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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Surrounded by tall Cassias, broad-leaved, white-stemmed Cecropias, dense foliage myrtles, large-flowered Begonias, honey-scented Paulinias thickets, Maracuja shrubs with Passion flowers, and the richly planted Securidaca creeper. In the midst of which the undulating crowns of the Macauba palm tree stand out, we were transported to the Garden of Hesperides. Passing through several carefully tapped streams and overgrown hills, we finally reached the land around the hill, along which the source water is led into the city. A wonderful view of the bay unfolded before our eyes : the floating green islands, the harbor with the masts and numberless flags, and the city lying at the foot of the most rugged mountain, whose houses and towers gleamed in the sun. For a long time we were enraptured by the magical spectacle of a great European city, which emerged amidst rich tropical nature.

Terrace of the Aqueduct, Rio de Janeiro

We continued off the road along the curves of the aqueduct. It is largely made of granite masonry, but the arched roof, in whose interior the naturalist finds a number of the rarest Falangias, is built with brick. Amidst the overgrown hills, you will find a variety of romantic views of the marshland’s valleys. Often the path offers clearings, where the blinding light of the sun reflects off the flowering ground or the dazzling branch of the nearby high trees; other times it goes under cool, dark vaulting foliage. Here sprawl tangles of Paulinias, Securidacas, Micanias, Passifloras, boasting the most incredible variety of

flowers, among the lush crowns of flower-covered Rexias and Melastomaceas, of fresh Paulinias, of delicate Mimosas, of dazzling Murtas; there are impenetrable leafy forests of Solaneas, Sebastianias, Eupatorios, Crotons, where stand out the Bombax's colossal ramiferous trunks, the silver-leafed Cecropias, the thorny redwood, the Lecitideas with their extraordinary pot-like fruits, the slender trunk of the palm-jucara palm and many more cormorants of the woods, still unnamed. The majestic aspect, the sweet tranquility and peace of these woods, is interrupted by the whispering of the wings of the tinted hummingbirds, which fly from flower to flower, and by the sly singing of

strange birds and insects, all acting with special magic in the soul of sentimental men who are here contemplating, naively, the majestic country.

The fountain, whose water the aqueduct leads to the city, falls in a beautiful cascade over granite rocks. Beads of Begonias with cut leaves, elegant Costos and Heliconias,

Melastomaca villosa

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