Antarctic Cruise - 2012



Day 14 - Thursday, January 19th - Rio de Janeiro: The Amsterdam sailed into port this morning and we were cleared shortly after 8:00.  We took a shore excursion that started with a ride on the tram through the jungle to the top of Corcovado Mountain.  Unlike our visit in 2007 when we could not see the statue of Christ the Redeemer from the base of the statue because of fog, today we saw it very clearly.  The mountain is about 2,300 feet tall and the soapstone statue is 130 feet tall.  In 2007 the statue was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.  There was a lot of haze over the city, so the views of the bay, beaches, etc.  weren't terrific.  There were a lot of people on the mountain (many posing for pictures with arms outstretched like the statue) and the trip up and down took a long time.   Thankfully it wasn't extremely hot, with the day's high expected in the upper 80s.  Our tour guide said temps over 100 are not uncommon.  Next we went to visit the San Sebastian Metropolitan Cathedral.  This is the strangest Catholic cathedral we have every seen--it is very ugly on the outside (looks like concrete) and the inside is quite stark, too, except for the stained glass.  20,000 can stand inside this large church, and there is no cooling system as the outer walls are not solid and it was designed to take advantage of breezes.  This tour did not take us to any beaches, but we saw the viewing stands for carnival and also some historic buildings, such as the beautiful Municipal Theater.  Traffic was very heavy and it will be much worse tomorrow because it's a local holiday.

Day 15 - Friday, January 20th - Rio de Janeiro: We started the day with breakfast in the dining room, and for a second time talked to a couple from FL.  Today they went into great detail about everything they brought with them on the cruise: their own temper-pedic mattress top, their own champagne and vodka (Ultimate vodka, but Belvidere will do in a pinch), their own olives for drinks, and their own cheese butter for the popcorn, which she can melt with her insulated cup when it's full of a hot liquid.  They said they packed around 15 bags, but they don't stand out from the rest of the crowd as being particularly well-dressed.  They are going on the full cruise for 112 days, so they don't have to deal with luggage, but we don't know how they could put all their stuff in a small cabin! We walked around the shops in the terminal this morning looking for postcards but didn't find any.  We saw most of Rio on our last trip, so didn't go back into the city.  We heard tonight that it wasn't as busy there as was expected--maybe everyone stayed away because of fear of sitting in traffic for hours.  The ship left the port around 4:00 pm.

Arriving in Rio

End of Carnival route

Tram up Corcovado Mountain

Christ the Redeemer Statue

Christ the Redeemer Statue

Rio from Corcovado Mountain

San Sebastian Metropolitan Cathedral

San Sebastian Metropolitan Cathedral

Across street from cathedral

Municipal Theater

Rio from bus

Leaving Rio

Leaving Rio - Cable cars on Sugarloaf

Leaving Rio