Amongst the beautifully maintained and restored churches, offices, houses and modern museums in Oreo Preto we stumbled across the restored “opera house and theatre”. This is not Sydney! It was rather a delightful “miniature” of the European opera houses but built in entirely in timber, no bricks, mortar or stone work, let alone marble. It had 2 tiers of dress circles and a ” royal box” at the back wall.
Osley and I both performed on the stage! I did a small song and dance routine- to rapturous applause.
We also visited an old underground gold mine. Descended on the old pulley/cable train.
On the second day in Oreo Preto we also walked, without a guide, in the local national park. Rather dry and very hot! A bit like a walk in the Flinders Ranges. We found a small waterfall and pool so had a “swim”. We did not get lost and obviously survived all the wildlife that Brazil could throw at us on the day!
The pousada (hotel) at which we stayed in Oreo Preto was a beautifully restored old Hotel 4 star and filled with antiques! No sarcastic comments please! We had a room which was basically in the attic almost! But not basic by any means!
These historical towns and villages were invariably built on the highest hill in the area, so the cobbled streets to some extent go up and down like a smaller layout of San Francisco!
Tiradentes is an even smaller village about 80 km further away from Oreo Preto and rather unusually is nestled on flat land but beneath a long soaring mountain ridge, which we climbed – as is our custom to date. That’s not to say that the locals managed to build a large church on a modest “incline”, within the village.
The ornate church housed the sole remaining organ of a renowned portuguese organ builder from the 18th century. By lucky coincidence there was an organ recital on Friday night so we went along! Varied programme of conventional western 16 and 17th organ music including of course J.S.Bach.
At Tiradentes we stayed at another great hotel. – Pousada Solar da Ponte. This was an abandoned, neglected and half completed mansion, stumbled upon by a dapper and friendly Englisman and his portuguese wife almost 40 years ago! They purchased it, financed it’s completion into a 4 star pousada! The owner, John, now in his 80 s was a chatty delightful host.
The mandatory walk of each village was our intention in Tiradente, to climb up and along the mountain ridge and down at the other end. John also recommended a guide, advice we chose to turn down, the only time we should have paid the miserable pittance for a guide! Basically we negotiated the way up and all along the ridge for a distance of perhaps 6 to 8 km. But buggered if we could find the way down at the other end! The light was fading, we had consumed our heated bananas and were down to the last few sips of water. So rather than waste time and effort to try and find the elusive way down, we backtracked. By this time I was covered in scratches and charcoal dust as there had been a recent bushfire. I was also rather sweaty and no doubt smelly! So I suspect I presented a rather wild and frightening visage to any passerby! The chance of a passerby seemed remote until like mountain goats, 3 young men in Nikes and shorts, bared chested and sweaty, nimbly run up the rock strewn cliffs from the direction that we had just unsuccessfully negotiated the path down!
I am not sure who was the most surprised by this meeting on the mount! Anyway they described how the path went down leaving us feel irritated, frustrated and stupid! Add this to our blood and sweat, no wonder tears were not easily suppressed. As we had by then almost reached the way we had ascended at the beginning and dusk was descending, we decided to not go back and find this invisible trail. Besides traveling down with 3 young men seemed safer! Sadly I at least had no chance of keeping up!
My time in Brazil and indeed this extended holiday is coming to an end ! A final blog may follow!