A tour of Rio

Although our Portuguese was coming on in leaps and bounds, we have learnt thank you, please and hello (we think?!) we decided that it might be easiest to take a guided tour of the city, especially as Rio is actually very spread out along the coastline and up into the hills.
Our tour was fantastic, along with us were a family from Salvador (Brazil) a couple from Angola and a family from Chile!!! So the guide had his work cut out but did extremely well in all the different languages. He did confide in us that the Chilian family were going to be trouble! I think it might have had a lot to do with the fact that Chile had just beaten Brazil the day before at football!!!
The sights were amazing, starting off with Christ the Redemer standing at 38m high with an arm span of 28m, he was pretty impressive. We were told that it was fairly quiet at the top and that during the busy periods it could take up to almost 8 hours to see it!!! Thank goodness we were up and down in a couple of hours.

  
The vaguely amusing thing about the sight was everyone trying to get the shot in front with their arms spread out!! Not only that but the photographer was having to lie on the ground to get the angle so no one else was in the shot!!! So you would maneuver towards what you thought was a space only to find someone on their back on the floor!!
The views from the top though were absolutely spectacular and Rio has to be up in the top 5 most beautiful cities in the world. The combination of the beaches, the high rises, the mountains and the favalas all spread around the bay all make for a wonderful vista!  The photo below shows the view all the way down to Sugarloaf.

Copacobana beach is on the top right and Botofogo is the bay just underneath Sugarloaf.  
Below is a view showing just how big the mountains surrounding Rio are and how high up the Statue actually is.  
The Metropolitan Cathedral of San Sebastián is the main cathedral of Rio and stands in the centre of the city looking not unlike a dalek.  Inside the conical building the whole seating are is arranged in a circular manner around a centrally placed pulpit and the whole building is remarkably cool and well ventilated.   
  
Above is just one of the four huge stained glass windows in the cathedral.

 
Above is where the carnival procession happens and the stadium is unused for all but two days of the year. Probably would have been a more exciting sight to see when there was actually a carnival on.

   
Above is the view going up the cable car to the top of Sugarloaf. And below the view from the top, across the bay towards Icari.

 
Below is Copacobana beach stretching into Ipanema, just everywhere you look the city looks stupendous and we were certainly lucky with the weather.

  
The tour on a whole was great, and included lunch which we were unsure what to expect.  We arrived at quite a nice looking restaurant where we were told to help ourselves to the buffet.  It was great and we dutifully started taking advantage and piled our plates high!!!  Little did we know that this was only the beginning and out came the waiters with their skewers of meat.  It was delicious as just about every variety of meat you could imagine was brought to our table so well cooked and so very tasty.  Next time we decided a lettuce leaf would do to accompany the meal.  So lucky to have managed to enjoy our Brazilian BBQ on day one! T

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