This past weekend we took a trip to Minas Gerais. It was a sweet, quaint little trip. I absolutely loved it! It was a beautiful place, and it was nice to get out and see other places in Brazil.
We flew into the city of Belo Horizonte on Friday. There we visited the Inhotim Park. It was incredible!! It was so huge!! We had a delicious lunch at a restaurant at the park and then split up on our own to explore. I saw all kinds of imported exotic plants, as well as some indigenous plants, such as the Pau-Brasil.
That night we drove to Ouro Preto where we’d stay for the rest of the weekend. I immediately fell in love with the city. Our hotel was adorable. The city was perfect. We went to dinner together and the food was great. The whole place had such a unique atmosphere. The next morning we were given a tour of the city by local João Batista. João was born and raised in Ouro Preto. His family had lived there for generations. He knew the city and everyone in it. He took us around to the many churches, one of which held 438 kg of gold! He told us about the city’s harsh history of slavery and how it has moved past that. The whole city was rich with history and detail around every corner.
After the tour we visited two different gold mines in the city. It was mind-bending to think that people worked in those conditions. The mines had terribly cramped working conditions and were pitch black without light. It’s amazing to think about the struggle slaves and workers went through just to extract gold for the elite. One of the mines was 400 feet underground and held a lake that we were able to swim in. The lake housed no life whatsoever, just rock. The water was the clearest I had ever seen, but was also super cold. I met a man in the streets around Ouro Preto who used to be a miner. He told me that he hated the mines. His statement was powerful and a bit sad. It made me think twice about the talk of reopening the mines. Maybe it is best that they remained closed.
The rest of the time in Ouro Preto we had to ourselves to explore. I walked all through the streets and visited many of the little shops. I loved the jazzy atmosphere of the city. There was always music. Everyone was nice. The city was bustling, but it was not crowded. It was relaxing. Ouro Preto is definitely one of my favorite places I have seen on my trip.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I grew up in the small town of Tahlequah, Oklahoma where I lived with my parents and sister. I currently attend Princeton University, Class of '17. I am a LEDA Scholar.</span></p>