Hello my friends,
There are so many facets to the diamond that is the city of Rio. We are starting today with one of the most beautiful by traveling to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. It’s a bit tough to take a photo because it’s it’s 8am and we are facing directly into the sun. Take it from me…it’s iconic, and amazing.
The name comes from when the sugar trade was big in Brazil. The sugar was placed in conical shaped clay molds before being transported on ships. This mountain shape was similar to those “sugarloaf” shapes, and that’s how this mountain got it’s nickname.
Wherever you seen tall granite mountains, you’re bound to find rock climbers making their way up the face. Between the two mountains that are here, they make up the largest urban climbing area in the world with over 270 routes up the rock.
We are taking the easy way up…much easier!
You might recognize this older version of the cable car. This is the actual one that was used by Roger Moore playing James Bond when he fought with Jaws while the car was dangling out over the cliffs.
It’s a 725′ up to the summit with a 360 degree view of Rio. What a breathtaking view with a city that dances in and out, around the base of the mountains, the water weaving softly around the curves of the shoreline. If you look closely, you can see the favelas going up into the hills.
The view is so beautiful; we could have stayed up here all day long. We heard that a very cool thing to do was to watch the New Years Eve fireworks from the top of Sugarloaf. Almost 3 million people are down on Copacabana beach watch the two mile stretch of barges that shoot off synchronized fireworks. It would be much less crowded from up here and you would be able to see all of Rio from this mountaintop. Can you imagine?!
In the afternoon, we traveled to the bohemian, artsy neighborhood of Lapa. It’s known for its night clubs, bars, and open air samba jams. It is definitely a neighborhood of locals.
Ok, it’s got some cool architecture, but everyone is a little nervous because of the graffiti on all the walls, and the boarded up buildings. But as we walk down the streets, there definitely is some pretty cool street art by the locals.
The hidden gem in this neighborhood is this beautiful tile stairway known as the Selarón Steps by Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. There are 215 steps covered with over 2000 tiles collected from 60 countries around the world. It reminds me a lot of Antony Gaudi. Jorge began by trying to repair a dilapidated sidewalk in front of his own house, and it turned into an obsession that lasted the rest of his life.
It’s almost impossible to get that shot without a lot of people in it…take a look at the crowd waiting to take their selfies!
Two different views of a great city…we can’t wait to see what’s next. It’s always a surprise.