Beautiful Belo Horizonte

The packing of my bag didn’t take very long! Discarded a lot of my ” rubbish”! I am allowed ten kilos of hand luggage on this flight, and I am determined to manage this!! The wonderful cleaner and cook at the hostel seemed very pleased with her bag of ” goodies”! Dear Amadeu had promised me on Friday a free ride to the airport! He also has very, very good wifi in his agency. So of the historic town I went! I have no idea WHY I thought it is ” incredibly” far! It all seems so close now!

The lovely driver, who took me on the weekend tour, also dropped me off at the airport! He spoke a bit of Spanish, and slowly in Portuguese, so we chatted all the way! I had been able to reduce my backpack to seven kilos! Very impressed!
This was also the first time, that I received a ” full body search”! It must have been the dread locks!! But no, it was my knee brace setting of all the alarms! Oops!

I paid an extra couple of dollars to have a roomy window seat, it is only a three hour flight, but I saved a lot on the taxi, so there you go! Who would walk on board but Raoul and Mauro? This is so exiting! I had just published the story about him missing the boat! Oops! Plus I put his photo, that I took, on line as well! I normally DO ask people if they mind! But I didn’t have their contact details, so couldn’t!

The flight went quick. All movies are dubbed over in Portuguese so I picked the Life of Pi, which I have seen many times, so I know what is going on. Before the movie finished we were ready to land. I took a bus from the air port and arrived at the bus station an hour later. The first thing I noticed was how incredibly clean this town was compared to Manaus and Belem. I didn’t see any rubbish until I got to the bus station itself. Then a taxi to the hotel and check in.

The room was simple. Single bed, which is very unusual. Hot, hot water in the shower! After sending loads of messages to Vitor, his family and Nina’s friends, I finally went to bed at eleven at night! Slept like a babe, another very hot shower and an amazingly good breakfast buffet, one of the best so far! Vitor’s dad, Jayme, was coming to pick me up! I was invited to stay with them! A room had been prepared for me! I didn’t expect this at all. I thought may be a meal together or a few drinks one night, instead the Brasilian hospitality showed itself in full force!

Jayme and Liane took me out for a buffet lunch with all the special foods from the province of Minas Gerais. After my huge breakfast I overdid the lunch, as it all looked very delicious! In the evening we went to a pub to drink some local beer from the area. That night my stomach let me know that this was NOT the way to live anymore and I paid for it all with terrible stomach cramps all night! Bummer!!

On Wednesday I had planned to go to Inhotim, the largest out door gallery space in the world! Jayme dropped me off in the morning and I spend the whole day in artist heaven!! It was totally impossible to see it all. There are over twenty galleries. Each with their own exhibitions. My most favourite was the black and white photography from Claudia Andujar. A Swiss born artist ( Claudine Haas) who lived with the Yanomami, in the village of Maturaca (Amazonia) for over seven years. Her photos were just awesome! I took photos on my camera of the black and white photos, I spend a lot of time in this gallery and it was by far my favourite.

A lot of the art were video installations, in the dark, I felt I was living in the dark as most of it I didn’t understand! The complex is so incredibly huge that in the end it was my legs that decided where I would go to! Several of the pavilions were closed due to exhibition changes. Some of the galleries had long queues waiting to enter. These I skipped altogether, as I had only limited time. I have learned in my life that it is humanly impossible to see all that life has to offer us, one needs to make choices all the time! Although I do my best to see as much as I can, I am aware of my personal limitations.

The grounds of Inhotim are also impressive. Many artificial lakes reflect the pavilions into the water. Creating spectacular images for photographs. I wish I had taken more notes, but by the end it became a survival of slowly going from one to the next with the least amount of pain! There were small tourists carts driving around, but I should have bought my ticket at the entrance, which is interesting as there was nobody at the entrance when I arrived! All together it was an amazing day spend in fabulous surroundings, seeing so much creativity made me one to go home and draw and paint again!

The next day I had planned to go to Ouro Preto, but as I had a late start Liane and I decided to spend the day at Liberty square. What an amazing place that is! In the centre of the town is a huge park, with all old, and new, buildings surrounding a square. Each building has a museum or a gallery. We spend hours in the museum and afterwards we found out that there was a retrospective exhibition of Paul Klee in one of the galleries. As he is one of my favourite artists, I thoroughly enjoyed spending time looking, studying and enjoying these beautiful works.

Afterwards we went out and had lunch, I was in desperate need for a strong coffee, to keep the body moving. In the afternoon we went to the Fiat exhibition, were I saw my very first car on show, a Fiat 500, except mine had the door handle at the other side! I also took a photo of a sculpture and was told off, no photos! Interesting as the Paul Klee had no such restrictions except that you were not allowed to take “selfies” at the exhibition! Go and figure!

Exhausted, wanting to go home, but being close to the ninety year old market, we pushed on. The market was amazing! Lots of products, especially from Minas Gerais, were avaiLable for tasting. Lots of sweets, cheese and alcohol to taste. Some good, some bad and some down right ugly! After so much fun it was time to ” vamos toma uma ” to go and have a drink!! Liane and I shared a cold beer at the bar! Another fabulous day had passed!!

I am so enjoying this town. And Brasil, it will be hard to leave next week!! My last day I had planned to go and visit the old colonial town of Ouro Preto. A small town two hours away. Still the same way as over three hundred years ago. Jayme and I had gotten up early journey would take two hours by bus. Jayme asked if I had my passport on me, to buy the ticket. Hey? You need a passport for that! I had a copy and I know the number, that should do it. Except when I came to the busstation at 6.30 am and my copy was nowhere to be found ( it was in my other note book, I had bought a new one!!) and without photo ID one can NOT travel in Brasil. You live and learn every day.

It took awhile but I managed to catch a bus back to the family s home, pick up my passport and Jayme returned me to the bus station! Feeling incredibly stupid, exhausted and grumpy I was in the colonial town at twelve thirty. It was worth it! The little town was an absolute gem. Lots of restored old buildings, little churches every where. Two art galleries, museum and lots of old cobble stone streets. Ouro Preto is famous for its sandstone sculptures, and there was a huge market selling lots of sand stone products.

All much too heavy, must keep my backpack under ten kilos, so I didn’t buy anything. However it was wonderful watching the stone carvers at work! Wandering up and down the uneven cobble stone streets was enjoyable only for a few hours! After five hours it was exhausting. I caught the six o clock bus back to BH. Caught a taxi home and spend a wonderful evening with the family. Tomorrow I am catching a bus to Macae, where I will meet my friend Gina. The sad part being that Vitor is coming home tomorrow, and again I will miss him to say good bye!
This is a hard part of travel, you make new friends, only to move on again, never knowing if we see each other again!!

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Belo Horizonte in pictures.

2 Comments

  1. Nina

    Hi Ineke !!
    I loved, loved, loved reading this blog !!!! It’s soooo wonderful to read about a friend visiting these incredibly exotic and unbelievably fascinating cities that I’ve been to as well !!! You would have loved young Thais if you’d met but you’re never lonely my dear or short on new friends !!! That’s wonderful that people put you up there. I loved Brazilian breakfasts, the juices are incredible. OMG, the food that Gabriel’s mum prepared for me and the Tacaca and regional dishes I ate up there were amazing !! Every morning Claudette made different fresh juices, and cinammon water, kiwi fruit and apple, and the amazing tropical Amazon fruits !!! We’ll have to meet to swap photos when you’re back in SA !! Oh, she prepared unsweetened Acai for me – gee it was earthy and strong, such exotic foods in Brazil. It’s beauty and charms are endless. I stayed in a nice hotel in Belo Horizonte and enjoyed their fabulous breakfasts there too. Thais’ mum had cancer treatment at the time so I didn’t stay with her…. Enjoy your last days in Sao Paulo Ineke, take care of your knee and safe travels back to Oz. Your blogs have been incredible, xoxoxo

    • ineke

      Thank you sooooooooo much Nina! I went to Belo Horizonte because of your stories! I am soooo sorry I didn’t get to catch up with your friend, but I just ran out of time!! I have fallen in love with Brasil and the Brasilian people!! i will be down south the end of October. Would absolutely LOVE to catch up with you!! Hugs and kisses ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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