Of all the places I have visited in Brazil Belo Horizonte is the place I have felt most at home. It is the home city of Vanessa but besides this point it is a wonderful city full of character and charm. It is Brazils 4th largest city and has a population of around 3.5million people. It is in my opinion the safest city as well. There are a number of Favelas however for some reason you don't get beggars or drug addicts anywhere in the city. Nestled in the beautiful hills of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte streets rise and fall with such steepness you would think you were on a roller coaster!
Geographically it is a huge city with many wonderful suburbs. For the young and trendy you can browse the shops in Savassi. If you want to hunt down a bargain you can visit Mecardo Central (or alternatively visit the 3km long Sunday market), you can watch home teams 'Cruzeiro' or 'Galo' at the 3rd largest stadium in Brazil 'Mineirao' or you could visit the Lake Pampulha and watch the Capivara socialize with Black vultures.
I did of course all of this and more. But the wonderful thing about Belo is its proximity to some wonderful places to visit: Gruta da Lapinha - a cave about an hour out of the city with some incredible stalactite formations (and bats too), Inhotim - a mixture of a modern art gallery and botanical gardens, Ouro Preto - a small colonial town where gold was found in the 18th century with some excellent Baroque architecture, Tiradentes - another wonderful small town and Lagoa Santa - a beautiful lake about an hour out of town.
There are a number of parks, churches and museums (none that will stick out in my memory better than the museum of modern art: housed in a building built as a homage to Le Corbusier - we visited one sunny afternoon. The Museum was empty and we spent several minutes looking at empty space wondering if this was an ironic gallery to honor existentialism.
It also speaks a lot about a town to say that in all my time here I didn't meet an unpleasant person. Everyone was friendly, kind and willing to help.
It may not be on everyones' destination when they visit Brazil and it doesn't get rave reviews in the tourist books - But Belo Horizonte is a great example of the REAL Brazil!
Speaking of which:
Beer - Devassi (dark)
Food - Pao de Queiju (Cheese bread)
City - Belo Horizonte
Drink - Guarana Zero
Sweets - Tic Tak Acerola
Fruit - Acerola
Cheese - Queijo Minas
Tourist Attraction - Pantanal