Having been aboard for several weeks, we’re now very used to arriving several hours late at any given port, due to various reasons. This time around, one of the buoys in the bay had come loose which meant we spent the best part of 10 hours sat in the bay, with Copacabana Beach glistening in the distance.
Quite an ironic name for a cruise ship, the 'Costa Fortuna' bearthed in Rio
All the passengers were dressed up, with nowhere to go and all we could do was sit about the deck in the sun looking out at Rio, so close but so far. From the our vantage point, Rio is spectacular and covers huge area starting at sea level, rising up through high rise buildings, old colonial buildings to the hills where we could see several favelas.
We eventually docked and for once immigration was very fast – we’d also just showered so raring to go Shelley, Andrea, Christian and I took the opportunity to get ashore ASAP. Like Rio, the port was massive and there’s a bus that takes you from one side t’other, though having waited for a good thirty minutes we flagged down a passing flatbed lorry and hitched a lift on the back.
Outside on the main road, it was chaos – big public buses, three abreast bearing down on us, we’d been told that bus drivers in Rio are all aspiring/frustrated formula 1 driver and max it everywhere! We eventually crossed the road and after a short time picked up a taxi into town – the taxi had AC which was very welcome.
Spending an hour on admin (emails, blogs etc.) we hit a bar for several cool beers before heading off to see Copacabana Beach which surprisingly was a good twenty or so minutes away from the centre of Rio, a dual carriageway saw us racing along with Cristo Redentor, up on Corcovado, looking down upon us.
The beach at night is stunning, a huge east – south west curve with waves crashing onto the shore. Having seen so much sea over the last few weeks and not touching any of it we took the opportunity to go for a paddle in the sea! We walked pretty much the whole promenade, stopping for beers and vodka, watching volleyball, beach football etc., it was all very cool though we’d been told that Copacabana is shade of its former self and is now quite tacky (guess the bars and hotels) though we had a really good time and found some nice bars tucked away behind the main parade.
A short time later it all went a bit downhill for me as I had a desperate need for the toilet…
We left Christian and Andrea following a couple of ‘emergency’ stops for me and headed back to the ship, suffering most of the way. Eventually we got back, though at one stage we (the taxi) was a tad lost, we were in a grubby downtown port area, about to run out of money and I had visions of being dropped off in a not too safe area and having to find our own way back.
Thankfully we just made it!
The six hours we had in Rio were fantastic and we’ll definitely be going back in the next twelve months, spending a good week or two there. Tomorrow we head further along the coast, to Santos.