15 hours in Bela Horizonte

In a nutshell, it was a quick trip and we don’t have too much to report. We didn’t see as much as we should have, didn’t give the city too much of a chance, and really should have stayed longer. We didn’t stay for two reasons: we found the trip from Rio to Bela Horizonte to be so charming and beautiful that we had to spend longer exploring all the little towns, and then we stumbled upon flights to Salvador for R$49pp and couldn’t resist the chance to head up the coast a bit more. The caveat? The flight left today. So here we are in Salvador, reporting on an unexpectedly quick trip to Bela Horizonte.

I can’t say too much about BH b/c I just didn’t see enough of it to properly speak about it. It’s a big city on a hill, we hear there is a nice historical section but we didn’t see it. We also hear there is a neighborhood featuring a great row of restaurants that everyone should see but again, we didn’t see it.

What we did see was an amazing indoor marketplace, which are the photos you see here. One could spend an entire day here, furnish your entire apartment here, purchase baby clothes, a new dog, a gaggle of geese, sample some aged cachaca and fresh melon, and still work in time to pick up that aquarium you only just remembered you needed once you got to the parking garage– (thank god there is an aquarium store in the parking garage, I wonder if they have a drive-thru). Seriously, you can find everything here.

In that marketplace we drank beer from a place that claims to be the first microbrewery in BH- a fun excursion from the typical Pilsners of Brazil (complete with a resident drunk crazy guy who didn’t seem at all bothered that we hadn’t a clue what he was saying… For a second it felt just like Portland, if it wasn’t for the rack of aging meat hanging ten feet away from us) Speaking of meat- We also ate a stir fry style dish that our host explained was a very common accompaniment to beer. It works like this: you stand up to the bar and choose from a selection of meats displayed in a pastry case, they slice it and throw in onions, sauce, and a small squash-like vegetable sliced paper thin. The dish is fried on a grill built directly behind the bar, and is served with a pilsner. It is delicious, and a great change from the bowl of pretzels we are used to getting at tiny dive bars at home.

BH was a trip that happened all too fast, and we can’t say we had any time to really experience the city. But what we saw was great, and hopefully our decision to move on will turn out to be a good one that we won’t regret.

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