Travel Ephemera #16: Sugarloaf Mountain

Curse that cloudy day in Rio.  This was not how it was meant to be; this was not how the script was supposed to play out.  When Roger Moore’s James Bond and Lois Chiles’ Holly Goodhead rode the cable car to the summit of Pão de Açúcar to escape Richard Keel’s Jaws in Moonraker the sun was shining, and the city lay out beneath them in a glorious array of blues, and greens, and gold.  When I took the same journey to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain, the pervading colour was murk.

Sugarloaf Mountain rises almost 1300 feet above the harbour of Rio de Janeiro.  In a city famed for its beautiful setting and landscape, it is perhaps the Sugarloaf that contributes most to that towering aesthetic.

Access to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain is by cable-car; the lower station located at the base of Morro da Babilônia, next to Praia Vermelha, with a staging post at Morro da Urca.

On a clear day from the summit, it is possible to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado to the west; and the sandy bays, beaches and tall, white apartment blocks of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon to the south and west.

Looking north, I watched the planes take off from Santos Dumont Airport; It was bizarre to see what looked like mere toy aircraft flying at a level below the point where I stood.

However, it was not long before the murk closed in again, and the view began to contract and vanish.  A thin, but persistent rain began to fall.  Was I downhearted?  In truth, just a little bit.  When you know that you have only one brief moment in time, likely to never be repeated, you want the script to run to order.  The pressure of expectation can impinge on even the most amazing experiences.  However, it was an important lesson learned. 

Far better to travel in hope than expectation.

© E. C. Glendenny

E. C. Glendenny can’t see the moral for the murk.

Have you read E. C. Glendenny’s Easy on The Eyes: Selected Travel Writing?

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