We started off the day in Ouro Preto (Eric and I have toured it once before on our own and took lots of pictures then.) A little after noon, we drove over to another another colonial town, Mariana, that is very close to Ouro Preto. Bragaia and Lilian didn't care to go inside any of the churches, so Eric and I refrained from our usual tourist frenzy of trying to take it all in and see all that we can possibly see. But, we really want to go back to Mariana sometime so we can see the inside of some of these churches!
In all of the colonial towns we've visited in Minas Gerais, there are always churches build right across and/or beside the main government building. In this square, there was this church, along with one other, and the original municipal building. I don't think there was a separation of church and state back in the 1700's! (Or at least, not in the design of the cities.)
This church was caddy-corner to the one above.
And this was the original government building which sits directly across from the church above.
This statue is in the center of the square and, if I understood the placard correctly (in Portuguese), this is where public punishment took place. Which would also explain the balance and sword too. I didn't get it in this picture, but there were metal chains and rings built into the statue where it looks like they must have tied up the criminals. Don't you know people must have thought twice before committing crimes back then ("Now let that be a lesson to the rest of you!" Yikes! Maybe going back to that could lower the crime rate though?!?)
This is a view down the street from the main square shown above. Especially interesting to notice is the large stadium they are taking down. (See the green steel beams?) One of the locals was telling us that someone (or maybe some group? I don't know, I got what I could from it, but my Portuguese isn't perfect yet!) decided it was really taking away from the colonial charm of the town and has ordered it to be taken down. And actually, if you look at the view of the city (the second picture of the post) you can see what is remaining of the stadium in the top right part of the photograph. Given it's location and setting, I can see how it might stand out as an eye sore! And actually, before we got down into town, Eric and I were trying to figure out what the heck it was. It appeared to be a pretty nice stadium when we got close...I do hope that they are taking the steel and rebuilding somewhere else (maybe a little further out of town??) I tried to do a little research to find out more about it, but you'd be surprised at how hard it is to sort through search results in a foreign language you've yet to master!
On our drive back from Ouro Preto and Mariana (a little over an hour from Belo Horizonte) we stopped in Macacos to have a late lunch/early supper. This is a real small town just outside of BH. The name of the city translates to "monkeys" and I was really hoping for a monkey encounter during our stop. No such luck, although I was informed of where in town we could find the critters next time. I am still not believing that I've been in Brasil since October and I still haven't seen any monkeys. They really are one of my favorite animals (although the obsession will have to be a story for some other time.)
It was a nice day trip and it was a good chance for me to work more on my Portuguese conversation skills. At the end of the day, I decided to invite Lilian to come spend Monday with me, if she wanted. She had mostly just been hanging out at her uncle's apartment alone while he was at work. She thought it would be fun, so Monday morning I went with Eric to the office, picked up Lilian, and I got to have the car for the day. I got to have more adventures driving in the crazy rush hour traffic (why is that the only time I ever get to drive??) Lilian doesn't speak English, so I was slightly anxious about filling up an entire day with one other person speaking only Portuguese. (I felt pretty certain I could exhaust my vocabulary options in an hour...) We had a good day though as I showed her around our part of the city, showed her pictures of our wedding and our family, and got a whole ten and a half hours of speaking/listening to nothing but Portuguese. It was awesome practice and we managed to communicate just fine the whole day, so it was another good confidence booster for me in the foreign language department. It was exhausting, as I felt like my brain was complete mush at the end of the day, but it was really good for me. I think Lilian was as nervous about the communication as I was though...she came armed with a Portuguese/English dictionary in her purse. She only had to pull it out once though. :)