Magical Ouro Preto

Magical Ouro Preto

We rolled out of Chefe Jeffe’s little beach abode in Serra Grande exactly a week ago with two surf boards tied to the roof and our journey talisman protector, Iamanjá, on the dashboard of Jeff’s little car azuleta. Saying our goodbyes to the magical state of Bahia, we drove for several days to get to the dreamy town of Ouro Preto in the state of Minas Gerais. Known for its sweeping mountains painted in every hue of emerald green, quaint homes neatly stacked on top of one another, an abundance of crystals and precious stones, and its aged beauty as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ouro Preto did not disappoint us.

The road to get there was both beautifully inspiring and frightfully dangerous at the same time. I can honestly say it was the scariest road trip I’ve ever been on – passing huge trucks on windy one lane highways, barely making it back into our lane before huge trucks smashed into us head on. Or the awesome potato chip trucks called “PUNC” which nearly rear ended us so aggressively that we practically got eaten alive from behind. Totally par for the course here, and yet wild and risky business if you ask me (or any sane person for that matter). I’d end each long day on the road feeling grateful for our lives.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Once we were off the busy roads and into the magnificent green country hills, it was breathtakingly magnificent with huge stone faces jutting up, misty mountains, and Mata Atlântica forest with flowers of gold, purple, orange and white. After 3 days and 2 nights on the road we finally made it to the jewel in the crown – Ouro Preto. Pure eye candy, ancient churches sit perched atop hills, glowing in the sunset light. It was a particularly perfect time to experience the town the week before Easter since during Holy Week most of the gorgeous, antiquated buildings have vibrant sheets of all colors hang out their windows! What a site to behold. We were even blessed enough to see a procession starting from a glorious church move down the cobble stone roads, with little girls dressed up as angels and priests holding all kinds of crosses to the sky saying their prayers. If we had stayed just a week longer we could have witnessed the famous Semana Santa flower petal ritual that is considered one of the most traditional ceremonies in Brasil.

One of the key highlights of Ouro Prêto was all the amazing gem and crystal shops on every corner! Heaven. Erol and I spent hours in gem shops learning about tourmaline from Paraiba (the stone in my engagement ring which we learned is one of a kind and very special), emeralds, rubies, agua marina, topaz, etc. until we found the perfect color scheme, price, shape and size of a few small gems we purchased for our wedding bands!

Paprika Sales Man in Open Market

Paprika Sales Man in Open Market

Another full day’s driving carried us to Buzios, which we renamed Bourgeos for its over the top tourist vibe. Despite the intensely thick layer of tourism, Buzios has real raw beauty and feels a bit like the Mediterranean with turquoise waters and yachts. I detest tourist traps, but was determined to get over it and enjoy the lovely beaches until I caught a flu bug of some sort from all the bread, cheese and sugar, which made me grumpy…but not for long! The real reason we made the trek to Buzios was for Erol to play one of my dad’s good friends, Nigel the terrible, in a fiercely competitive match of tennis. After a lot of shit talking from the old boys club peanut gallery (my dad, Nigel the terrible and Mr. Kirsch), Erol slayed the poor Englishman on an incredible court overlooking the ocean.

Last night we arrived to my magical amiga Lee’s penthouse apartment in Rio de Janeiro. She unfortunately just left for a month in Cali, so we missed her but she hooked us up fat! The full moon is rising above the outdoor balcony where there is a hammock, a hula hoop, couches, and an outside shower. We are only one block from the beach and a few more from a gorgeous lake. Thirteen stories below, Babylon grinds on. I’m not much of a city girl, but Rio de Janeiro has real character. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel well enough to explore and get back to my routine of lekker açaí na tigela!

Advertisements