Monday, April 20, 2009

MY RECENT TRIP TO THE HISTORY OF BRAZIL




This is the reason that I could not be so present in my emails writing to you and plan one of the most interesting trips of your life!!! THE TRIP TO BRAZIL!!!
But you always have to remember that a good tour guide has to research alot about his/her own land and always being able to provide new destinations and give new ideas for each guest who looks for you!!! So I have to travel, I have to write about places that I think it will be an unique experience when you travel to Brazil, and I do not really work just in Rio de Janeiro, but I work all over Brazil and this last weekend I travelled to our most important historical towns of Ouro Preto and Tiradentes:
And now you can read below my full report about these days:
I took this weekend to travel around my country and find out new locations for my tours, places that people like you will visit and they will add one more unique location for any trip that you can plan in Brazil.

I went not so far, around 6 hours away from Rio de Janeiro , that was a mix of work and leisure. I had to take one American couple from Colorado to Ouro Preto, one of the most fascinating historical cities in Latin America, I would say.The old city belongs to the State of Minas Gerais. One of the States of our Region with lots of traditions, lots of farm lands and lots of very beautiful villages in our countryside. The result is lots of wild nature, lots of history because every small city is an open air museum such as the very famous towns of Ouro Preto, Mariana, Tiradentes, Sabará and Congonhas do Campo.

So I got to Ouro Preto, Thursday, April 16th, after a long drive I got to Ouro Pretoo and left my guests in the beautiful cottage of Solar do Rosario (check website,
http://www.hotelsolardorosario.com.br/english/), very charming place and prices quite high, and I stayed in a cheaper one, also well located but prices really generous, the place is called POUSADA DOS BANDEIRANTES (see website, http://www.hotelpousadabandeirantes.com.br/welcome.htm) which I paid 70 reais (about 35 american dollars) and I booked the next day for my mother and Marcone, so the second day I paid 100 reais which is about 50 american dollars.

So the next day very early in the morning Marcone and my Mother came and we spend the all Friday, april 17th, strolling around Ouro Preto which I know quite well, we visited the steep and narrow streets, the city is very hilly and it has loads of barroc churches that shows you the magnificent of Barroc Art and the surroundings of green mountains are simply breathtaking.

The churches of São Francisco, the church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição which has a very interesting museum telling the history of an artist who made all the art and wooden work of these churches about 300 years ago, this man was called ALEIJADINHO, and in my personal opinion he is the BRAZILIAN VERSION OF MICHELANGELO and in the church there is a old man called AMILTON, he works in the maintenance of the museum, and with no charge he tells you very funny and interesting facts happened in the church and he also tells you very exclusive gossips about the city and its people. One hour of conversation with him is one hour of good laughing and you can feel his true love about his land!!!! More churches that you can see are the churches of Carmo next door to the busy and confusing Tiradentes Square and also the downhill church of Pilar , another impressive sample of our Portuguese Art.

Way before the Independence, Brazil was a very important colony of Portugal and Minas Gerais a real source of minerals, specially Gold, so big cities where settled during this time and they transferred all the facilities of a big town exactly like the urban cities of Lisbon and other cities of Portugal and Spain. So Ouro Preto was always a very rich city where all the most important characters of that time had their business.

Ouro Preto is also famous for its art in soap stones (some of the churches were covered by soap stones also) and close to São Francisco Church there is a wonderful SCULPTURES MARKET that you simply can’t miss!!!

We had a very busy day, going up and down, walking a lot, just like the old cities of Europe, the best way to see everything in Ouro Preto is simply walking, but sometimes the distances are so huge that the car helped a lot.

The evening came so fast and we had to meet my guests which became naturally my friends, for dinner. We were thinking about having dinner at CASA DOS CONTOS, one of the most traditional local food restaurant in Ouro Preto, but it was closed so we got to a very busy snack bar and we had dinner there, lots of time talking and having fun, my guests and my family, so incredible.

Late in the evening, Marcone had to take a bus back to Rio because of his work. He has to teach English in a private school in Copacabana, so he had to return and he went to Rio, seven hours drive, and he was back to Rio about 4 in the morning.

My mother and I stayed and we spent the night in Ouro Preto, I took this opportunity to rest in our very comfortable room (and very cheap) because our Saturday would be very busy as we planned to leave early to Tiradentes and then our way back home!
But the idea was spending some hours in Tiradentes, another jewel of our past heritage, one of the main historical towns in Brazil . Tiradentes is way more special because it is not so busy as Ouro Preto, the little village which in the early 1700’s where called São José do Rio das Mortes, it became TIRADENTES, because of a “national hero” who thought about making Brazil independent from Portugal for the first time but he did not succeed, he worked on that with a group called THE INCONFIDENTES, and they were defeated by the Portuguese, but this group became important because they belong to this region and they were known as real patriots, there is also a national holiday to celebrate and remember the death of this guy!

And we travel around the region and after 4 hours we get to Tiradentes!!! Wonderful small city with very rich art craft industry nand more very old cobbled stones streets and very old churchers and colonial houses!!! Tiradentes is easy to walk and every corner provides you an incredible surprise. And in the city we can easily notice the impressive presence of the INCONFIDENTES RANGE OF MOUNTAINS which is also a fantastic nature reserve!!!
So days can be spent in this region and you will never get bored, it will be your chance to be in touch with very nice people and get to know wonderful places in a Brazil that almost no foreigners have the chance to see!!!

And after lunch, and while in MINAS GERAIS, everywhere you go you can have delicious food. The State is famous for the incredible FARM FOOD…Wonderful meals with meat (beef, pork, chicken), endless variety of salads and the small of YOUR GRANDMA FOOD!!! I am serious, everyone remembers GRANDMA FOOD when they eat in Minas Gerais, and all over the country, MINEIRA FOOD or simply COMIDA MINEIRA, can be found and it is really appreciated among the Brazilians and I have taken all my guests to some restaurants when they visit Rio, and all I can say is that every visit to a restaurant with Comida Mineira is a real orgasm!!!

About 4:00 pm, my mother and I took the car and I drove all the way to Rio and I got to the city a little bit before 11:00 pm!!!
In my future postings I will write more and show you the pictures taken in these two incredible cities and you will know exactly what to do there!
You can find out more about Ouro Preto and Tiradentes, MR. GOOGLE will be glad to help you, but never with my personal insights.
Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner





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