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Archives for October 2014

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Carnival

With Halloween being 2 days away, I find it appropriate to do a post on Carnival. Carnival is known world-wide and takes place before Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent), specifically the Friday until Tuesday. The timing is the same as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday; sound familiar?), but taken to the next level. It is a festival and parade complete with floats, samba music, elaborate costumes, and full of culture. It’s such a production that there is an alleyway (for lack of a better term), called a sambadrome, specifically for Carnival where attendees can purchase tickets and take part of the parade in the stands. However, these can get pricy, so a lot of people line the streets of where the parade line follows to get a glimpse that way instead.

Our tour group made a stop at the Sambadrome and there was a storefront designated for tourists like us to put on the costumes (for a fee) and dance to the samba music. Notice the stands behind the people wearing the costumes? Those are prime seats during Carnival. carnival_rio_dejaneiro_brazil_day_with_kaye   The costumes were very vibrant, and some of the headpieces were quite heavy. I could only imagine how those participating in the parade must feel as they’re dancing through the streets for who knows how long!   Happy travels friends!

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Christ the Redeemer

You may be familiar with the Christ the Redeemer from images or videos you may have seen… particularly the people who base-jump off the arm of the statue. If not, search it on YouTube. Christ the Redeemer is part of the list of the New 7 Wonders of the World (deemed in 2007). There are other lists of other wonders of the world including: underwater, industrial and natural wonders. Other wonders that made the cut of the New 7 Wonders are:

  • Colosseum – Italy
  • Chichen Itza – Mexico
  • Great Wall of China – China
  • Machu Picchu – Peru
  • Petra – Jordan
  • Taj Mahal – India

Initially, a monument was to be erected with the intention to honor a princess of Brazil in the 1850’s, which was never approved. Then, in the 1920’s, the archdiocese of Rio had the idea to build a statue of Christ on top of Corcovado Mountain, so it could be seen from anywhere in Rio. Though, it is rather difficult to see the statue on a cloudy day, which is what we encountered on our drive up when we decided to go see it.

bus_drive_corcovado_mountain_rio_di_janeiro_brazil_day_with_kaye When you’re standing at the foot of the statue, aside from the clouds, it does seem like you can see it from anywhere. corcovado_mountain_video_rio_di_janeiro_brazil_day_with_kaye

The statue stands 30 meters (98 ft) tall. If you do the math and include the base of 8 meters (26 ft.), the statue is a total of 38 meters (124 ft) high. It is built out of soapstone, material found only in that area, and was completed and dedicated in the 1931. In the gift shop by where the buses drop you off and pick you up, they had miniature statues made out of soapstone. They’re apparently the only place you can find it with that type of material.

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The width of the outstretched arms nearly match the height at 28 meters (92 ft).      

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There is no worry about needing to walk a lot. There is a bus that takes you to the statue. From there, there are elevators and escalators that bring you to the base of the statue. There are also stairs to take as well if you are so inclined. From there, if you go on a cloudy day, it’s a patience game to wait for the statue to appear into clear view from the clouds.

Amid the tourists, there was a prayer service happening at the base of the statue. People were singing praise songs, praying the rosary, and even praying with other people. Language didn’t seem to be a barrier at all. I heard Portuguese, Spanish, French and German. It was a clash of cultures all uniting in one space. That was really cool.

jumping_christ_the_redeemer_rio_di_janeiro_brazil_day_with_kaye christ_the_redeemer_crowd_rio_di_janeiro_brazil_day_with_kaye

 It’s moments like these that I feel blessed to be able to travel. Happy travels friends.