Remember the Rainforest 1
Trip from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo City
We left Rio de Janeiro on December 8, 1817. Some friends and compatriots accompanied us to half a league outside the city (1). The beginning of this expedition was neither encouraging nor promising of pleasures. We had only taken the shortcut off the wide road of Santa Cruz, when part of our boxes lay on
Santa Cruz, the royal farm
the ground, another part spread among houses and chakras, and some of the mules detached themselves from the boxes they carried, and sought to run to the field. Confusion increased when Mr Durming, the Royal Prussian Consul in Antwerp, who was then in Rio de Janeiro and now accompanying us, was thrown off of a frightened animal, and had to be carried back to the city with his arm badly injured. This show of unbridled savagery usually takes place in the beginning of a trip, until the animals get used to the weight of the load and get used to marching in line. Only our compatriot, Mr. von Eschwege, who has already traveled many overland roads here, remained impassive: we, new to the experience, are overwhelmed with anxiety and apprehension.
The affliction increased further, when we realized that one of the mules, which, besides, carrying a precious load, no longer appeared in sight. He had rushed with his cargo back to the city, where he would probably find a new owner, if the mule driver was not lucky enough to finally find the animal in the harbor, and indeed, was probably already in the hands of strangers. Exhausted by the search and rushing around, we had to stop, though only an hour away from the city, not far from Quinta Real de Sao Cristovao, in order to gather the scattered animals
Military on the plain of Sao Cristovao
and bundles. After our uneasy expectations most of the day, we departed, after all, with the newly organized troop, and followed the shortcut that led to Cantagalo and Minas at sunset.
1) Both here and throughout the narrative, we always refer to Brazilian miles (leguas), eighteen of which make up one degree, that is: 1 legua = 6,170 km; (Rev. note, Ed. Melh.).