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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Ouro Preto and Mariana

When we got up from our cozy car bed, Byron suggested we try to hit Ouro Preto which had been on our list for the day before.  We had made it a good ways north and it would only add a little to our trip that day.  So off we went in search of Black Gold which is what Ouro Preto means.  Interestingly enough we had to go through White Gold or Ouro Branco to get there!  And we saw more cobblestone roads and purple flowers ...





Our first stop was Passagem da Mina located between Ouro Preto and Mariana.  It was an actual working gold mine that has been turned into a museum.  We arrived rather early and waited to see how much it would cost.  The price to get in for a 30 minute guided tour was a little steep so we took some photos and looked around instead.




After looking around the mine area we headed back to Ouro Preto to drive through the historical center of this World Heritage Site.  At one time it was the world's most populous city during the big gold rush days of the late 1700's with about 80,000 people - all hunting for riches.

The old cobblestone roads were part of the imperial highway system to bring the riches of Minas Gerais down to the big capital city of Rio for exportation.  Today you can follow the old road beds by car and some of the way by foot as part of the Estrada Real or Royal Road.  It's sort of like an historical Blue Ridge Parkway.  Trekkers are issued a passport.  As you pass checkpoints you get seals along the way.  Look it up if you are interested in a historical tour of the country. The website has an English option and maps.  We didn't have time to hit any checkpoints but I was happy to travel on several pieces of the old road.

institutoestradareal.com.br
 
Ouro Preto












Soon enough we had to head on up the highway towards Diamantina our destination for the night.  We always got a kick out of the strange things we would see along the big highways.


Parts of  wind generators

Interesting junk store

Beautiful Minas mountains





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