Last weekend a friend took us for a hike in Niterói, a city across the Guanabara Bay from Rio de Janeiro. The bridge connecting Rio and Niterói is a bit longer than the Bay Bridge in SF (about 8 miles according to Wikipedia), but it is also more out of the way when coming from Rio’s Zona Sul, so it’s a bit more of a drive – a bit like going from SF to Oakland via the San-Mateo Bridge.
Cariocas sometimes say that the only nice thing about Niterói is the view of Rio. Even if so, it would be worth mentioning that it’s a truly spectacular view, the kind of view of Rio you can’t actually get from anywhere in Rio itself. (The view from Corcovado is as good, but then it’s largely a view of Niterói.) However, it’s not just a view of Rio – Niterói’s Icaraí beech actually provides a beautiful framing for the view. As a beach it also looks just as attractive as Ipanema, but is not fit for swimming as it faces the polluted bay rather than the ocean. People also say that the city itself has a nice mellow atmosphere, which I hope to explore at some point.
Last week, however, rather than chilling at Icaraí we did a hike up a mountain to the City Park of Niterói (Parque da Cidade), from which the view was even more striking. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best weather for pictures, but I took a few anyway.
While it’s a bit hard to see through the fog, the view includes all the main geological landmarks of Rio stacked one behind another: Pão de Açucar, Corcovado, Pedra da Gavea and Does Irmãos. Another picture shows a strip of land separating the Charitas beach from a lake, which I found strangely similar to the view of Ipanema from Corcovado. There were many people paragliding from the top of the mountain.
Here are also a few pictures along the trail.