On the move again - Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto Travel Blog

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The street of our hotel at night - REALLY have to watch your footing.

4 August:
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.

View over the top of Ouro Preto.
  Not suitable for people with walking issues.  Had a wander around the town, which looks very scenic, and had dinner in a nice little restaurant/bar on the main plaza.  A musician was singing and playing guitar, so very pleasant and induced us to stay for almost 3 hours!

5 August:
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.

Noel´s favourite accessory from Ouro Preto - the one metre high ´tower of beer´!
  Then walked downhill to Nossa Senhora da Conceicao, designed by Aleijadinho´s father and built between 1727 and 1770.  Attached to the church is the Museo Aleijadinho, with a fascinating collection of religious art, sculptures, church items etc connected to or of the era of Aleijadinho.  There are excellent English translations of the information, so very interesting.  From here we walked down a little and then up a LOT to the church of Santa Efigenia do Pretos, apparently a fascinating church as it was built by and for slaves, but when we arrived a local man told us it was closed for a year for renovations!  Continued a little further to the Chapel of Padre Faria, a small church in honour of one of the bandeirantes who founded Brazil.  It is the oldest chapel here and has a triple-branched papal cross in the forecourt.
a typical Ouro Preto street.
  The bells here apparently rang for the rebel leader Tiradentes, when his executed body was taken to Rio in 1750.
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.
Museo Incofidencia on the Praca Tiradentes
  There are two floors of exhibits including art, furniture, silverware, religious items, clothing, documents and almost anything else relating to the time.  Everything is translated into English, and the presentation is superb.
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.

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The street of our hotel at night -…
The street of our hotel at night …
View over the top of Ouro Preto.
View over the top of Ouro Preto.
Noel´s favourite accessory from O…
Noel´s favourite accessory from …
a typical Ouro Preto street.
a typical Ouro Preto street.
Museo Incofidencia on the Praca Ti…
Museo Incofidencia on the Praca T…
A cute sight here - note the fake …
A cute sight here - note the fake…
Part of the soapstone market, Ouro…
Part of the soapstone market, Our…
The entrance to the graveyard at S…
The entrance to the graveyard at …
Note the small oratory on the corn…
Note the small oratory on the cor…
One of the many Ouro PReto churche…
One of the many Ouro PReto church…
Ornate interior of the NS do PIlar…
Ornate interior of the NS do PIla…
Ouro Preto
photo by: Paulovic