Saturday, August 31, 2013

Michael Palin's Visit to Belo Horizonte

What I should really do is catch up on some posts, especially about our trip in July to Fazenda Cachoeira, an organic coffee plantation in the south of Minas Gerais.  But in the meanwhile, this will have to do.  

Sebastian has a wonderful friend named Ian.  One time my husband mentioned to Ian's dad that he loved coffee.  Ian's dad is related to the owner of Academia do Café (which by they way, this process of making the connection to how you know something is SOOOOO Mineiro [something that people from Minas Gerais do]) and highly recommended a visit.  I visited their website the other day, and found this great video from Michael Palin's visit to Brazil in 2012.  I love the shots in the Mercado Central, and the fact that he ONLY visited Academia do Café while he was in our town.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Macacos or São Sebastião das Aguas Claras

Hello!  Finally catching up on my posts from the July vacation.  It was a very, very nice vacation.  I enjoyed the kids.  I got to get out of town (hooray!), I read a lot, and I relaxed.  

One of the highlights was a day trip we took to nearby Macacos, or São Sebastião das Aguas Claras (one town, two names).  I first heard about it about 9 months ago from some friends who said they went hiking there.  I tried to find some info online, but no luck.  I mentioned to another friend that we were going, and they said that it was not really a great place for kids.  It has lots of Pousadas for couples getting a way for the weekend, but not a lot of attraction for children.  With that little bit of information, I decided to risk it.  Plus Matt was working, so I could spare him my crazy adventure thing and only irritate the kids.

You take the BR-40 going towards Rio (go past BH Shopping).  Take the exit for São Sebastião das Aguas Claras (google maps is very clear if you need more details).  There is also a bus (3915) that you could catch , but I don't know where it drops you off.  Once we got into town, we just followed the main road until we saw the creek.  There are signs everywhere that say "no parking," but since it was a Thursday morning, we took the risk.  

Thanks for carrying me across, mom.

That is a restaurant in the background.

The creek there is ok, lots of trash, lots of people coming and going, and the trail on the other side is dirty dirty dirty.  We walked for about 10 minutes before I decided that I'd seen enough empty beer bottles.  Not worth it.  

I convinced the kids to get back in the car, and explore some more.  We took the narrow dirt road that was on the other side of the creek (and the restaurant you see behind Dora in the above picture).  We drove for about 15 minutes, past several entrances for pousadas and fazendas.  Finally I came to a wide spot in the road, and I parked.  It was right by the entrance to Banana's Sitio:

Not sure what Bea is doing
The kids were hungry, but there wasn't really a "nice" place to picnic.  So we just climbed up the hill above where we parked and found a relatively flat spot and sat in the weeds.  There was lots of complaining and not enough napkins.  But I love me my picnics, and the view was great!

After that, we decided just to take the dirt road and walk for a bit.  It was a good thing we had stopped and parked where we did, because about 100 feet from where the car was, the road had been washed out, and it would have been impossible to go any further, not to mention to try to turn around.  There was lots of gravel, and a couple of tumbles (more complaining).  Lots of "where are we going?" and "I hate hiking" and "I'm hot."  But then we found this cool rock:
It was a kind of flaking, soft rock
And some flowers:
Funny how the biggest complainer looks the happiest in the pictures

We walked another 10 minutes or so, and we found the creek.  And it was beautiful!  A little trash, but it wasn't so bad.  We threw rocks in the water, made leaf boats, took our shoes off and waded, laughed, found cool rocks, and got very dirty.  It was perfect, exactly how I'd hoped to spend the afternoon.

Sebastian's shoes were black before the hike.
After a few hours of playing, we hiked back to the car and drove home in less than 45 minutes.  Next time we'll go back with Matt!