Christo Redentor – One of the New Seven Wonders of the World
When I found out our ship was going to South America, with stops in Brazil, I immediately caught tunnel vision. “Would any of these ports be the home of Cristo Redentor, the Christ the Redeemer statue?” I asked.
As part of the crew engagement on ships, there is a team onboard which caters to the activities and welfare of the employees to promote work life balance. It’s also part of labour regulations for those at sea.
By the grace of God one of these activities was a crew tour to visit the statue. As soon as the crew found out that the Christo Redentor tour was on, tickets sold faster than UWI doubles on a Saturday morning. So on a slightly rainy but warm day, we walked off our ship, greeted by the famous street murals done by Eduardo Kobra for the 2016 Olympics.
As our bus made its way through the streets of Rio De Janeiro, we learnt about the ‘favelas’ or slums and how they came into existence in the hills. We also passed by the Sambadrome where the Carnival Parade takes place, its famous concrete arch shaped like a thong, (yes that is exactly what our tour guide said). Unfortunately, we were in the bus and I could not get a picture!
My excitement increased as we got closer to the site. At the bottom of the mountain, where we waited for our tram tickets, we were greeted by flags of different countries around the world.
For us seafarers, it was welcoming to see our flags displayed in Rio. The tram took a one-way rail through the thick Tijuca Forest, with stunning views of the city below.
When we got to the entrance, my friend and I said ‘elevator or stairs?’ Stairs it was. As we climbed up, parts of the statue came into view and I couldn’t remember if my light-headedness was due to the height, the stairs, or just being this close to Cristo Redentor. As I write this blog, I can feel the breathlessness like I’m there once again...
The first full view I got was the back of the statue; I ran the rest of the stairs and when I got to the top, Mass was being officiated by three Priests in Portuguese.
My eyes filled with tears with the intensity of my emotions. One Priest sprinkled holy water on the crowd, who listened intently, even though we could not understand most of his words. I remember every time I looked up at the statue, I would drop my eyes quickly in disbelief that I was actually at the Cristo Rendentor in Brazil. I even felt that I was not worthy enough to be at His feet. It really is an experience that is hard to describe...
After discovering the true worth of my selfie stick that day, I made my way to the Chapel, where I prayed for my family and friends around the world. We then returned to our bus and made our way back to our home on the sea, passing by the famous Copacabana Palace Hotel, beach and Sugarloaf Mountain.
I do not think that the word ‘blessed’ could truly describe how I felt that day...
The views reflected in this travel log do not necessarily reflect the news of my employers.