It was a sunny Sunday afternoon.
In the morning my girlfriend and I took the narrow-gauge cog wheel train to reach the Christ statue atop Corcovado Mountain, but unfortunately we couldn’t enjoy the view due to fog on the peak.
A bit disappointed, we decided to spend our last few hours before taking our transfer to the airport in the downtown. I was hoping to ride Santa Teresa Tram, but didn’t know that the service was terminated, due to a fatal accident caused by poor condition of the car. Still we walked around Carioca Aqueduct - a nice place in the city centre. Tourists can feel safe, a lot of police officers are present, and there are some crowded roads around.
We were walking along a wide street to see the Cathedral, when we were suddenly surrounded by four men. They were waving 30 centimetre (12 inch) long knives, one of them pressed his machete to my face, so I haven't even considered to scream or fight. The other gang members cut off our rucksacks, and grabbed everything else they could take. Everything happened in a fraction of a second. No one even looked at what was going on. Police, within line of sight, didn't prevent the robbery.
Fearing for our lives and being mugged at knifepoint was (and still is!) a horrible experience. I don’t mind the valuables stolen, but it takes a long time to get over something like this. My girlfriend has nightmares, doesn’t feel safe even in our hometown, and declines all suggestions to travel to an exotic place.
With this website I just want to warn you, that in my opinion it's not worth risking your life to visit Rio de Janeiro. Don't let your dream holiday to turn into a nightmare. Stay safe, stay at home and watch the Football World Cup and the Olympics on TV. If you’d like to travel, there are millions of fantastic places around the World…