Muito Chuva

March 3, 2010

The drive from Tiradentes back to Belo-Horizonte was treacherous, and Scott’s the hero, for sure.  Since I (still, embarrassingly) don’t drive stick, he had to do the whole thing himself.

The visibility was awful and there were huge trucks everywhere.  The roads didn’t drain well with all of that rain, and hydroplaning in our little Fiat seemed likely.  Now we’re back in Sao Paulo, in the home stretch of our Brazil experience.

Tiradentes in Pictures

March 3, 2010

Scott didn’t bring his camera out much because it rained for most of the time that we were in Tiradentes, but here are a few photos.

Bichinho

March 2, 2010

We just got back to Tiradentes from Bichinho–a small artist community about seven kilometers down a bumpy, stone-paved road.  We had lunch at Tempero da Angela, a small restaurant that was mentioned in the New York Times article (and is subsequently full of gringoes).  We parked behind a few other rental cars and walked into the cement patio where there were tables with bright table cloths.  Inside the kitchen there was a big wood-burning stove with a platter of pork, chicken stew with okra, rice, beans, a corn pudding type thing, potatoes, couvee, a Brazilian kale-like vegetable, and aipim.  We walked in and grabbed plates off the hutch to the right and silverware from the drawers.  There was a big bowl of crispy pork-rinds (something I NEVER thought I would eat or like, but they were kind of amazing), and a cart with desserts–white Minas cheese and homemade dulce de leche and goiaba paste.  It was all delicious and about $7 per person.  Here’s Scott’s plate.  It turns out that Minas is a place for eating.

Afterwards, we poked in and out of the artist studios and looked at the incredible wooden furniture that’s all over this area.  They’re mostly big, rustic pieces in gorgeous woods, and we’ve been trying to figure out if it’s worth the expense of shipping something home.  It would help if we knew where we were living next and what kind of space we would have.

Chazinha

March 2, 2010

When I wrote about Tiradentes yesterday, I forgot to mention one of the best things about our beautiful hotel: Afternoon Tea.  The hotel is owned by a British man and his Brazilian wife, and at 4.45pm every day, there’s traditional afternoon tea.  It was pouring rain here, and the strong black tea, made from loose leaves and served in a silver pot was entirely restorative.  There were also paes de queijo and small shortbread cookies, excellent strawberry jam.  It seemed so simple and civilized.

I’ve thought about opening a bed and breakfast for a long time and as we’ve stayed in all of these different places through our travels I’ve taken little mental notes about little touches that make such a difference to the guest.  If you’re a place that serves breakfast anyway, the cost of having tea must be so negligible, and it’s so nice.  Especially in a country where the custom is to eat dinner late.  I’m a fan.  Maybe it’s just my English side shining through.

The Road to Tiradentes

March 2, 2010

Our drive today was beautiful.  There were rolling green hills and valleys with picturesque farms, green pastures dotted with cows (particularly comforting as I just read Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and am loosely considering veganism, sort of).  The hills, really anywhere that earth is exposed, are bright red with iron deposits.  This whole area of Minas Gerais is part of the antiquated Brazilian gold and mineral routes from the coast to the interior.  Tiradentes itself is a very charming town with restored historic buildings.  We’re staying in an old mansion that feels like a home, and had a delicious, comforting mineiro lunch.  It’s all a welcome contrast from the beaches with their bleached our light and rasta feel.  It’s nice to be where it’s cool, and old, in the mountains.  Pictures to come tomorrow.

Tiradentes

March 1, 2010

For those of you who have been following our adventures through Brazil.  We’re going to Tiradentes today.  Seth Kugel, the New York Times writer based in Sao Paulo, wrote about it in October in the Latin America focused travel section.  The article is here.