This post is originally from March 8, 2019
Today was a pretty spectacular day ~ one of those days that I will never forget! Drum roll please … a bunch of us signed up to go hang gliding!!! I was worried that they wouldn’t let me do it because of my ankle so I was bound and determined to walk without a limp and pretend that everything was A-OK. On the car ride to the Hang Gliding Centre we were all shitting ourselves a bit; and I have to admit that the nerves didn’t stop until I was in the air. I’ve hang glided once before back in Australia but that was almost 20 years ago.
When we got to the Hang Gliding Centre at Tijuca National Park we signed our lives away and then an old dude told me to go with him. The other girls got in one car together but lucky me got my own personal ride by an ancient looking man who I then learned would be my hang gliding partner. I thought he looked more like an old pimp than a hang gliding pro, but what do I know? Once I got to the top I was reunited with my friends and right away we were put through a haphazard training. The key to hang gliding is the take off and the faster you run the better. I haven’t ran since I hurt my ankle (I basically haven’t walked properly either) and I was so nervous that my dibbled run would give me away. My instructor told me that my run was rubbish and that we had to keep practicing. Meanwhile I was wincing in pain trying to sprint like a mofo. Apparently I did a fair enough job and it was time to slap on the gear…
Watching others run off the mountain was so scary but none of them fell to their death so I felt a little bit better. Once all the checks were in place I was the second one to take the plunge from our group. (ps the ramp is about 520m high!) Running off was terrifying but as soon as we hit the air the wings took us up and away. It was absolutely, bloody well amazing. Rio is a picture perfect city. It’s so lush and mountainous but then has the impeccable beaches as well. We were able to see the fancy houses below and right nearby the favelas. We flew over the ocean and mountains and jungle. No word of a lie, I was crying like a baby. It was so spectacular that I was just in tears. All I could say was WOW over and over again!
Because it wasn’t that windy my flight only lasted about 10 minutes. What goes up must come down…how the hell was I going to land on my ankle? As soon as we hit the ground I bit it on my knees through the sand. It sounded like Fred Flintstone stopping his car! Another one of my more graceful moments in life!
All 6 of us made it back alive and all 6 of us couldn’t wipe the grin off our faces! What an amazing experience!
Later in the day Kris, our friend Becca and I headed downtown to the city centre. I heard about this amazing street art that was painted for the Rio Olympics in 2016 and I wanted to see it for myself. Other than having to try to find the street in the blazing 40 degree weather, it was absolutely phenomenal! The Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra painted this massive wall that has made it into the world records. The mural wall runs 190m long and 15.5m high. It depicts indigenous people from 5 continents which also represented the Olympic Rings. The mural is entitled Etnias or Ethnicities in English. Kobra and his team used approximately 100 gallons of white paint, 1500L of coloured painted and at least 3500 cans of spray paint. At the time of the Olympics this 3km strip called Olympic Boulevard was home to big screens, live music and nightly firework displays. The enormity of the mural is insane. It is definitely the most impressive and beautiful street art that I have ever seen!
No rest for the weary…there’s more to see in Rio. Next stop – Sugarloaf Mountain. Rio is surrounded by mountains and there are two that stand out that have a gondola that you can ride to the top. It’s one of those iconic tourist attractions and no surprise, it was riddled with tourists! We wanted to go for the sunset so we could see Rio in all its glory…but so did half of Rio. It was still stunning but doesn’t have the same glorious affect when you are looking at the back of someone’s head. Kris and I couldn’t be bothered to fight the crowd when the sun was actually setting so we sat on the ground in an area that was peaceful and deserted.
Sounds like a day for the books don’t you think?
If you are interested in taking a tour that covers the places on my adventure check out G Adventure’s Wonders of Brazil