Friday 1 February 2013

Ouro Preto in the rain

Ok so maybe coming to Brazil during the wet season was not the greatest idea in the world. I spent a day in Ouro Preto, probably the best preserved colonial former state capital in all of Brazil and I have never seen rain like it. They have an interesting approach to drainage in Brazil in that it all runs down the road in a torrent and collects at the bottom of the hill. Not great if you want to keep your feet dry, or if you are trying to drive up a steep cobbled street that has just turned into a river!

Founded in 1711, the town of Ouro Preto became fabulously became rich during a gold run in the 18th century, much of the wealth being used to build very elaborate churches. Many of these churches contain sculptures by Antonio Francisco Lisboa (generally know as O Aleijadinho, or the little cripple due to a maiming disease he developed in later life, thought to be leprosy), who is considered the Brazilian Michelangelo. He is certainly not in the same league as big Mike, but some of his work is very impressive. There are 13 churches in total, but I only visited two, which is more than enough. If I am honest I can never get too excited about Christian churches when travelling as they are a bit too similar to churches back home (apart from Ethiopia where they are totally unique). Think Buxton church, but with a bit more gold leaf and statues of the Virgin Mary.

Back to the coast now and fingers crossed the sun will return and it will warm up again. Only 23 degrees today, bit on the chilly side!        

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