It seems like just a few weeks ago, before the world changed, we were driving around exploring Brazil still! We left the beaches and humidity and turned inland to explore. Join us on this virtual look at some of the interesting sights we found.
One of our first stops was the Gruta de Betania shrine. This beautiful little chapel is hand built of rocks and concrete. Inside the chapel, the walls were lined with effigies left by people hoping for blessings and miracles. There were sections of tiny metal charms in the shapes of body parts, animals, cars, homes and more. One wall had a full sized, handmade doll of muslin fabric. Some shelves contained handwritten prayers and wishes and photographs of loved ones in need of blessings, miracles and admission to heaven. There were also many ceramic statues and plaster cast heads of children. And another entire section inside the little chapel was full of carved wooden objects. Some were heads, eggs, small dolls, books, pieces of a home and wooden body parts. The wooden body parts, mostly feet, ankles and legs, were piled on the shelf in the corner. So although it felt a little creepy inside the tiny, rock shrine, it was clearly a place of great importance to the people who visit it with their requests for help.
We spotted a lovely lake near the highway and turned back to explore the roads and seek a camping spot. It turned out to be a perfect overnight spot for us. The dogs enjoyed wandering and checking the new smells. We ate dinner outside and reflected on the similarity to our last hometown of Prescott, Arizona. If you have visited there, you may notice that this looks similar to the lakes in the Granite Dells area. Do you agree? Sometimes we encounter strange sights along the roadway. This display was certainly among the strangest. We thought it was a museum of some sort, so we stopped to look around. But there was no museum, yet. Just these interesting, huge, art objects on display across the property around the huge pyramid. And of course, our favorite was the largest, most colorful display. Three full-sized VW beetles hanging on a giant clothesline with clothespins! These were entirely painted with bright, glossy paint and suspended at least 50 feet in the air!
Not all campsites are beautiful and picturesque. Often in Brazil we have found ourselves in a gas station parking lot. Many of these are large, truck-stop style stations with showers, restaurants and adequate parking for many overnighters. This one offered covered parking with tables and wash sinks for each unit to use. Also spigots to fill up our water tanks. This is all available completely free!
As we continued inland, we began to climb some elevation. At about 2,500 feet we hit some rolling hills and beautiful views across the horizon. This is a part of Brazil we had not expected. Up until now we had only experienced heat, humidity, jungles and beaches. This new possibility was a pleasant surprise!
In one small village we stopped to explore the popular church inside a cave. We only went part of the way in. But they also offer a cave tour that passes through about a labyrinth of passageways. The exit for the tour is over a mile away.
It was fun to see some new aspects of Brazil and to find some relief from the stifling humidity. We enjoyed some beautiful campsites and sightseeing. And it gave us some optimism for more beauty to lie ahead of us.
Lets open the door to more fun and adventure as we explore this huge country together!