Day 4 – Goooooooooooolllllllllll!

The advice we were given about Rio was that if you wake up and its a good day, get up to see Cristo the Redeemer first thing as it is regularly to be seen (or more importantly not) with its head in the clouds.

So another sunny day and we head off.  Getting there is not a fantastically easy experience considering its one of, if not the, tourist attraction in the city.  Basically there a large fleet of mini-buses that shuttle you up to the top of the hill (there is a train as well, but that is not straight forward and doesn’t take you right to the top, so you still need to get a bus or a long walk).  These are busy and there are long queues to get on, get off etc etc.

However we were lucky and it was sunny and mostly cloud free (though some clouds were present at times) and the view of the statue and of the surrounding city are spectacular.  Anyone visiting Rio has to visit this place if the weather is OK.  On the way up and down in the minibuses we passed a fair few cyclists who we give massive respect to – that is one hell of a climb (might be worth checking Strava to see the stats at some point).

Post Cristo we had a wonderful lunch at the cafe that is part of the place we had dinner the previous day – sadly the service we experienced was not a one-off but they did make an awesome caipriniha and a sandwich with sun dried tomatoes and pork loin that was as stagy as it was challenging to eat (tomato juice everywhere).

A chilled out afternoon on the hotel terrace doing some admin (blog, camera etc) before an exciting evening ahead – a traditional Brazilian BBQ restaurant (superb – though I must have eaten an entire cow) and a football match at the Maracana.

As it was the second game in the week, and far less important than the big cup game, it was not a massive attendance but the fans that were there created a wonderful atmosphere – the samba band played for the full 90 minutes and all areas of the stadium join in the singing and chanting.  However as good as the stadium and atmosphere were, the quality of the football was not fantastic.

Compared to the UK the game is played at a pedestrian pace despite the late KO to avoid the heat (21:00), and whilst there were moments of flair and skill rarely seen at Boundary Park, overall the quality of the game was poor.  In particular the defending was awful – it was almost park football.  This is Brazil’s top flight, and Flamengo their biggest team….if they have any hope in the World Cup I hope most / all their squad play abroad.  The game finished 1-1 and we saw a red card so plenty of incident to enjoy.

Amazing first few glimpses of Cristo

A special Cristo flash jump!

At around 700m the weather changes in seconds

Rew enjoying very fresh coconut water

Wandering around the markets

Beautifully presented fruit and veg

The Maracana – just before the Gois v Flamengo game

Extraordinary stadium – inside the Maracana

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