One of our lecturers made a commentary on our sail in to the Rio de Janeiro harbor. The two iconic sites are the Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain. We all piled out on the deck to take a look. Later that evening we had a samba show on board; quite energetic and entertaining.
During our one day on shore Roger and I did a highlights of Rio tour. We left before 8 and were out all day. The weather was a bit overcast, and we did have a bit of rain at Sugarloaf, but we were still able to see the views from both locations. Our guide was knowledgeable and we had a great time.
Our tour started with a bus trip to the train staton where we caught the special train up to the statue. While we were waiting we visited the church across the street, modern and quite lovely. The stained glass windows celebrated the natural beauty of Brazil. The train ride up and back follows a single track; sometimes the train goes onto a pullout to allow the other cars to pass. The track is quite steep and curvy. The statue itself was built in the era 1922-1931. It is always crowded, but well worth the effort of a visit.
We stopped for lunch at a Brazilian steakhouse called Fogo de Chao; it looks like there is one in Arizona in Scottsdale. Lots of locals were in this one; there is a great salad bar, then waiters come around with long skewers of meat: ribs, chicken hearts, chicken, sirloin, lamb, sausage and ribs. Each guest has a coaster, red on one side, green on the other signaling stop or go for more meat.
After lunch we made our way to the cable car that whisked us up to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain; we were able to see the Christ the Redeemer statue on the other side of town. Although we had rain and clouds, we could still see the views and the statue. We made it back to the ship right on time, but another group on a different tour was delayed in traffic so we were a bit later than expected leaving port.
We have had a lot of opportunity for learning; our historians have covered a lot of ground in telling us about the history of the Amazon, Fordlandia where Henry Ford tried to grow his own rubber, life for the indigenous people, the role of the Monroe Doctrine, the role race has played in Brazilian culture, the move of the Portuguese court to Brazil to escape Napoleon, the dependence on commodities, sugar, diamonds and gold, coffee, current politics and economics, Uruguay's call for immigration from Italy and Spain, and the impact of Juan and Eva Peron. Our ornithologist not only alerted us to birds, but he also spoke about Darwin and his journey on the Beagle.
One of our historians was actually a navy man who also served with the state department. He always points out that he no longer works for the government, will reveal no secrets, and the opinions expressed are his own. Another had a career at the University of Florida; another is from Montreal. One who lives in Costa Rica now has had quite the adventures, traveling in his youth with Anthony Bourdain. Our ornithologist is British. We have had great variety and a lot of interesting material. Roger and I have been fascinated and haven't missed a session.
We have had lovely nondenominational worship services, great musicians, and tea on the pool deck. Walking on the deck in the early mornings has been one of my favorite activities; other than mornings when we had early off ship activities, I think I just missed one day because of high winds and seas. Overall we have been lucky with the weather. Even with a bit of rain, yesterday was great fun.
This ship will continue around the tip of South America and go to LA; some of the travelers are on for the whole duration, from London to London. We were not sure how we would manage 26 days since this is our first ocean cruise, but it has been a great pleasure. I think both of us think we would have no problem sailing with Viking again.