Gemstorm begins with a Mineralogical Museum tour.

Trip Start Aug 21, 2009
Trip End Sep 01, 2009

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Minas Gerais,
Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 1
Lagoa Santa / Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
August 21, 2009 10:00 a.m. ( local time )
Day 1 – August 21– Friday  : Arrival in Belo Horizonte. Arriving Belo Horizonte, you will be met at the airport "Confins".

Start with a tour of the city of Belo Horizonte and a visit to the Mineralogical Museum of Belo Horizonte (Professor Djalma Guimarães Museum of Mineralogy).

Enroute visit to interesting geological outcrops on the way driving to Ouro Preto.

Today was one of those lucky days...

Everything worked like a chime: flight on time at 8:35am, picking up the Zealey couple at the hotel at 8:30am; arriving at the Mineralogy Museum in Belo Horizonte at 10:30am; lunch by the pool at the restaurant "Chão de Minas" with the best traditional local food in a quiet an very pleasant location where we also visited a "cachaça" distilery at noon time (old equipment kept alive), this is Geotourism; arrive at the "Capão Mine", the only commercial operated imperial topaz mine in the world at 2:00pm, sharply! CONTINUE ON NEXT ENTRY...

Overnight in Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil, at the Bed & Breakfast Sinhá Olimpia.

Belo Horizonte

Since the planned uprising of the Inconfidentes in 1789, the residents of the state had dreamed of a capital that would open a new historical chapter. The initiative to wipe the slate clean of Portuguese influence came at the end of the 19th century with the proclamation of the
republic. The first planned modern city in Brazil modeled its streets on the wide avenues of Paris and Washington, and on their circular city centers. In 1893 the head of the state, Afonso Pena, proclaimed the site for the new capital. The Cidade de Minas (city of Minas) was
established in 1897, when Ouro Preto, because of its mountainous geography, could no longer afford a population expansion. The city planning was overseen by the engineer Aarão Reis. In 1906 the city assumed its current name of Belo Horizonte.

Today Belo Horizonte, the third-largest city in Brazil after Rio and São Paulo, is distinguished by its politics and its contributions to the arts. In the early 20th century the Brazilian political system was referred to as Café com Leite ("coffee with milk"), because the presidency was
alternately held by natives of São Paulo (where much of Brazil's coffee is produced) and natives of Minas Gerais (the milk-producing state). The current system is more diverse, but mineiros are still influential in the country's politics. Minas Gerais is home to some of the most respected Brazilian theater and dance companies and some of Brazil's most famous pop bands. The artistic tradition is emphasized by the many festivals dedicated to all forms of art, from comic books to puppet theater and short movies to electronic music. The arts and nightlife scene, along with the stunning modern architecture, are reasons to visit Belo Horizonte before or after traversing Minas Gerais's peaceful countryside.

Mineralogy Museum Prof. Djalma Guimarães

This museum, known as "Rainha da Sucata" or Queen of Scrap Iron, is located in a futuristic building that is distinct from all the other buildings in the Praça da Liberdade. It has been the most controversial and polemic building in the city. This is in itself an interesting tourist
attraction. Inside, there is an extensive collection of almost three thousand pieces. Around 800 of these are on display, picturing the importance of mining in Minas Gerais.

The exhibits comprise the various minerals found all over the world, their sources, uses and
modern day applications.Diamonds, topaz, aquamarines and other rare minerals, along quartzite, slate, metal sheets and other industrial mineral sub-products are displayed in pedestals. Featured is one of the world's biggest (14 million years old) Desert Rose (Gypsum).

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