Rio de Janeiro Travel Blog› entry 3 of 5 › view all entries
September 22nd, 2007 – by: trhoades
First of all, it actually sits within a national park, Parque Nacional da Tijuca. It's also even higher up than I thought it was. Corcovado (the mountain which holds Christ the Redeemer) is more than 2000 feet high. And it comes literally straight up from the ocean. A train takes you from a relatively quiet neighborhood in the middle of the city up to the top.
The train takes a good 20 minutes, and it's really steep. The whole setup reminded me of the Peak Tram in Hong Kong, only it was about 3 times higher. Once you get to the top, the statue is massive. It actually has a small chapel in its base. In fact, a priest was conducting mass when we arrived. Among the hoards of tourist there was a camera crew from the game show Jeopardy. Apparently they have video clues to questions shot on location. Look for me if you watch the show because I was standing next to the host as they videotaped the clues.
The statue itself? Well, it might not make you believe in God. But it will help. The Redeemer has a 270 degree view above Rio. It looks straight at Sugarloaf mountain (the other thing you see in postcards) with Ipanema and Copacabana on his right side. On his left you can see the parts of Rio you never see in postcards, namely downtown, the harbor (yes Rio has a harbor), the Maracana' soccer stadium, and several shanty towns clinging to the side of the mountains. The city looks very peaceful from that altitude, and The Redeemer has his arms stretched out in a very calming pose. The statue is 75 years old. So I don't know what the sculptor was trying to create at the time. But today you feel as if he wanted Jesus to project a feeling of peace across what can't exactly be described as a peaceful city.
Despite the smog and the thousands of tourists elbowing for position, it was everything I thought it would be. When I looked at my pictures, I noticed Jesus was slightly off-center in every single one. Could I have really had that many Brahmas that I couldn't center Christ the Redeemer in my camera? Apparently so. Anyway, enjoy the pics, including some I've downloaded from the web am claiming as my own.
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