Besides experiencing a bit of Carnaval, we wanted to use our long weekend and take the opportunity to see a couple more places on our “Brazil Bucket List”
Campos do Jordão is on that list! It is a city of about 50 000 in Sao Paulo state about 2-3 hours drive from Resende. The city is situated 1,639.2 m above the sea level and it’s the highest city in Brazil. The city’s main economy is tourism, probably due to it’s location in the Mantiqueira mountains and because of the European-looking architecture (buildings are mostly German, Swiss or Italian inspired. Many of the richest people from the state of São Paulo build their winter homes there and in July (the winter season) there is an enormous influx of visitors (more than quadrupling the city’s population) Due to its elevation, Campos do Jordão is relatively cold for Brazilian standards. The winter is normally the dry season and the colder weather allows for warm cozy fireplaces and winter foods like fondue, hot chocolate and soups. There are hydrangeas blooming all over the city.
So…on a summer day in Brazil we decided to check it out with a couple of German friends. Actually we were told it is a bigger version of the Finnish village of Penedo that is close to us and we wanted to take a look!
Our day started off a bit unusual, we hadn’t gone far on the Dutra when David got pulled over at the Federal Police Road Check. There are usually quite a few police and cars and big guns! We lucked out and had a sweet lady officer ( makeup, jewelery the whole bit) that spoke English. She asked for our documents, took them back to her car and when she came back she had a breathalyzer and asked him if he would please do the breathalyzer test. I don’t know if it was routine because of Carnaval weekend or she thought we were much too happy. I asked her if I could take a picture, she agreed! Not to worry David passed ( no surprise there)!!
When you plug these Brazilian cities in the GPS, it takes you the shortest route. Well sometimes the shortest route is through small towns and back country roads and you wonder where in the world you are going. Quite interesting and beautiful scenery!
And there is ALWAYS stops along the way…
We put Centro as a point in the GPS, and as happens quite often our lovely GPS miss guided us a bit. It told us we had 650m to Centro so we founded parking and went for a walk…I love walking in new cities because you see so much more! We walked and walked and still didn’t get to the area of Capivari where we wanted to be. It was a nice walk though.
By this time it was getting to be lunch time and we were all hungry so we went back to the car to try and find Capivari. It is famous for it’s restaurants and street cafes. The architecture of the homes and buildings in this city is wonderful probably more Swiss and Finnish then German. Well that is what Mark said. He said this nothing like Germany! We did see a Pousada that was Canadian (supposedly)
It was delicious!! It DOES not taste like chicken…more like fish in taste and texture.
More exploring and driving, stopping at shops and places of interest. I should have taken a few close up photos at these shops. Winter clothes are coming out now…it is soon Fall here and kids are back to school. We saw winter coats, fur hats and scarves, the big heavy blankets they have in China…I find this so absurd for a tropical country. They don’t know cold!!
We drove to the highest point, Itapeva Peak (Pico do Itapeva). On clear days, you can see the cities of the Paraíba Valley. However today was not clear, and we had to see as much as we could between the pouring rain!
We finally made it to Capivari. What a quaint little place. Before we explored the little shops we wanted to take the teleferico to the top of MorroElefante to see the view. Probably a good choice because when we were on it…it POURED buckets!!!! We waited at the top, at a little cafe and enjoyed a hot coffee and some pie waiting for it to clear…it started to thunder and lightning in typical Brazilian fashion so we waited for a bit of a break and went back to the bottom. Well… no shopping or exploring Capivari this time because it kept raining harder and harder and since we had 3 hours to drive home we figured we better call it a day!
It was a great day exploring. Campos do Jordao has so many interesting things and we didn’t see half of all the things on our list! Tomorrow it’s off to another new city. Gotta love these long weekends!