Friday, 30 January 2015

Day 3 - Sugar Loaf Mountain

Today has been by far my most favourite day. Learning our lesson from being caught in yesterday's midday heat, we got the early bus to Praia Verhelma where the first cable car station to Sugar Loaf Mountain is. This small area of town is really quiet and secluded, possibly because it has a lot of federal and military bases here. It's a world away from the sometimes grimy Rio we have seen from the other side of a bus window and it's refreshing. Following a quick stop half way up the cable car route at Urca Hill we arrived at Sugar Loaf.

WOW is the only way I can describe this iconic spot. The views cast over Botofogo, Copacobana and Guanabara Bay were out of this world. The shores of the beaches you can see are all shimmering in the sunlight and yachts bob gently in the bay with regular planes going by at such a close proximity thanks to the two airports here. For miles around people are sunbathing, swimming, paddle boarding and kayaking which just adds to the serenity of the overall picture. This relaxed spot is all wood and glass giving it a contemporary feel, a million miles away from the crowded scenes at Christ the Redeemer. A large tropical area surrounds one side of the mountain allowing us to follow the trail through the jungle where for a while we followed a rather large lizard who was hazily flicking its tail in our direction as a warning to keep our distance! 

After a quick stop off at Praia Verhelma beach, we caught the bus to Jardim Botanico which is an extensive exotic garden with thousands of different plants and trees from all corners of the globe. It is so tranquil here you would never guess you are in the middle of such a hectic city. After a pleasant stroll around we called for a few Brahma beers at our local (yes we have a local already, we have even managed a conversation further than "hello" with the none english speaking bar staff!) and headed back to the hostel for a nourishing tea of noodles and chicken nuggets... who said backpackers didnt go gourmet?!

 All in all, my favourite day so far :)