's talking about the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue, a 98 feet bohemoth situated at the top of Corcovado mountain, which is one of the most recognized images from Rio.When we drove from the international airport to our apartment, you could see the statue prominently overlooking the entire city. It really is quite a sight, and also a constant reminder that you are indeed in a country of Catholics. As you could probably tell from the title of this journal that neither of us prescribe to the religion this statue honors, we still made a point to see it for two reasons: a) its location offers some of the best views of the city, and b) the sheer size of the statue is something that you need to see up close in person; the postcards never do it justice.To get there, take a cab or bus to the base of Corcovado Mountain. Once there, you will have two options for seeing the statue: the Corcovado Railroad or hire a taxi driver. The railroad takes you through the Tijuca Forest and then to the statue, and costs R$30 per person. We opted for the taxi option, where a driver takes you to Santa Teresa and to the statue and waits for you at each stop. I highly recommend seeing Santa Teresa because while there you can take some of the best photos of the whole city. I stood at the top and took 5 photos spanning 180 degrees and then stitched them together to make a beautiful panorama that beats any postcard you can buy (see the attached pano photo). The taxi option is also cheaper (R$20/person) and you will not have to wait like you do with the train. The bonus during our trip was that the driver put on some really funky Brazilian music on the radio on the way up (the song was called "Boladona" and it was one of the hottest songs in the clubs in Brazil that summer).
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