If you haven’t noticed, São Paulo has a lot of holidays. November has been extra special because it had the special “bridge” holiday where Thursday, Nov. 15 and Tuesday, Nov. 20 were both holidays so many people take off from Thursday – Tuesday which is super sweet because you get a 6 day weekend and two 3 day work weeks. Obviously we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to explore more of Brazil so Michael planned a fabulous trip for us to the state of Minas Gerais.
Our first stop in Minas Gerais was to the capital city, Belo Horizonte. Belo Horizonte is the third largest city in Brazil (following São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) and is about an hour and a half flight from us. The population of the city is about 2.5 million and it’s amazing how SMALL it felt coming from SP.
Also, there is this amazing little thing in Brazil called pão de queijo (bread of cheese). Pão de queijo originated in Minas Gerais and they are known for having the best so… we may or may not have researched to find the best pdq spots along our tour and stopped to eat at all of them. Here is a bit of our trip to BH:
Walking around — Another thing that Minas Gerais is famous for is its production of local cachaça – also known as pinga. Palácio da Liberdade
In their main square they have a giant digital countdown for the World Cup — love the enthusiasm! — unfortunately the camera couldn’t capture the digital part… We really enjoyed the local museum and would totally recommend checking it out if you visit: Memorial Minas Gerais Vale. (Free and very interesting!) Inside of the museum:Cachaça room in the museum: Next we headed to the local market (mercadão). The market is a must-see — they have EVERYthing. We entered in the animal section and were greeted by chickens, puppies, fish, kittens, birds, rabbits and everything in between. The market also sold everything from clothing to gifts and souvenirs to household items to lots and lots of food including every kind of meat and cheese, spices, nuts, candies, and more. They also had a few cafes — two of which had some great pão de queijo. PDQ Stop #3 for the day at Donna Diva.PDQ Stop #4: Sabores & Ideas.
Before leaving the market, we stopped for a couple of tasty local beers at Botiquin do Antonio. That evening, Michael and I met up with Luiz – a Brazilian attorney who Michael initially connected with at a conference and with whom he has since become buds. Luiz currently lives in São Paulo but is originally from Belo Horizonte and he was home, visiting family for the holiday. It was so cool to have a local show us around that evening. Luiz gave us a great driving tour of the city and then we went to a really cool bar for drinks followed by dinner at a restaurant that served very traditional Minas Gerais food — chicken stews of sorts that were delicious. However, our first stops were at a couple of amazing lookout points that give a dramatic and beautiful view of the city. Michael and Luiz: **UP NEXT: Our next stop in Ouro Preto!**