Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Poços de Caldas and Andradas

Three-Day Weekend.

22 Hours in the Car.

1700 kilometers (1056 miles).

With a baby who discovered her vocal cords can make this very nerve-grating grunting noise for hours at a time.

But really, it wasn't that bad. In fact, I'd go so far as to say we enjoyed it!

We got off to a later-than-planned start, as my hubby-dearest got stuck in a meeting until almost 7:00 pm. Luckily he is married to a very understanding wifey who didn't fuss very much about sitting in the car with an antsy 5 month old waiting for him . . . for over an hour.

But we were only planning to drive about 4 hours that night to Pouso Alegre, and Gabriela fell asleep just moments after we got on the road. We stopped for the night just off of the highway that runs between BH and São Paulo at Hotel Fernandão.

The next morning we drove on to Poços de Caldas. It is a cute town that seems like it was probably quite the place to be 40 years ago. (It used to be home to lots of fancy casinos, although gambling has since been outlawed in Brasil.) It appears that they are starting to work on sprucing it back up though. We enjoyed the teleférico and a nice stroll through a beautiful city park.

The teleférico takes you from the middle of town up to a mountain peak (where they have erected a smaller replica of the Cristo.)

The views from the top are quite magnificent.

I'd like to submit this as proof that my child is part reptile. I'm quite certain it comes from her father's side of the family. ;)

The ride back down to town

There was also a small aquarium and a trail to walk at the top of the mountain, so we spent a good bit of time up there before heading back down. Then we took a stroll through a gorgeous city park and had some lunch. The town is also known for it's warm springs which are said to be healing, but they feed into pools inside of a building and it was closed while we were there. So we didn't get to experience those before heading out to the neighboring town of Andradas.

There was a gorgeous full rainbow across the valley as we came into Andradas.

Once we made it into Andradas, we decided to first find a place to stay for the night. Options are rather limited in the small town and the only decent place was the Andradas Palace Hotel. After getting a room there, we headed over to Casa Geraldo's vineyard and winery.

They have a tasting room in BH that is 3 blocks from our apartment. We discovered them on our very first trip to Brasil (as our hotel was directly across the street from their store) and it was sort of love at first taste. As our preference for wine has gotten drier and drier (especially after our trip to Argentina and Chile last year), we find fewer of their wines that we just love. But they have a couple that are really nice.

Your average Brasilian (or Mineiros, at least) tend to be beer people. They don't drink a lot of wine. And if they do drink wine, they want it sweet. When we visited the tasting room at Casa Geraldo, we were literally the only ones in the whole place trying the dry stuff. I think the server was really excited to have someone who appreciates something other than their cheap sweet stuff. As we asked about the property and their processes, he offered to take us on a guided tour of the place. After turning over the tasting room to another employee, he walked us around and told us all about their grapes and wines, and even opened up the tap on several of the tanks and gave us a taste (sooo yummy!)

Gabs was getting jealous of all our tasting, so we had to stop and give her a bottle of her very own. (Straight up milk for her though.)

After the tour we sampled some more of their wines and then made our way into the shop to make a few purchases. We had giggled on our way in as we passed people carting out cases of wine on a handcart. But 30 bottles later, we found ourselves in need of that handcart as well. Our wine rack is very well stocked now thanks to the amazing discounts we got by buying straight from the source!

Ever wondered what a 5'7" kid in a candy store looks like?

They also had a really cute restaurant there, but they didn't start serving until 9:00 pm. They were having live music that night, so we decided to go rest a while at the hotel and then come back later that evening. We all laid down for a quick nap about 7:00 pm. Next thing I knew, Eric rolled over and looked at his watch and announced that it was 9:15. I had been sleeping so deep, and the last thing I felt like doing at that moment was getting dressed and going out. Gabriela was still sound asleep too, so Eric decided just to run out and bring us something back for supper (as he picked on me about being an old lady and going to bed at 7:00!)

Sunday morning, we got up and headed South to Santa Barbara d'Oeste, just outside of Americana, São Paulo. More on that to come . . .


Ray Adkins said...

This must have been an awesome trip, I loved that part of Brazil.
The drive from Pocos de Caldas to Andradas is gorgeous, the mountain views are breath taking...

Fabio Bossard said...

I loved the reptile part comment. You are very good-humored!