Saturday, January 7, 2012

Gramado e Canela

On Thursday Nadja and Rafael took us to the local mountains, about 2 hours away from Porto Alegre. We stayed at an amazing hotel, the Hotel Continental Canela, located in the small town of Canela, which is located right next to the small town of Gramada. They are in the heart of gaucho country, the Brazilian version of the cowboy. Reminds me of the paniolo, which is the Hawaiian version. Lots of cows and sheep, so lots of leather goods and woolen goods. As it is summer and quite warm, even in the mountains, the woolen goods weren´t very appealing, but as for the leather goods....?....let´s just say that that problem I mentioned before? Yeah, I´m going to need an intervention soon. Or another suitcase.

The mountains are beautiful, and the views of the valley were truly breathtaking:

Again, I am struck between the similarities between Brazil and Hawaii. The plants, the stones, the architecture, the temperature and humidity........I am in a new world, but it feels familiar to my skin, my senses. Even as I type this, glistening with a fine sheen of sweat, feeling the breeze blow across my face, I am home.

And though it is summer here, it is still holiday time, and one of the fun things about Gramado e Canela is that they go all out for Christmas - the entire area is done up in splendor, and they leave the dcorations up until the end of January to give everyone (especially tourists) time to enjoy them. A small example from the town square:

It´s hard to see in the picture, but there is an entire Santa´s Village wrapped around the tree, complete with reindeer, little elves and even a train. As incredible as all these decorations are during the day, once the sun goes down they become eye-poppingly spectacular. I can not even imagine the electricity bill for this town during the holiday season. Perhaps they have a huge dam somewhere, or a giant lizard turning a any rate it really is something to behold.

We had so many wonderful adventures in Gramado e Canela, but I just finished one of Rafael´s killer passion fruit capirinhas (recipe to come, I promise) so now I have to go to bed.

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