Our stay in the colonial town of Ouro Preto

Trip Start Jul 01, 2009
Trip End Jul 12, 2009

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Minas Gerais,
Monday, July 6, 2009

Our third stop was in Ouro Preto, another very different and distinctive slice of Brazil.  Named after the 18th century gold rush that led to its founding, this is a perfectly preserved large town on the top of a hill, with steeply graded cobblestone streets lined with shops, restaurants, small hotels, and churches with their original facades and mostly their original interiors from two centuries ago.  Specializing in custom made jewelry with locally mined jems and a wide range of cooking and decorative items made with local "soapstone", there was much shopping to be done, with lots of negotiating and friendly exchange with local merchants.  I was also impressed that the town had many stores devoted to things that only locals would be interested in - home appliances, bedding, hardware, etc. - there were many tourists in town, but most were from Brazil, especially in July when the schools are out.

Our hotel was also quite different - because of the nature of the town, there weren't any hotels within the town with beds for 86 - in fact, even our buses had to park just outside of town and allow smaller vans to bring us into town.  So we stayed on a "farm-hotel" about 20 minutes outside of town in a beautifully wooded area on top of a mountain ridge - something like an Adirondack lodge but with tropical vegetation - and fabulous Brazilian food and wine - spectacular views, lots of beautiful places to walk, a friendly dog, and a very relaxed pace.  We all pinched ourselves to be in such an idylic location nearby such a fascinating, historical city! - TL
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