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  • Day75

    Sugar Loaf Mountain and Sambadro

    February 11, 2016 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F

    We wake up early, as it is still Carnival we want to tray and hit the tourist spots early so that we can try and avoid the queues as much as possible . We are really trying to do everything ourselves and catching tube and buses is pretty easy here. WE arrive at Sugar loaf and even from the bottom its breathtaking. I am a little dissapointed as today is one of the first cloudy days and concerned we won't be able to see the views, but we have all day so lets see.
    We join the orderly queue(or as orderly as it can be in Brazil) and before too long were heading up to the first peak in the cable car. I suggest to Mark that maybe we should head straight up to the second peak and then work i way down. Yet again another great idea(even if i say so myself), the second peak is still quite busy and there are quite a few cruise liners in, shipping people in groups of 30's to all the popular attractions.
    The view from the top is truly amazing and as you circle the mountain you get a full 360 degree view of Rio De Janeiro there are quite a few trails around the peak so we head away from the crowds and explore a little more . Making the effort to get off the beaten track really pays off as not only do you get away from the crowds , but the views are taken to a whole new level. After a good look around we take the cable car down and opt to take the "green trail" thinking this would just be around the 1st peak but 20 mins into the trek we realise that this is going to be much more . Theyre are people coming in the opposite direction that look like they have just run a marathon (they also look a lot fitter than Mark and I ) and i begin to wonder whether this is a good idea, but nothing ventured nothing gained. We trek all the way down the mountain and when we reach the bottom we're relieved to find an exit road (thank god i havent got to go back up) that leads to a beach. The beach is very small and packed with mostly Brazilians so we grab a beer and people watch.
    In Brazil the current is really strong and the waaves break litterally on the beach. It is a game with the children as the wave approaches they try and out run it screaming and laughing as they go. Peple quite happily sit on the beach with theyre belongings scattered around them , when from nowhere a huge wave hits and the sea is strewn with flip flops and towels , the scene is comical and Mark and I stay for a while longer just to laugh at everyone rescuing theyre bits and pieces.
    Mark and i were advised by Zee to wait till late to purchase our Sambadrome tickets and as we are sitting in the hostel we get chatting to Emma , Lee and Pepe. Pepe is a local guy who used to work in the hostel and still helps out so he tells us he can get us tickets for 80 reals, this is about 1 quid each so we agree , and i feel safer going with him as he knows the ropes. A couple of caipirinhas later and i am more than in the mood to party so we all head over to the sambadrome . It is now nearly midnight and as we get closer to the drome i am glad we have come with Pepe as i wouldnt have had a clue. The Sambadrome must be about 2 miles long and we are in the far end but the atmosphere is truly electric. Along the street all the floats are lined up behind miles of mesh fences , preparing to make the grand entrance.
    We eventually head into the stadium and it really is like nothing ive seen or heard before the colours the noise the atmosphere, and we havent even seen a school yet.The funny thing is ive pessurised Mark into getting dressed up and he makes the effort by putting on a sombrero, but the stadium is that packed hes taking everyones head off with it and eventually gets told to take it off (whoops) Pepe Lee and Emma ar good company and we all share beers etc as the parade begins again. Lots of schools take part in the parade and the prize is equivalent to 1 million reals so everything is up for stakes.
    I really couldnt post pictures, videos or tell you how good this is as just the atmosphere is more than i can describe. I have waited for this moment for 20 odd years and too actually be sat here is my dream come true.
    We leave the arena at 5.30am (i know im a party animal) and i dread to think how many people are trying to leave at the same time , the busses cant even shut theyre doors theyre are that many people trying to get home. As people have finished doing theyre parades they discard theyre costumes in the street , but even i'm too tired to make the effort to bring them home... after all i only have a 35 litre rucksack.
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