Part of the walk to the first waterfall.
Did a jeep tour to the surrounding hills today. Collected by our driver at 10.30am and headed along the old gold trail with the other 4 in our group. Our driver didn´t speak English, but between POrtuguese and Spanish we worked it out. At some points, he would speak Spanish to explain something and we would then translate into English for the two Greek guys on the trip - quite funny, actually! The trip took us to 3 lovely waterfalls with swimming lagoons, but the water was absolutely freezing. At the first pond, a small snake slithered across the foot of the Brazilian guy in our group, so we decided we would seek other locations - amazing how quickly the water cleared of people, though! The last swimming hole was actually called `Surf the Rocks`because the local lads would go sliding barefoot down the slippery rock face into the water at the bottom, all at breakneck speed and incredibly dangerous-looking.
Noel & our guide - the two amigos!
Don´t think our travel insurance would have covered us for this activity. Also visited a 17th century fazenda, now run as a restaurant, museum, pinga distillery and adventure centre. The museum is very good, lots of everyday items from the past couple of hundred years, and we could also look at the animals on the small farm. Interesting to see the old-fashioned way of distilling pinga, next to the modern way, and see that the only thing that has really changed is having a stainless steel vat instead of a ceramic one. Had lunch at a restaurant tucked away in the forest called Villa Verde - lovely home-made pasta, we just had a simple butter and sage sauce. A spectacular setting, so very pleasant way to pass an hour. Last stop was another pinga distillery, where we bought some local sweets and chewed on raw sugar cane.
Went into a little restaurant in the historic centre tonight for dinner - another lovely pasta dish for Melissa, with so many prawns in it she almost couldn´t find the pasta! A lady was singing and playing guitar - very nice, although the R5pp cover charge is a bit steeper here than in Ouro Preto