Thompson Travelers

Travel is a way to be lost…and found…all at the same time

Category: South America (Page 2 of 5)

Oi Rio!!

Taking the train to the top

It’s a 20 minute ride to the top and the anticipation of what we are about to see is just palpable. We are about to visit the most iconic symbol known around the world of Rio. How many postcards, photos, and images have I seen of this view, and every time I see it, I say “I want to go there!” Cameras are poised on the window ledges of the tram, waiting to get that first glimpse of the famous Rio view. Surprisingly, it isn’t the view that you see initially…it’s the absolutely breathtaking statue of Christ the Redeemer that grabs your heart first.

Christ the Redeemer

At 98’ high, and 92’ feet wide from finger tip to finger tip, standing on a 26’ pedestal, weighing in at 700 tons, this beautiful statue stands at the peak of the 2300 feet Corcovado mountain overlooking all of Rio. There was a design contest for the statue, and this Art Deco rendition was chosen because of its simplicity, and elegance. It was created by a French sculptor, built by a Brazilian and a French engineer, with the face sculpted by a Romanian, truly a joint project by many. Construction began in 1922 and took 9 years to build. Listed as one of the 7 new wonders of the world, at the time of its building, it was the largest statue of Jesus in the planet, with Rio being 95% Catholic at the time. Rio is now 65% Roman Catholic.

Christ, the Redeemer

Made of reinforced concrete with soapstone on the outside, it is hollow inside. In spite of its simplicity, there are some important details. Can you see the heart? There are the two small windows under. If your name happens to be Barrack Obama or Mick Jagger, maybe you could get an invite to go inside and look outside those windows to see the most spectacular view of Rio below.

Stigmata markings on the hands

It’s a beautiful symbol for Christianity all over the world and a cultural icon for Rio. You have to get way back to take a photo of the entire statue…it’s waaay big. We are actually lying down on the floor to try to fit the whole statue into our viewfinders.

Ok…now we can address the View!!! Even though it’s a 360° view of Rio in every direction, everybody wants to get out there on the front point, to take a photo of Sugarloaf, the most famous of all the mountains, and unfortunately, it is shrouded in the early morning fog.

Sugarloaf Mountain in the early morning mist

Actually, we are all really happy because it has been raining for the last ten days in Rio, and the view has been nothing but solid white with zero visibility, so yay for a foggy morning! One couple was visiting this site for the third day in a row; they couldn’t see anything the two previous days.

The view all the way around is breathtakingly beautiful. What a gorgeous city. As we made our way around the lookout, the clouds were starting to lift, and the view becoming clearer with the sun’s rising. We were there at 8am, so you can imagine, the crowd gets quite intense as the day goes on.

Sugarloaf Mountain

I can’t wait to see the rest of the city. No, I didn’t take this last shot…I would have to be in a helicopter and that isn’t included in our tour!

Atop Corcovado Mountain overlooking Sugarloaf Mountain and Guanabara Bayu

Iguazú Falls…from the Brazil side

Hello my friends,

It’s another day to explore these mind blowing waterfalls, only this time from the Brazil side.  Yesterday, we were able to walk along the tops of the waterfalls; today, we are looking at them from across the river, and it is definitely a big WOW!

Iguazú Falls from the Brazil Side

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Getting soaked at Iguazú Falls…the Argentinian side

In the world of amazing waterfalls, there’s Victoria Falls in Africa, there’s Niagara Falls  between Ontario and New York, but the largest, and most mind blowing one on planet earth is Iguazú Falls, between Argentina and Brazil.  Named by the indigenous Guarani Native Americans who first lived in this area, in their native language, Iguazu means Big Water, and they weren’t kidding!

La Gargantua del Diablo (The throat of the Devil)

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