An Ill-Timed Journey to Sugar Loaf Mountain

I’ve taken a month off from this blog, this time quite deliberately, and happy to report that in this time, I’ve read three books! It’s been remarkable. I think this also gave me enough distance to talk about our time in Rio this past summer.

See here’s the thing: we arrived in Rio just as they were amping up preparations for the 2016 Summer Games and the world was in the midst of rabid criticism/panic mode. Athletes were canceling here, there, and everywhere. Meanwhile on a much more personal front, everyone I encountered told me with fearful confidence that I would most certainly catch the Zika virus. And also have all my stuff stolen. And possibly be hurt in an attack. Or maybe killed. Everyone had an opinion. A STRONG opinion. Anyway, off we went.

Now that the hubbub has died down and we’re all maybe a little calmer about Rio, I feel I have space to tell you about our first outing in Rio: venturing to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain.

The morning arrived bright and crisp and super-foggy. Stepping outside was like stepping into a glass of milk. But, we had a tight schedule ahead of us, and this was the day we had determined to embark upon the Sugar Loaf Mountain tour, and so off we went. The benefit of going on a foggy day is that not many other people will be around, so that’s nice.

Here’s what we saw on our first day out and about:


View out of the van window as we leave our hotel. You can see on the left, the stands being built on Copacabana for Olympic beach volleyball.


The cable car station at the base of the mountain.


Getting foggier and foggier, the higher we go.


Our dynamic view.


That’s Sugar Loaf Mountain, looming ahead, up out of the fog like a ghost ship.


Now we’re on the second leg of our journey, leaving the first station behind us.


Now we super can’t see anything. Classic us.


On top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. HEY! We’re above the fog!


This cloud has a silver lining: we couldn’t see Sugar Loaf, BUT we did see Christ the Redeemer rising dramatically above the clouds on Corcovado.


It’s like a little jungle at the top of Sugar Loaf. We wandered a bit.


I’m seeing where the path goes, on top of Sugar Loaf.


Andrew spotted this lizard! Blends pretty well into its surroundings.Took me awhile to realize what I was looking at.


On our way down, the fog was kinda beginning to clear… This is pretty much the best view we could get, of, like, anything.


This is the most we could see of Sugar Loaf… on our way down the mountain.

Interestingly, at the outset, our guide tried valiantly to convince us to cancel. I think this has happened before, that tourists ended up booking a foggy day and then freaked out on her because they couldn’t see anything. We had quite a time of it, promising her that we would remain calm if we couldn’t see anything, that we wouldn’t hold her personally responsible. The idea that tourists would rage at their guide for a foggy day is ridiculous to me. She can’t control the weather. And anyway, we wanted to see what we could see. And, there were two good things about the experience: 1) fewer people to contend with (a rare and special event in today’s clogged-up touristy world), and 2) the remarkable view of Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado, rising above the clouds.

Conclusion: To spend a vacation upset about things that are out of your control (such as a foggy day), seems to me like a bit of a wasted opportunity to enjoy the silver lining that’s probably right in front of your face. Cheers!


3 responses to “An Ill-Timed Journey to Sugar Loaf Mountain

  1. Were you totally freaked when you couldn’t see anything but cloud/fog? That would give me a bit of claustrophobia, I think!

    Why is it called “Sugar Loaf”?


    • It looks like a loaf of sugar. 😀 Well, they used to ship sugar in loaves. And that’s what the mountain sorta looks like.
      It was a little unsettling, but not as bad as that time we were in Hong Kong going to the Big Buddha and were suspended in fog for well over half an hour. (Or so it seemed.)


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