Wednesday 5th March 2014
Rio de Janeiro to Ouro Preto, Brazil
We had an early breakfast today in the hotel and were all packed up into the truck and left the city by about 7:45am. There were a few tearful farewells as a few partners were separated because one was continuing on the trip and the other was leaving to go home. We headed out to the north and once we left the city we climbed into very green hills and winding roads. After the chaos of Rio, it was very different today. We had lunch by the side of the road – the oldies on the trip (11 of us) prepared the lunch while the newbies were shown details of the truck – where everything was packed what all the lockers were for etc. We drove on through the day gradually climbing higher. We stopped in the late afternoon at a town and went to the supermarket for supplies and soon arrived in the town of Ouro Preto (Black Gold in Portuguese). Our campsite was about 2-3km from the town and by about 5:45pm we had arrived there and set up our tents. The campground is all grass and fairly nice. It is a lot cooler here than in Rio and less humid. Tonight was only about 19°C so it was very pleasant in the tent. Ouro Preto was the site of a gold rush in about 1750 and was larger than New York City in that time. By about 1800, the gold had mostly petered out, but the city has some really amazing colonial buildings, cobbled streets that are very steep and many churches, museums and the like. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a town that many tourists visit. The setting is beautiful.
Thursday 6th March 2014
Ouro Preto, Brazil
We had a cooked breakfast this morning with fruit. David fried the eggs for the group and it was a really nice change from the first part of the trip where breakfast was always very hit or miss. Most people in the group decided to go to the town today to explore. Some went by taxi and others walked down the hill then up into the town. We explored the old streets and looked at churches, had a look in the markets and had lunch in a small restaurant. We then walked slowly back to the camp. Some people had been to one of the old mines, but most had just strolled around. It was a very pleasant day, mostly overcast, sometimes a few drops of rain, about 26°C. Once back at camp, Lynn had to do her task for this leg of the trip – truck cleaning – and we had an aperitif. After our day in the town, in early evening a storm came over and it rained quite a bit. Dinner is being cooked and we are sitting in our tent listening to the rain, which fortunately does not seem to be coming in anywhere. The rain continued to fall lightly until we went to bed and some of the group had leaky tents so they had to sleep on the truck.