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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Petrópolis

On Saturday morning, April 9, we headed out from the Kilkos' home in Niteroi.  We decided not to go back through Rio but to head north around the back side of the Guanabara Bay to Petrópolis before continuing as far north towards Diamantina in Mina Gerais where Byron was scheduled to preach Sunday night.

Originally I had hoped to leave really early and drive all the way to Ouro Preto in Minas, but at some point along our trip I was finally realizing that a person really needs to add about two to three hours to the suggested travel times given for routes on the GPS or on Google Maps.  I knew we were going to arrive in Ouro Preto after dark and not be able to make it to see the gold mine there nearby.

Mrs. Kilko suggested that seeing Petrópolis might be a good alternative and I quickly looked it up on the world wide web.  It was only about two hours from where they live, on the way to where we wanted to go, not expensive to see, and historical.  So off we went to find it.



The toll free route that we choose on the GSP sent us through Magé where we saw a sign for the first rail line ever laid in Brazil and tops of mountains peeping up.  Byron asked if we had to go over those mountains.  We did - on a twisty, curvy old cobblestone road bed laid for the royal family in the 1800's.  Once Byron did a hairpin turn that went the full swing of the steering wheel with an incline to boot.  I was just beginning to wonder if the GPS really knew what "she" was doing when we finally saw signs of a paved road and civilization again.




Petrópolis was the capital of the country for a few years and the summer home of the royal family thereafter.  Brazil actually had its own king for a good part of its early history.

Many of the buildings in the city are historical landmarks.






After we finally got through the modern and very busy downtown area of the city, we quickly realized that finding a parking place near the museum located in the Summer Palace was not going to be easy.  And then a little elf man magically appeared out of nowhere waving us down.  Turns out he was an approved city tour guide and for a small fee, he promised to find us a parking place, show us around and accompany us in the museum sharing all of his wonderful knowledge.  I do not know what the small fee was that Byron agreed upon.  I just made room for the little man to get in the car.  I was rather skeptical at first...



But the little man turned out to be worth his weight in gold.  We learned a lot about the royal family and about Dom Pedro II who worked to modernize Brazil.  He was one of the first to buy and use a telephone system from Alexander Graham Bell.  He was the one who invited the Confederate family after the Civil War to help improve cotton production and agriculture as well as other advances.

The summer palace of the imperial family

You can't take photos on the inside of the palace.  We got to see the gold crowns of several of the members of the Dom Pedro family and an original throne.  Visitors have to wear special slippers that fit over shoes to not scuff the original wooden and ceramic tile floors.  There was a lot to see, but our little guide hurried us along as he had more innocent customers set up for 2 in the afternoon.

Our car was parked near the church where the remains of Dom Pedro II, the last emperor of Brazil, his wife, and some other family members are emtombed.  Our guide took us back to the cathedral and from there we could see another ancient symbol - a big M sign for McDonalds.



Cathedral of Saint Peter of Alcantara
We didn't stay to eat.  We got our sandwiches to go and got our stockpile of junk food refilled at a cute bread store near the cathedral as well.  Then we let Miss GPS set our route for points north.  Once again we ended up on an old cobblestone road, but it was a short lived experience this time with no whopper curves.  


Byron really liked seeing the trees with purple flowers all along the highways in Minas.

I particularly enjoyed he signs for strange animals, none of which we ever saw.
Sidenote:  That night we found a fairly nice truck stop to park and sleep just south of Belo Horizonte.  I have to say that at first when Byron talked about sleeping in truck stops I was rather worried.  Our experiences were only good.  We looked for stops that said they were open 24 hours with a good amount of trucks and lights.  Byron always talked to a few truckers after arriving to see if they thought it was a safe one or not. Once a man said "No" and told us he had only stopped to fix his supper but planned to sleep farther along.  Other truckers gave us tips before we left.  Some RV clubs have truck stops listed on their club websites as well and I checked out their information online beforehand.  Our experiences were only good.  We slept at stops four different nights.

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