|Stairway to heaven|
At around 38 metres high, and 28 metres across the outstretched arms, it is a huge statue that towers above the city from its perch on Corcovado mountain. Clouds permitting, you can see the Christ from all around, looking down on you and supposedly protecting the cariocas (people from Rio).
Having seen that the forecast was for rain throughout our time here, we decided to visit the Christ statue on our first full day, when the rain was supposed to stop for a while. After a false start waiting on the wrong street, we hopped on a bus to the little rack railway that takes you up Corcovado to the base of the statue.
The train up Corcovado was engineered by Francisco Pereira Passos and Joao Texeira Soares as a result of the enthusiasm of father and son emporers Pedro I and Pedro II, for the view from the top. The first section was completed in 1884. It now covers the full 3824 metres and takes twenty minutes at a speed of around fifteen kilometers per hour.
The Christ statue came along some time later, being inaugurated on 12 October 1931, having taken ten years to complete and been paid for by donations from parishioners. Hector da Silva oversaw the construction of the Carlos Oswald design.
The statue is made from reinforced concrete, but is entirely covered in small triangular pieces of soapstone, giving it a softer and slightly reflective effect. The head was the work of Paul Landowski, and sculptor Margarida Lopes modelled the hands on her own.
The statue does look impressive. And I was pleasantly surprised at the relatively small amount of stuff for sale there. There was some of course, as well as the official photographers - we discovered why they were there later - but generally it was fairly unspoiled by the usual hoards of souvenir sellers.
We took some photos, including a few of each other, and were about to leave when we decided that we really should get a photo of the two of us with the statue. So we asked a guy to take one, which he did, but he cut off Jesus' head. Undeterred, we asked a woman, who carefully angled herself to take two pictures - and cut off one of Jesus' hands in both of them.
Despairing slightly now, I found a guy from the USA, figuring that if I could speak to him in English, then I could explain that I wanted the whole of Christ in the photo. He obligingly took a couple and he did get the whole of the Christ in both - but there was a drop of rain on the lens and it obliterated my face entirely.
|Us at the statue - or not!|
At that stage we decided that it wasn't meant to be, and it would almost be a shame to actually get a proper complete photo of the three of us, so we gave up. But now we could see why they had official photographers.
On the way back down on the train, we were treated to some extra entertainment as a band got on and performed. This seems to be a regular occurrence, so perhaps they think people will be bored on the way down otherwise.