A Travellerspoint blog

January 2008

Black gold in misty rain

Fairytales from Brazil


View MAP OF THE JOURNEY on AnnaMickus's travel map.

Ouro Preto (Black Gold) is a colonial town in the state of Minas Gerais. There is a legend that tells about a servant in an early expedition close to where Ouro Preto is today. While the servant was drinking from a river he found some pieces of black metal that he put in his pocket. It turned out to be gold. But the exact location of the river was forgotten. In 1698 the location was rediscovered and the town was hit by gold fever. The mines there were the largest in the Western Hemisphere.

Many people have recommended Ouro Preto as a good town for celebrating carnaval in, so we decided to have a look if we agreed. The idea was to spend a few days of the carnival here and the rest in Rio.

Ouro Preto lies at an elevation of 1179m in the Serra do Espinhaco range, and that could really be noticed when we stepped out of the bus: it was cold, misty and raining. Our favorite weather!(not) Well we decided to give it a chance anyway.

We found a really nice pousada to stay in. It sits on top a hill and has a marvellous view over the town. The whole town is built upon several hills and the streets can be really narrow and steep. It kind of resembles a combination of some swiss mountain village and some old European town like Brygge in Belgium. It really is beautiful and could probably offer a lot if the weather was better.

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View from the pousada

Because of the crappy weather we haven't really been able to do any sightseeing. We managed, though, to have a look at a church, Igreja de São Francisco de Assis, which is supposed to be one of the most important pieces of Brazilian colonial art. The whole exterior of the church was carved by Antônio Fransisco Lisboa, aka Aleijadinho (Little Cripple), who suffered from some terrible disease that made him loose his fingers, toes and the use of his lower legs. Well I'd say pretty good carving he did withou any fingers:

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Sightseeing in the rain. Check out the raincoat!

We talked to some local people about the carnival and it turns out that the town is a univeristy town full of students, and that the carnival is mostly student parades and student parties with endless drinking (all you can drink beer etc). We also talked to a local girl about the weather. She said it usually is really warm this time of the year, but of some reason it has been rainy and misty for a long time now. Then we checked the weather report and the 10 day forecast was: rain, rain and rain. Well a carnival in a rainy town with drunken students isn't really what we are looking for so: Rio de Janeiro, here we come!

Posted by AnnaMickus 11:59 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)