May 19, 2016
One of the more unique and beautiful activities our group got to experience was going on Sugarloaf Mountain. This activity was especially cool because we were able to see Rio de Janeiro in all its glory at sunset. We went up in these huge, but fairly packed, tram cars on a not-so-stable appearing cable line. While the ride up to the mountain was definitely not my favorite part, it was worth it when we finally got on the mountain. To get to Sugarloaf, we actually had to take two of these horrible rides on the cable cars- the first taking you to a smaller peak called Morro da Urca, which gives just as picturesque views, and from there you take a second tram car to Sugarloaf itself. This peak has an amazing view of the city, looking out over the bay on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Being able to overlook an enormous city for over hundreds of miles and have the mountains towering in the background was truly an experience I will never forget.
This experience really made a connection for me because I was able to start to grasp this so-called ‘marvelous city’. While being here and learning about the city, we’ve been told how great it is, what it’s known for, the history, the people, the culture, and ultimately- how this place is a marvelous city, or cidade maravilhosa. While I’ve been able to see and experience many of these other aspects while being in Rio, I hadn’t really felt the experience of this ‘marvelous city’ phenomenon. However, standing on the peak of Sugarloaf at 1,299 feet, I was able to look out to see hundreds of thousands of glowing lights; they reflected in the vast water where boats rocked gently and a spectacular background of seemingly never-ending mountains stood prominently. This is when I realized how this is a marvelous city after all; not because of the great landmarks, warm sun or golden beaches, but because of the entire city as a whole: every aspect, every light, every street and every view.