Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Welcome

If you just happened upon this little blog or came over from Aunt Michele's Stories or the Cactus Flower blog, first of WELCOME!  This is a travel log of our road trip all around mid-south Brazil in April of 2017.  For the best read, go to the first entry and read backwards.  But if you like start below and just scroll on down!  We hope to take a trip to points farther south and farther west at some time in the not so distant future.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Our Actual Route

Our "in real life" route ended up being somewhat different from what I had spent months and months researching and plotting out.  Several factors were involved in changes to the original maps I posted before our trip.  


  1.  dirt roads where there shouldn't have been
  2.  high-priced toll roads where we wanted to go
  3.  last minute decisions

 
Byron took our actual routes from the memory chip of the GPS and helped me incorporate them into this map above.  We missed the states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Santa Catarina by so little, and ended up hitting Mina Gerais going south and coming north.  

I would love to take another Big Brazil Trip in the future and try to go farther west and south.  This post ends our travel journal for this trip.  Thank you for stopping by and look back in the future as we may very well hit the road again!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Igatu - Home

After our visit to the little village of Igatu on Thursday morning, April 13, we weren't exactly sure what to do next.  We didn't really have time for an big trek into the national park and we were only about 6 hours from Sobradinho according to the GSP.  They tend to exaggerate on the low side, by the way.  Greyson had been reading a book by Euclides da Cunha entitled Rebellion in the Backlands.  Byron wondered how far we were from the city named after the author and the area most mentioned in his historical work - Canudos.  

I punched it into the GPS.  It looked like it would also take about six hours, but would mean that we would arrive after dark and most likely have to spend another night in the car.  It also involved a long stretch of dirt road.  The first part of the route was the same as that of home, so we continued on and contemplated our destination...






From time to time we saw mounds of dirt that nothing seemed to grow on.  We stopped and asked a man who told us that they are called "scabs" and nothing seems to grow on them and if you flatten them out nothing grows on that land either.


We saw lots of mud brick houses with thatched roofs.  Wouldn't work in the cold south!

Caves

We missed Cristo in Rio but found him in Bahia.















As we got to the point of turn to Canudos or turn towards home, the Pajero made the call.  The next day was Good Friday and traveling with an overheating engine on a holiday didn't seem like a good plan.  I still hope we can check out those dirt roads and visit the historical town before Greyson leaves for the States in August.   

We treated ourselves to one last fun thing before home - the new Burger King in Juazeiro. We had a good supper and got home around 8:00 pm.

We were warmly greeted by our best friend/neighbors, the house sitter, our two dogs and the orange cat.

We promptly took baths and went to bed.  We unloaded calmly the next day after a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs.
 
The weary travelers


Igatu - City of Rocks

 In my searching and researching for interesting places to visit on our trip, I came across some information about the little city of Igatu.  It is actually located inside the perimeter of the Chapada Diamantina National Park.  Evidently during the big hey days of the diamond rush back in the late 1700's and early 1800's this sleepy town had about 8,000 residents all hunting around for the precious stones.  

Today it has about 500 residents and the main source of income for each has something to do with tourism.  It's a jumping off point for many trekking tours into the park.  Many of its little buildings are made of rock found in the area and some in the style of those miner cave holes in Mucugé are built right into the side of hills.

The road to get in left something to be desired... 7 km of red dirt and rock.  It took about 30 minutes to get to the turn off from where we had slept in our car in Mucugé the night before.  I should note that the truck stop was very clean and quiet after 8 pm, but we got a little hot and stuffy until rain started sometime after midnight.








No one really greeted us or spoke to us the whole time we walked around.  I had anticipated an onslaught of "guides" wanting to show us around for a small fee.  Instead we walked here and there at will.
 









The church was open when we walked by with a small group that looked like they were getting ready to practice something or have a class.  They didn't seem to mind our curiousity.
 






I sort of needed to use a nice, clean bathroom or any bathroom for that matter.  I listened as a tour group stopped near the church and one of the girls asked their guide where she could use a bathroom.  He indicated an inn just up the stone street.  So I tagged along.  The above photo was taken from the windowsill looking out into their lovely garden.  Many houses in this area have working wooden shutters and glass windows with panes.  Where we live in the N.E. of Brazil we have wooden louvered windows that look short of like shutters but no actual glass windows.
 



Byron took few minutes to check out a rattle in the front end before leaving town by a different, supposedly better route suggested by a passerby that did answer our question.  The "better" route was also 7 km long - all stone and somewhat wider.

The city has several bed and breakfast inns and restaurants.  There is a tourist agency with an office that has guides for trails and such into the national park.

Brumado to Mucugé - Stop #2 - Mining Museum

One of the places on my original list of things to see and do in the Chapada Diamantina was a mining museum near the city of Mucugé.  After our unexpected and somewhat delayed stop at the cave earlier on Wednesday, I was sure if we would make it to the museum and I seemed to remember that it closed at 5:30 pm.  


We topped the mountain and hit the outskirts of Mucugé around 4:55 pm and saw a sign for the museum and decided to go for it.  We kept driving but where was it?  We asked a couple of people who said it was just around the next curve.  There were a lot of curves!  We found the parking lot and the gate was still open.  It was 5:05!


To get to the actual museum you have to walk a trail that includes plants and flowers of the area...








We hurried in, happy to find an attendant still there after a little hike!  He was happy to see three more customers for the day and said the tour would only take about 30 minutes and that he was glad to stay a little late to care for us.





The museum is not large.  It is housed in an old rock hole in the wall where a woman miner had a small trading post years ago.  The guide explained that many miners made camps out of small cave they found or dug out so they would not have to leave their finds.



After our quick tour, Byron asked the fellow how he was planning to get back to town since we had not seen any other vehicles in the parking lot.  He explained that he always catches a ride with passer-by-ers.  So we gave him a lift back to town and asked about two truck stop/gasoline stations we had seen for a good recommendation of which was better for overnight parking.  He suggested the larger of the two named Serra Verde.  So we made our way back to it to settle in for the night.

Brumado to Mucugé - Along the Way




coffee plantation

see the beans

coffee beans drying in the sun











Welcome

If you just happened upon this little blog or came over from Aunt Michele's Stories or the Cactus Flower blog, first of WELCOME!  This i...