the rounded hills and mountains which dot the city are a major part of rio's beauty. pão de açúcar is smack in the middle of it, between the botafogo marina and copacabana. the ascent by cable car is a two-step affair; you take one to the lower morro da urca, then another one to the top of the loaf.
now, i've already told you i wasn't feeling particularly rich at the time, and the fare was hefty. the alternative, if your legs are functioning decently, is to climb the morro, and that i did. highly recommended: you'll get pretty good vistas of the city and the corcovado on the way up, plus - if you're lucky - a few saguis fooling around in the tropical foliage.
once on top, take your time to take it all in. it's breathtaking [or was that the climb?].
and that's your morning gone.
if you feel like a little history a little food a little shopping and a little crowd, you may then head to the city centre. it's an immense marketplace, bazaar-style. if you manage to find it, take a break at confeitaria colombo for a coffee and something sweet.