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Vacation Day 21
Thursday, February 12th
Rio de Janeiro, Day 1

At 6:30 AM this morning the ship docked in Rio. This was the final docking of this cruise. The ship had traveled 1031 nautical miles in just over 60 hours from Montevideo, at an average speed of 17.4 knots to get here.

Since the cruising part of the cruise ends here today, here are some facts about the cruise. The map below shows the cruise and the table below the map shows the distances of the various segments of the cruise. If you have followed the cruise to this point you may remember the that stop in Ushuaia had to be cancelled do to a long shore mans strike.

HA Map

Cruise Segment Distances
Distance in Nautical Miles Distance in
Statute Miles
in Kilometres
Valparaiso to Puerto Montt
Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas to Stanley
(including Antarctica)
Stanley to Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires to Montevideo
Montevideo to Rio de Janeiro

Now that I have taken care of the good stuff about the cruise to here, let us get on with Rio de Janeiro.

The area where Rio is currently situated was founded by an Italian on January 1, 1501 (or 1502 depending on which history you read). The Bay of Guanabara, which is Rio's harbour, was thought to be the mouth of a river, (which it isn't) so the area was named Rio de Janeiro which means January River. A colony was established in 1555 by the French Huguenots. They were driven out by the Portuguese between 1560 and 1565. The city was founded on March 1st, 1565 by a Portuguese knight who called it São Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro or San Sebastian of the January River in honour of the king of Portugal at that time, King Sebastian the first.

For a very long time it was called St Sebastian instead of the currently popular Rio de Janeiro. It has been attacked many times by pirates, privateers and even more often by enemies of Portugal such as the Netherlands, France and others. The Portuguese finally realized the importance of this area in the late 16th century. It became a strategic location for the Atlantic transit of ships between Brazil, the African colonies and Europe.

The first 3 pictures below were taken very early in the morning. The first one at 5:58 AM, the second one at 6:33 AM and the third one at 7:39 AM. All of these were taken out of my cabin window which will explain the spots on the last two. The first one did not look like this when taken. I have not edited very many of the pictures I have used on this web site but this view was just too impressive not to take the time to try and fix the picture. It is not perfect but you will give you an idea of how it looked as the ship sailed into Guanabara Bay and Rio's harbour.

Christ the Redeamer 1
Sunrise 1
This is the first thing I saw when I looked out my cabin window as the ship arrived in Rio. It is Christ the Redeemer on top of Corcovado Hill.
The sun rising over Guanabara Bay. By this time the ship was docked.

Costa Magica 1

The Costa Cruise Lines ship Costa Magica as it arrived an hour or so after we did.
As you will see later, it docked behind us.

Today is the last of the shore excursions associated with the cruise. It was called Panoramic Rio. This was a very quick tour that basically hit the highlights in a hurry. Since most of the other major sites were covered with tours included in the post cruise package I had booked here, there was little point in taking any of the others. As it tuned out, it was a good choice as there was only one place that I visited twice. The tour was a 4 hour morning tour. You will likely see some things in this tour, usually from a distance, that you will (or may) see over the next 3 days as well. So we begin...

Amsterdam 1
Christ the Redeemer 2
We had to walk quite a ways to get to the buses and ended up with a view of our ship like this.
Christ the Redeemer can be seen from all over this part of Rio.
Cathedral 1
Cathedral 3
The first of the two stops on this tour was here. This is Catedral de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro. I suspect that you figured out that this means the Cathedral of San Sesbastiao (probably San Sebastian in english) of Rio de Janeiro. It has some unique structural properties that I will talk about below. The inside of the Cathedral. It uses mainly natural light. There are some lights but not many.
Cathedral 2
Cathedral 4
There are stained glass windows on all four sides, which provide most of the light. Another of the windows to the right of the entrance. There was one above the entrance that I do not have a picture of here.
Cathedral 5
The altar/chancel area which in just about in the middle of the church.
A wider view showing the alter in the middle and the structure around it.
Cathedral 8
Cathedral 7
The main entrance.
.The bell tower out front. If you need to use a washroom you need to come out here as they are below it.

This cathedral was built between 1964 and 1979. As you can see the structure is unusual. It consists of two concrete structures one inside the other. There is no heating or air conditioning. The light you can see around the concrete squares is natural from outside. There are no windows there. The design is this, there is an horizontal opening facing down, then a vertical ledge then a vertical opening on the inside side of the ledge. It ends up being something like a sideways (and inverted I think) "S" shape. You might think that they would have trouble with birds. They do not. Birds cannot negotiate the shape of the openings so there are hardly any (none when I was there) inside the building.

This Cathedral is the one place that I mentioned above that I stopped at twice. There will probably be a few more pictures on Saturdays page about this church. It seems appropriate that you can see Christ the Redeemer from the front entrance of the Cathedral. Here is the proof of that.

Christ the Redeemer 3

From the Cathedral we headed onward. Here are some photos of what I saw as the tour continued mostly taken through the bus windows.

Building 1
SambaDrome 1
I do not remember what this building is. I think we were told what it was and it is impressive looking so I took a picture. The tour next passed by one of Rio's best known places. This is the SambaDrome where Carnival takes place. At the time this was taken it was only eight days away.
SambaDrome 2
Maracana Statium 1
The Sambadrome again. The parade comes from behind the camera and progresses down this street. The competing Samba Schools have 80 minutes each to impress the judges. It goes for four nights with different levels of competition and a winner each night. There is a final performance a week later showcasing the four winners from each of the previous nights. What did I tell you in the previous stops we made about soccer stadiums? Well then, you should not be surprised then to see Maracanã soccer stadium here. Rio is trying for the Olympics in 2014 or 18 and I think many of the games are scheduled to be played here.
Maracana Staduim 2
Shanty Town 1
Another view of the stadium.
Just across the road from the stadium is one of Rio's shanty towns.
Christ the Redeemer 4
Buildings 2
Another view of Christ the Redeemer from the North side.
The statue faces east I believe.
Here are some buildings and a gas station down below the elevated expressway the bus is on. We are heading for the Andre Reboucas Tunnel which goes under the Corcovado Hill which the Christ the Redeemer statue is on the top of.
Christ the Redeemer 5
Shanty Town 2
When you come out of the other side of the tunnel, you see the other side of the statue. Amazing Eh. By the way, the statue is 125 feet tall. Another of the Shanty towns. Something like 250,000 people live in this one.
Shanty Town 3
Night Club 1
Here is another view of it. (Along with a reflection in the bus window.) Somebody I know would probably like to get his hands on a guitar or Dobro this big.
Movie Theatre 1
Beach 1
A movie theatre in the very wealthy Barra Da Tijuca area of south Rio.
If you think you see a copy of the Statue of Liberty there, you do!
One of the lessor known beaches that the high rent people frequent. All beaches in Brazil are public. None can be privately owned or can the public be prevented from accessing them.

Our second and last stop before returning to the ship was in the São Conrado area of South Rio. Little did I know at this point that this was where the hotel I would be staying in for the next two nights was located. Up until I started building this web page I did not think I had a picture of the Intercontinental Rio hotel that I stayed in. Low and behold this tour stopped and not knowing any better at the time I actually took a picture of the back side of the hotel. That is the side my room was on. That picture is included (and will be dually noted) below. My goodness there is another picture as well!

Sao Conrado 1
The São Conrado section of Rio. The hotel is the light coloured building that you can see directly below the peak of the mountain. just left of centre. We stopped along the beach here. The hotel is the short light coloured building to the right of the tall building and just to the left of centre.
Sao Conrado 3
Sao Conrado 4
The same beach looking the direction which we came from. As you will see over the next day or two this beach is used as a landing strip by hang and para gliders that come off those high hills around the São Conrado area. I thought this was a bit of an unusual design for a tunnel. Most of the time the two directions are put in separate tunnels side by side. Here they made one large tunnel and put the two directions one above the other.

The room I ended up in in the hotel for the two nights after this had a view that looked at this very stretch of beach. I watched many a hang or para glider land on the sand just about right in front of where I stood when I took these pictures. For some reason this did not connect when I was there.

After the brief ten minute stop in São Conrado we headed to the three famous Rio beaches, Leblon, Ipanema and the best known Copacabana. Copacabana may be the best known, but Ipanema is the most popular. It might be worth noting at this point that it is illegal for a woman to be topless on any beach in the Rio area except during Carnival. They may not wear very much but they cannot be topless.

Here are the remaining pictures taken on the tour as we round the south and east sections of Rio heading back to the ship.

Bus 1
Locals 1
The bus I was on just before leaving the São Conrado area.
Some of the locals, probably on Ipanema Beach.
Ipanema Beach 1
Ipanema Beach 2
The sights along Ipanema Beach.
More sights.
Copacabana 1
Copacabana 2
Copacabana beach along with some major window reflections. Unfortunately this is the best picture I had of the several I tried to take here. Sugar Loaf from Copacabana Beach. I will be there Saturday morning. If you look closely you can see the two cable cars and the cables just above the bicycle on the stick just to the left of centre.
Copacabana 3
Sugar Loaf 1
Copacabana beach on a Thursday at 12:37 PM.
We have left the beaches now and are back on Guanabara Bay or the north side of Rio. The bay is quite polluted and nobody swims in it. That is Sugar Loaf just left of centre.
Amsterdam 2
Amsterdam 3
We returned to the ship and headed back on board. I thought this made an interesting picture.
Here is another one from a slightly different angle.

As I did on most of the other days there were shore excursions, I went up on deck to take some pictures of the area around where the ship is docked. This is the last time that I can do this, as this is the last time I will return the the ship. The next time I leave it tomorrow morning, I do not come back.

The picture below is actually two pictures merged together to show the over 4 kilometre long Rio to Niterói bridge across Guanabara Bay (Rio's harbour). Both of these pictures were taken from the deck of the ship. It was just too long to get in one picture. I think they said that it was built not to long ago. I cannot remember the year it was started but I remember being told it took 4 years to build.

Rio to Niteroi Bridge

Here are the rest (and the last I think) of the pictures taken from the ship.

Cruise Terminal
Pier 1
The Rio cruise terminal. As with many places, it is a converted warehouse.
You may remember the Costa Magica from this morning. This is where it docked. It sailed at 6:00 PM.
Bagage Carts
Rio From Ship 1
Any one need a baggage cart?
Not right now, but tomorrow morning we will!
Another of the Shanty Towns. Corcovado with Christ the Redeemer on top is in the cloud just left of centre.
Rio From Ship 2
Rio from Ship 3
Another part of the Shanty Town.
You can just barely see Cristo Redento (Christ the Redeemer in Portuguese) on the mountain top in the upper centre of the picture.

Rio From Ship 4

A general view of the area around the pier.

As I think you can tell the weather was changing as the day progressed. These last pictures were taken about 2:20PM. It was so hot and humid you felt like you were walking in a sauna. Later in the afternoon it started raining (a drizzle that continued for the rest of the day and into the night) and there was not much more to do. I used the time to complete the Antarctica Day 2 web page and upload it to the web site. I also used up all but 5 minutes of the 270 minutes of internet access time I had purchased at the start of the cruise.

The other thing that has to happen, since tomorrow is disembarkation day, is that the luggage has to be put out before you go to bed. This requires that you pack almost everything before going to bed. It was not as bad for me as I was just going to a hotel in Rio so it required somewhat less care than if I was flying out latter in the day tomorrow like most of the rest were. This was completed and the bags were put out, not to be seen again until sometime tomorrow at the Intercontinental Rio hotel.

So, the last 10 hours on the ship and then the disembarkation to what Holland America calls the Samba post cruise package. There will be a tour on the way to the hotel and then the arrival at the hotel shortly after lunch.

On to day 22!

Created: March 6, 2009 at home.
Last updated: March 10, 2009 1:16 PM