On the move again - Ouro Preto
Ouro Preto Travel Blog› entry 140 of 177 › view all entries
Spent most of today travelling. Tim dropped us at the airport at 8am for our 9am flight with Varig to Belo Horizonte, which ended up leaving at 10.30am after changing gates about 4 times (evidently fairly normal service for Varig!). Once in BH, we caught a bus from the airport to the central bus station (very easy to find, just walked straight out of the plane terminal, across the car park to the bus), then had to wait an hour for a new bus to Ouro Preto. The trip to Ouro Preto is fairly hilly, but that doesn´t slow the drivers down, so quite hairy at times. Arrived in Ouro Preto at 3pm and checked into our pousada - on a VERY steep street but very central, and everything here is steep.
LOTS of walking today, up and down some of the steepest town streets we´ve come across. And as they´re cobblestones, it is quite hard on your feet and legs (but looks lovely). First stop was the St Francis of Assisi Church to see the carvings by Aleijadinho - he did the whole exterior. The interior paintings are quite ornate, and everything is done directly onto the bare boards on the walls and ceilings - the boards were not plastered over so gives a very interesting texture with seams running through everything.
After a very long walk back to the centre of town, we looked around the soapstone market and bought a cute set of carved armadillos (or tatu, as they´re called here). Also checked out a few jewellery shops, until finally settling on a lovely pair of aquamarine earrings to match Melissa´s engagement ring (thanks, Noel!). After lunch, and just as the rain started down, we went to the Museu da Inconfidencia. The museum building is huge, and used to be jail, but now houses a fantastic collection relating to the Inconfidencia (the failed uprising against the Portuguese regarded as the beginning of Brazil´s fight for independence) - the bodies of Tiradentes and the twelve most important rebels have been brought here and placed into a mausoleum, along with an empty tomb for all of those who are unknown.
From here we ran across the plaza in the rain to the Museum of Mines to have a look at their collection of fossils, gemstones, rocks and mining equipment. The collection of gems and minerals is extensive, and you should definitely check out the display of fake gemstones before buying anything in the street outside! Nothing here is in English so no explanation for us. Dinner tonight in town again at another venue featuring man and guitar - it seems to be pretty standard here, and they all add a cover charge to pay for it.