Cristo Redentor!

Last month we had our first visitors in Brazil and because they are so important, they not only get a mention but an entire post about our time together. The fact that we visited one of the most expensive and well reviewed restaurant in Rio, and saw a certain famous Jesus Christ on top of a mountain is just a happy coincidence.

Cristo Redentor (aka Christ the Redeemer), as I'm sure you are well aware, is a huge statue of Jesus in his most famous and patented pose, on top of a mountain. We have all seen photos of the iconic image of Rio and to see it up close from different angles and perspectives was exciting. We got the first train of the day like giddy school children and couldn't wait to find Christ. With my Jewdar in cranked up to eleven I managed to capture him as we were ascending towards this mountain idol.

The view from the top was great if slightly spoilt after about 20 minutes by a huge cloud that enveloped us and completely obscured the views. All in all it was a great experience and we all had fun. 

We did have fun and it was a good experience but for me it was the view of Rio that was the most amazing bit, and sadly that was short-lived because of said cloud. When it came to the actual statue, I couldn't help but feel a bit Pilkington about it. For me, the problem with these religious monuments is that once the initial awe and surprise of the size/beauty/decoration/engineering has worn off, that’s it really. For the millions of Catholics that visit Cristo, the spirituality and significance of his presence resonates and has great meaning for them which extends far beyond the initial wow-factor. Objectively I can see how having him on top of the mountain watching over the city would be comforting and important to them, but as an atheist it doesn't add to my enjoyment of the experience. I feel the same about stained glass windows in cathedrals - they are beautiful and I love looking at them but the fact that they depict biblical stories and events adds very little to my enjoyment or appreciation.

Anyway, other than the trip to see Cristo, what else did we do with our visitors? Well, not a great deal as they had already spent some time in central Rio and their time hanging out with us was somewhat limited. But we managed to squeeze in a walk along Ipanema beach and a meal at the aforementioned fancy restaurant, Aprazivel.

Aprazivel sits atop a hill in Rio, in an area called Santa Teresa. It's a pain to get to as the roads are terrible and really steep, but as you can imagine, the view is pretty amazing. I'll be honest - it isn't a restaurant that I would have chosen to go to and I'm not sure I'd recommend it for dinner as it was very expensive and the food wasn't anything spectacular. But for lunch or drinks I think it's worth going, as the view during the day will be even more impressive and the restaurant itself is definitely worth seeing. When we arrived we were shown to our table...up a tiny spiral staircase in a private treehouse! It was very quaint and amusing to see the waiter struggle up and down it with all of the drinks and plates! As you can tell from the photos, it was quite dark which added to the ambiance and after we had finished eating we went outside to admire the view. All in all it was a nice evening, although for a short trip to Rio there are others restaurants I would recommend over this one.

Dave's "Carnaval Octopus" with roasted veggies.
My tilapia with okra, rice and beans and a paste made from a weird Amazonian fruit that tasted a bit sweet
and a Needless to say I wasn't too keen.
Our happy (but dark) treehouse table.
View from Aprazivel's terrace