Its been a few days since my Bahia adventure and we have been recouping in Belo Horizonte (well I say recouping - but as usual we are always running around doing things).
This past weekend we took a trip to Tiradentes, a small town about 2 hours south and nestled in the Serra de Sao Jose mountain ranges. It is a town that makes all the travel guides for Brazil - and rather uniquely this weekend was the launch of the 13th annual Tiradentes film festival. By happy coincidence the night before we were to travel we went to the birthday party of a good friend of Vanessa's parents called Mario. There I learnt that he and his friends are famous film critics here in Brazil and had an amazing time chatting film history with them.
After the somewhat negative experiences surrounding out visit to Salvador I was a little apprehensive - but as we rolled into town after an easy drive (Vanessa at the wheel) I was amazed at the beauty of the place. All cobbled stone streets, colonial buildings, artesan shops set into the most amazing landscape. The weather was kind (the last time this weekend) and our hotel was perfect.
After checking in we went in search of some great lunch - supported by some excellent beer called 'Backer'. Then we headed on to the main tent for the film festival. Vanessa had ear marked a movie that started not too long after we got there. Unfortunately this movie did not have subtitles - however apparently by inventing my own plot resulted in this movie being more interesting than it actually was. As we left the heavens opened up and dropped enough rain to pull Australia out of its draught for 5 years. It is amazing the ferocity of the tropical storms here. Lighting strikes and ear splitting thunder claps! Weighing up our options we decided it was time to head back to the hotel with a brief Pastel stop (like pasties).
The next day we woke and has a truely incredible breakfest. It was at this point we discovered 'Kira' the worlds happiest puppy. She belonged to the owner of the bed and breakfest and was infectiously happy. For 10 mins we were playing teasing and more often than not in the proicess of being bitten. After we headed out again. Our goal was to head up the hill to the main church but stopping along the way at the plethora of artesan shops. One shop just selling Cachasa, another just chocolate. When we reached the church I was breathless. Not only from the climb but the wondrous architecture (Baroque I think but am happy to be corrected). From this elevation we had panoramic views of the town. We chose a street we hadnt been down and set out back to town with a could of detours to look in some great little art galleries. Lunch was in the oldest and best cafe in town. Once again the food didnt dissapoint. As I was munching on some Couve I was wondering how Bahia could be soooo different.
After lunch we found that the outdoor screen in the town square was showing a film with english subtitles about the rise and sudden deathes of the brazilian band 'Mamonas Assassins'. They released just one album in 1995 but it proved to be Brazils biggest selling album. They had a unique sound (think Red Hot Chilli Peppers with Wierd Al Yankovic style lyrics). The film was greatand the whole atmosphere great. Better still the rain stayed away!
We woke up on Monday and after another great breakfest headed home. All in all an excellent weekend!!