With Copacabana and Sugar Loaf ticked off we now had Chris the Redeemer or The Christ as the locals call it to visit. We’d already learnt to our cost that everyone in Rio was going to be sightseeing for the next couple of days and this attraction would be just as busy as Sugar Loaf.
There are two routes up to the Ticket Plaza – a train or mini-bus. The train was our preferred route but it was not to be. Although we arrived at the departure terminal by no later than 10.30, already the only available train times were for about 4pm! The mini-bus it was then.
Queues seem to be something of a Rio speciality because once we were dropped at the Ticket Plaza we then had to join another snaking queue to buy our allotted time slot to go up to The Christ. With our slot organised for about 2.00 pm we had some time to kill.
Luckily the Ticket Plaza contains an interesting exhibition all about Brazil’s wild life, flora and fauna and geographical features. Even better, the exhibition was air-condtioned.
Eventually it was time to go to the departure area where of course there was yet another snaking queue for a further 30 minutes before we finally boarded a bus to take us up to The Christ.
I’d love to say it was a spiritual, moving and tranquil experience but it wasn’t. It was absolutely chocca! It felt like a real conveyer belt as people chugged off the bus, up the steps and onto the platform where The Christ stood looking down over Rio. People took their selfies (lots) and other photos (some) and then departed.
There were no gardens set aside for people to just enjoy some time up there, just a few shops and a cafe. I’m not religious in anyway but I think they’ve missed a trick. Surely the many people who are religious (and the ones who aren’t) might welcome a shady garden to sit and contemplate whilst looking up at The Christ from different angles?
Instead there were just four turret like structures on each side of The Christ and a little chapel underneath. The chapel was charming and the views from The Christ were undoubtedly spectacular but Dom and I both left there feeling a little cheated and a little deflated.
Maybe our timing was bad. Maybe if we’d come on a day which wasn’t so busy we’d have felt differently but as it was we felt no urge to spend time up there – it was just too chaotic.
Would I recommend a visit to The Christ? Well, yes, of course – it’s an iconic attraction. But, choose your time carefully…