01 December 2014

All Rio, All Day

12 January 2014

All of our walking and touring had been leading up to this. On our last full day in South America, we booked a nine-hour walking tour of Rio de Janeiro. It would be more walking, traveling and sightseeing than we had done in any single day during the previous two weeks. In honor of our last night in, we upgraded from the hostel (which, again, was a very good hostel) to a hotel in Copacabana. Our walking tour started in the subway, which was beautiful.

Our tour guide said the bedrock of Rio was so hard, they just built the subway system into it, instead of replacing it. 
Smooth, pretty lines.
The subway stops were all cavernous and decorated. They were clean and felt very modern. I came to Rio expecting a good amount of poverty and crime. Outside of that, I didn't know what to expect. But just like with Argentina, I had to waste time reconciling reality with preconceptions. It's a habit I hope to break, because I won't always have the luxury of time.

We took the train to what looked like a business or financial area. There were parks and tall buildings. But everything was closed. The area seemed as though it had been empty for longer than a day. It was a teeny bit creepy. From there, we took a bus.

The buses in Rio reminded me of the buses in Auckland. Passengers pay cash and the driver gives change from their change bin. The drivers also control the turnstiles, which will or will not allow people to board. The turn stiles are intense. I mean there isn't a lot of room at the front of a bus, so the entrances are narrow. Still, you need a good amount of footing in order to get enough leverage to push the bars.

The bus took us up to Santa Teresa, where we stopped at a railcar museum and learned some of the neighborhood's history.

Santa Teresa was an upper class neighborhood that's now a place for artists. I don't know if they have hispters in Rio, but if they do, they probably live in Santa Teresa. The neighborhood also has a deep appreciation for artists, including graffiti artists. Naturally, Ang was pleased.

Outdoor gyms are not just for the beach...

So us. So cute.

Near where I purchased the canvas that inspired me to repaint my living room.
That's another story,

There was a referendum where voters decided to have the yellow tram reinstated.
But it hasn't happened yet.

Our next stop was Parque das Ruinas, which are the ruins of a mansion belonging to Brazilian heiress Laurinda Santos Lobo. Her property / parties were so legendary, the ruins are enough to draw in a crowd. It may have less to do with her and more to do with the views, but in my mind it's a packaged deal.

The tour guide was not afraid of using The Camera.

Thanks for having us!

Our next stop was to walk down the Escadaria Selarón. This is one of those instances when word fail and pictures explain all that needs to be said. I don't really have that much to say about the steps themselves. They were started as a side project by a Chilean artist. He then worked on them every day until he died. They're beautiful. Like with all art, it's kind of sad as well, as he was often broke and was actually found dead on the steps.

The view going down... 
The view looking up.

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