November 2002

ihana.com - big trip - diary - brasil - october 2002

 

Ouro Preto

Town square

Lots of white buildings with brown roofs

Sunday 10 - Monday 11 November

At the crack of lunchtime on Sunday B set off on the 450km drive to Ouro Preto in the historic state of Minas Gerias, six hours north from Rio. There he met his muvvah and her friend Chris who are on the last leg of their 3 week Brasilian tour which also encompassed Manaus, Rio, Salvador, Foz de Igauzu and Belo Horizonte. Arriving late B joined the olds for a meal then found a campsite on the edge of town, but the gates were locked, so ended up camping for free in the driveway instead.

Engine...

...lowers the train...

...into the mine

Monday saw us head to the gold mine of Minas de Passagem which apparently has a huge system of tunnels but exploring is not allowed for tourists. Descent into the mine was on a little trolley type affair pulled up and down the rickety rails by an old engine. Nowadays the air is clean and the tunnels are well lit, probably a far cry from 18th century when the mine was worked mostly by black African slaves, many of who died dynamiting the gold and quartz. Much of the equipment used to work the mine came from England, and bits of mining kit made in places like Manchester and Cornwall can be seen quaintly decaying outside.

Rain is common here...

...as are volkswagens...

...and colonial type facades

 

Plenty of churches

 

Next stop was the nearby town of Mariana, architecturally much the same as its larger neighbour with lots of churches and colonial buildings. We headed back to Ouro Preto for a late lunch, the afternoon sightseeing put on hold for a couple of hours due to the massive storm which enveloped the town.

B found a cheap pousada with a great view over the town. Its an rambing old stone floored building with lots of strange corridors, spiral staircases and wooden beams.

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