I remember climbing to the top of Mount Corcovado and feeling dwarfed by the colossal statue of Christ the Redeemer as I gazed at its grandeur. It is amazing when you think this masterpiece was constructed nearly 80 years ago by the residents of the area and hauled 710 metres to the top of the mountain.
The Statue, one of the newly chosen Seven Wonders of the World, sits just outside Rio de Janeiro on the Atlantic coast of Brazil. The city itself is worth the visit, but the statue makes it a must for anyone travelling to South America. A long, thirteen hour flight will get you to Rio, but its thirteen million inhabitants ensure ample restaurants, shopping and a sensational nightlife.
The statue of Christ can be seen from anywhere in Rio, but a trip to the top of Corcovado (which means ‘hunchback’ in Portuguese) is a must for visitors. A train, which takes about twenty minutes, will take you part way up, but be prepared to wait as much as two hours, as the capacity of the electric rail cars is 350 people per hour. After you step from the train it’s only 222 steps, but not to worry for there are elevators and an escalator for the less adventurous.
The site attracts 300,000 visitors a year and the platform can be quite crowded. Morning visits are recommended, but remember the first train does not depart the station until 8:30. For the true thrill seekers there are 52 rock climbing routes along the southern face.