It’s clearly winter…
… outside temperature is around 20 and it’s totally cloudy. Sunbathing has to wait.
Our first stop is a nice bed & breakfast in the Santa Teresa area. According to Lonely Planet Santa Teresa is Rio’s most atmospheric neighborhood. Currently the residence of a whole new generation of artist and bohemians, Santa Teresa is situated on a hill overlooking the city.
The area is reachable with a yellow streetcar that is also useful to take a tour around the Santa Teresa area.
We got a tip from our host to follow the streetcar tracks to get to the city. After a small walk, we really figured out how high up the area really is. It took walking down a really steep hill to reach our first sightseeing point: Escadaria Selaron. Even though it was in our list of things we need to see, we did not expect to find it on the first day. But it was a nice surprise.
There is around 215 steps covered with over 2000 tiles from 120 countries in mosaic-like fashion. A very big tourist attraction.
As the days are quite short here (it gets dark around 17:30) we decided to head back to where we are staying.
Day 2 – 1st full day of exploration
We started the day with a nice breakfast on the balcony of where we’re staying.
And then we were off to travel the same path as the night before, but just a bit further.
On the way we also found some cool metal statues
From the stairs we walked further to what they call the city central. The first attraction we saw was the Carioca Aqueduct – it was built in the 18th century to bring water from the Carioca river down to the people in the city.
Behind the Aqueduct is a strange conical building. When taking a closer look we found that it is the Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro. The sides are made of mosaic glass so it is actually pretty amazing to see from the inside.
Soon after we found the center of the city and plenty of people. There we also discovered that it is possible to take a walking tour in this part of Rio by just following some orange signs. It sounded cool, so we started walking. On the way we saw the national theater and another building that looked important:
And we continued our walk. It took us through many different parts of the city and we also walked past the Sambadrome – the tribunes where people can follow the Samba parade during the Carnaval festival. At the moment it was guarded with security as it is one of the venues for the Olympics.
During our walk we noticed that the cars and people you see the most on those streets are different kinds of police. There is military-, civil-, municipal- and just regular police on almost every street corner and just driving through the streets with blinkers on. We also saw police helicopters flying over our heads, so it kinda feels like being in a war zone. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to know that they seem to have it all under control.
Our final destination of the day was Maracana stadion – it was built for the finals of 1950 football World Championships and also held the final game in the champoinships in 2014. Sadly, as we were travelling without modern map technology or even with a paper map, we got lost before and decided to turn back. (When we finally got internet we found out that we were only 2km from it…damn.)
The way back
felt faster than the way towards the stadium. We walked fast past the streets we walked on before and already have adopted the local way of crossing the streets: just cross whenever possible, no matter the light or sign.
No one has robbed us yet, but we did get scared when a local was trying to make a joke by suddenly pouring ketchup on my shoulder. We were startled for a moment, but it did turn out to be just a prank without the ketchup..joke was on us.
The mosaic stairs and the really steep hill are much better walking down. You still need to work so you don’t just fall down, but still, climbing the stairs and then taking the 250 meter long hill right after makes me wonder that what I have been doing in training for the past year 😀 Looking at the bright side: we’ll get some nice muscles from climbing those every day 😀
All in all today we crossed the 20 km line with our small stroll around the neighborhood 🙂
Here’s some final pictures to lock the day. The view from Santa Teresa.