Sixty-six kilometres directly to the north of Rio de Janeiro, high in the mountains, stands the imperial city of PETRÓPOLIS. The route there is a busy one, with buses leaving Rio every fifteen minutes. In fine weather, the journey to Petrópolis is glorious. On the way up, sit on the left-hand side of the bus and don’t be too concerned with the driver’s obsession with overtaking heavy-goods vehicles on blind corners. You’ll be travelling along a one-way road, bordered by naked rock on one side and a sheer drop on the other; the return to Rio is made by a slightly different route that also snakes its way through terrifying mountain passes. The landscape is dramatic, climbing among forested slopes that give way suddenly to ravines and gullies, while clouds shroud the surrounding mountains.

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