Christ, this was harder than it should have been! Guess what: Jesus is a popular dude. Ah. Who would have known.
Climbing the morro do Corcovado and see the Cristo Redentor—and mostly, like him, overlooking Rio de Janeiro—was on our list of sights to check out. We went there once in 2002 but I sinned so much since then (having a kid and not being a virgin, among other stuff) that it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get close to Jesus, like at his feet, and redeem myself.
Plus, Mark had been doing the “Jesus on the mountain”, with the arms extended, since he spotted the statue on the first day in Rio.
Problem is, to get to the statue, you have to take the Trem do Corcovado, a 3.8 km trip that takes about twenty minutes. Capacity is limited, though, and given the popularity of the new New Seven Wonders of the World, we expected a lineup.
On the first, we walked from Largo do Machado, the subway station, to Cosme Velho, the train station. When we arrived, we learned that there was a two-hour wait for the earliest train we could take. There isn’t much to do in the area, Laranjeiras is a busy street, not the best place to hang out. We did learn we could buy train tickets at designated spots in Rio, so we figured we’d just do that.
The following day, we stopped by the Quiosque RIOTUR on Copacabana. After providing our names and passport numbers, picking a time and asking for two tickets, we were told that payment was by credit or debit card only. Since we don’t walk around with credit card, we cancelled the purchase.
Eventually, we bought the tickets online, a lengthy and complicated process, then printed out the receipt and brought it along with passports and the credit card used for the purchase.
All that for tickets that cost $40.
So, on our last full day in Rio, we showed up early at the station, boarded the red Trem do Corcovado and climbed uphill, through the forest. “This would have been Central America, we would have hiked the damn mountain,” I said. “Yep. And there would have been guys with machetes working in the woods and a chicken bus picking them up and dropping them off.”
We reached the top, queued to get off the train, then queued to climb the stairs, then queued to get onto the escalator, then tried to not step over people lying on the ground to get a good shot of the statue.
You got it, it was crowded. Overcrowded.
Mark was cranky, we were sweaty and there was no room up there.
“Too many people!”
I wasn’t inspired to take pictures, I had already fallen into a gloomy pre-departure mood.
Even though the Cristo Redentor is a more famous and more popular sight, I like the Pão de Açúcar best.