There’s been quite a few of those articles that don’t require you to read anything working their way around the web for a few years now, all entitled something along the lines of Travel Expectations vs Reality and most of them featuring the New 7 Wonders of the World.
I’ve always taken these articles with a pinch of salt – they’re obviously going to show the worst case scenarios, right? For instance, no way is there always that many people on the Great Wall of China.
Having been fortunate enough to have visited many places featured in such articles, I’ve been able to laugh at them, nod in agreeance with some and ridicule others. Macchu Picchu, for example. The Machu Picchu you see in pictures and on postcards? It is the Machu Picchu you get in real life!
Irrespective of what the internet says, alpacas do not photobomb every single photo you try to take. I visited during peak holiday season, the same as Petra, the Colosseum and Taj Mahal, and I promise that whereas there are (obviously) a lot of visitors, none of them were anywhere near as crowded as the Internet makes them seem. They were all as beautiful, magnificent and breath-taking as they are in pictures too, irrespective of the weather forecast. Mist behind the Taj Mahal or clouding Machu Picchu just add to their magnificence.
And then I went to Rio…
This is the Christ the Redeemer we recognise, the one we expect and hope to see.
And this is what I got:
I had been warned when buying my ticket that day that ‘visibility is quite poor’ – and there was even a little TV screen where you could check the view in live time – but Apple weather said that it would clear up by 3pm, so I bought a ticket for then.
As it turns out, the vendors at the ticket office know a lot more about local weather than Apple does.
Not only did the fog affect visibility of the Big Guy, but it also made it look and feel like you’re floating on a cloud, meaning the spectacular views of Rio that makes this Wonder so special, were non-existent.
Entry tickets plus transport there and back from Copacabana cost the equivalent of about £10 which doesn’t exactly break the bank of even the most budget travellers, and so we just went back the next day when the weather (and more importantly visibility) was a little better…
Second time lucky!
Selfie game is strong at the feet of ole Cristo, though. And it is absolutely impossible to get a photo of yourself and Jesus without either looking like a thumb or having a bunch of people hovering in the background. I would say about 60% of people up there didn’t even really glance up at the statue; they were all too busy facing the other way with their selfie sticks out and poses ready. It’s a shame, really.
So yeah, if you ever plan to make your way up to Cristo Redentor, don’t forget to check the weather first.