Copacabana Beach has iconic sidewalks. All around the city the carnival atmosphere begins. We were on our way to visit the Christ Redeemer statue on top of El Corcovado.
On the way up there, in a small train, we were entertained by a group of samba dancers and singers in colorful costumes
Once we were on top of El Corcovado, we glimpsed the statue of Christ Redeemer peeking among the clouds. The view from the summit was incredible, and the clouds parted just enough so we could see the statue in all its glory. It was unforgettable.
Next stop was Ipanema Beach. The lyrics from the song The Girl from Ipanema kept coming to my mind. It was very picturesque, although rather crowded.
Adjacent to Ipanema is the beach of Copacabana, with its iconic sidewalks and very large multitudes. I was disappointed, there are nicer beaches in NJ
Next stop was the cable car up the Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf). It was worthwhile visiting it. The views from the top were awesome, and I couldn't believe I was actually there, after seeing hundreds of photographs of the area.
Our guide, Lusi, took us next to the Sambadrome, a huge stadium where the samba schools were assembling for the beginning of the Carnival parades. It was utter chaos; Lusi took us behind the scenes, where children of different parts of the city were congregating to take part in the official parades. It was here that we had a taste of the real Carnival. The children were adorable, and the older ones were very good looking in their costumes
At the other end of the spectrum, the older ladies formed their own samba school and had a great time