Halfway there Saturday morning we realized that neither one of us had grabbed the camera - thank goodness for camera phones or else we would have walked away from the weekend pictureless!
This is the pousada we stayed at. It is in a historical building and has its own museum and plenty of antique furniture.
Casa da Glória is one of the famous landmark buildings in Diamantina. Built on both sides of the street and connected by this enclosed passageway, the extremely large house was built for the diamond supervisors to live in. Today it is a geology institute. You are able to tour parts of it now and it is amazingly huge!
A shot of Diamantina from high on a hilltop.
Back in the 1700's when diamond, gold, and gemstone mining was booming in Minas Gerias, there was a need for a road connecting all the mining towns to the coast. (The Portuguese king needed to be able to get all his goodies.) Part of the old road has been reconstructed just outside of Diamantina. It's called Caminho dos Escravos, which translates to Road of the Slaves. It, rather obviously, gets its name from the fact that the stone-paved path through the mountainous landscape was built with slave labor.
Before we left to head back on Sunday afternoon, we headed over to Parque Estadual de Biribiri. After driving a long time on winding, rough dirt roads, crossing several rickety old bridges, and finding out just how much the Punto is not built for off-paved-road adventures, we parked and walked across this bridge and down a path to a waterfall. (Be not afraid of the foot bridge - it seemed much sturdier than many of the structures we drove across.)
And here we arrive at Cachoeira dos Cristais. It was wonderfully serene with only the sound of the splashing water. We didn't go for a swim, since we were going to have to drive 4+ hours home afterwards, but it would have been awesome! The water was nice and cool and the air temperature was about 187 degrees. (Use whatever units you want on that - man it was HOT!)
After the waterfall, we continued on to the historical town of Biribiri. (Which you totally need to hear a Minereiro say to completely enjoy the name. I am grinning now just thinking about the big ol' park ranger saying it as he told us about the area on our way into the park!) It's a tiny little, supposedly quite historical, city, but I haven't been able to find out a lot about its history. There is one itty bitty restaurant there though and we sat at a table out in the grass under a shade tree and enjoyed some pot roast before heading home.
We've both totally been in a traveling/exploring mood lately and so we've been trying to get out of Belo Horizonte and take some little weekend trips while we easily can. The fact that I'll be entering my last trimester when we return from our holidays in the US has us feeling a little like our window of opportunity for just getting up and going at the drop of a hat is diminishing a bit! :)
I'm not sure what all this weekend will hold in store for us, but I think we'll stick around town. My Hubby Dearest has graciously agreed to take me to O Quebra-Nozes (The Nutcracker) performed by the Moscow City Ballet Company which is in BH this Saturday and Sunday! (And the Orquestra Sinfônica de Minas Gerais will be playing too.) I haven't seen The Nutcracker in years and I think it's pretty safe to assume Eric has never seen it - so I am really excited! Is it too early to sign Z Baby up for ballet? I think it is going to take me back to my days of dance classes and ballet recitals and then I'll start missing it and then I'll remember that I'm about to have a daughter and hey oh yea I can live vicariously through her. Hmmm, I do hope my kid wants to take ballet . . .