|From Brazil Trip|
Yesterday we went to Ouro Preto. It's an old-style town nestled in some of the most beautiful landscape i have ever seen. Check out the pictures if you've not already. (http://picasaweb.google.com/macguru.york/BrazilTrip) Some of the buildings were over 500 years old. It's hard for me to believe that such beauty could result from blood shed and human suffering. Most of the historic buildings and roads were built by slaves. Ouro Preto was the seat of government for all of Brazil during the colonial times and has seen it's share of uprisings and revolutions. The statue in the square is of a famous revolutionary leader. There's a rope around it's neck because that particular leader was hanged and then pulled apart by tying his arms and legs to two teams of horses pulling in opposite directions in the square that tourists now park their cars. Kind of surreal if you ask me. But then that's how my mind thinks.
(This video was shot from the entrance of the building pictured above)
Anyway it was a wonderful day of sight seeing and shopping - not that we bought very much. It was still fun and even the short rain storm brought welcome relief from the heat. The were hundreds of little artisan shops everywhere. There was even a stone mart where everything was made from soapstone. If you couldn't find it there you wouldn't find it anywhere. I knew soapstone was versatile but never realized it was THAT versatile. It was really cool.
We visited a state museum which was in the old city building/ prison. There we got to see some marvelous examples of wood carving including one whole room devoted to the work of Aleijadinho. I studied some of his work in Art History. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take my camera into the museum so I didn't get any pictures. I didn't think much of his work in Art History, but his work was amazing in person. To think that he was able to capture such sensitive expressions in his portrait carvings while living with a debilitating condition- most modern scholars believe he suffered from rheumatoid arthritis or some other related condition- just boggles the mind.
We hope to get back to Ouro Preto in the near future, Tom and Kathy said we didn't even scratch the surface of all that town has to offer in Brazilian history and culture.