A queuing quest for Sugar Loaf Mountain - Day 410
Updated: Jan 5, 2019
Beach day and a long, and I mean long queuing quest for Sugar Loaf Mountain. Tip: don't go on the busiest weekend of the year!
While Tim and I took our faithful Fiat back to the Airport, the lads and lassies got themselves down to Ipanema beach. An hour later we searched amongst the throngs of thonged beach folk, and thankfully George found us.
My stomach was feeling a bit tender for some reason, so I stayed under our hired parasol while the others were in and out of the sea. I did go and watch once, oh, it looked such fun. Our boys and the lassies jumping the waves. Suddenly a huge wave loomed towards them, and wisely they took their sunglasses off, as the next minute it came crashing over them. John ended up doing some spectacular somersaults that any gymnast would have been proud of, but his final landing with head in the sand didn’t give him any extra points.
Georgia had heard about the Hippy Market here, and it transpired that it was just down the road and only on Sundays – and today was Sunday! Great planning eh! Georgia, Tim and I wandered over to explore. It was started as a hippie hangout in the 1960s where they gathered to sell their crafts. Rows of stalls selling clothes and crafts line the perimeter of Praça General Osório, and in the centre, large pieces of artwork were for sale. I ended up buying a sarong and summer dress; no extra luggage though as John will be taking some clothes back to the UK. I’ve had a bit of a change in clothes; wearing the same 3 skirts for months on end can get a bit tiresome for a person who likes difference! And I am sure that you are sick of seeing the same outfits as well!
We all ventured back to the apartment for a quick shower and for some people, lashings of after-sun. Despite spending time under the protection of the parasol, poor John’s skin was a deep shade of pink. Our evening entertainment was a journey up the iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Two taxis later, somehow Tim’s arrived there 15 minutes earlier than ours and cost him considerably less. The queue to get to the first cable car was huge despite us having online tickets. After about one and a half hours we climbed onto the cable car, having to scan the tickets that were on my phone twice, a somewhat awkward process, as well as show a ticket inspector.
We glided up the side of the first mountain to Urca Hill, hoping that we would get there before sunset. Well, we did, but unfortunately, there was only a puff of pink in the sky. Another long queue and ticket scanning to reach Pão de Açúcar, or Sugar Loaf peak to you and me. While we were waiting, I chatted to one of our group who doesn’t like rides like this or even flights for that matter. Hats off to them for coming all the way over on a plane 9,272km from the UK. If I had done my research beforehand, I could have told them that the cable carrying us up to the summit can carry over 25 buses; a whole lot more than the 65 people allowed in each car.
At last, we were there! A whopping 429 Lonely Planet’s points – hurrah! We did have a 360-degree view of the twinkling lights of Rio with the curve of Copacabana beach, Botafogo, Rio-Niterói Bridge and Airport. Were we impressed? Well, if we didn’t need to queue four times for a total of about 4 hours for four lots of three-minute rides, we might have, but standing in queues really isn’t our idea of fun. I suppose we were there at one of the busiest weekends of the year and at the busiest time of day so double-whammy. Hey ho, we win some and lose some.