Monday, February 09, 2009

Last day in Ouro Preto . . .

It’s our last morning at Pouso do Chico Rei. Today we take the omnibus along the Royal Way, a road built in the mid 1700s to haul gold to Portugal. Sometimes I look at these mountains surrounding this isolated town of Ouro Preto and wonder how the bandierantes, those intrepid Portuguese traders and explorers, found gold here, the mine’s location marked by the strange “finger of god” mountain (seen in the background of this pic of Ouro Preto).

Yet the town remains, isolated for so many years, protected as a colonial national monument since 1913, and now a town of 6,000, augmented at times by tourists, and simply beautiful. Saturday morning as we yet again admired the hillside views out our window, two small parrots came by, squabbling all the way.

Here we explored the Casa do Contos, the counting house, a veritable three story palace with walls in the old style, two feet thick, a library and hand painted faux marble on the second floor, and slave quarters in the basement. A great crack of thunder led to a downpour. As rain slicked cobblestone streets, we rested our feet, grateful to be inside, to sit on the stone stairs in one place.

Today we leave for Foz Iguassu, a land of majestic waterfalls, a bird park and butterflies – and three bus rides of about 27 hour duration. I will hope for internet along the way.

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