Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gramanda in Gramado

On Friday morning (16th) we left Novo Hamburgo for a 2 day adventure in Gramado and Canela. It was about a 2 hour bus ride though the mountains, again reminding me a lot of Northern California, just more lush.

The bus ride itself was an experience. The drivers go super fast and act like they are the size of sedans instead of the size of semi trucks. Our bus actually knocked another cars side mirror off... And didn't even stop. I just prayed hard and tried not to think about it. I'm sure it was NOTHING like a bus in Guatemala, so I am counting my blessings :)

The views from the ride were spectacular.

Once we got to Gramado, we explored a little bit. Gramado is another city that has a heavy German influence. EVERY building looks European, and the prices match! Our friends told is that one of the main streets in Gramado was in the top 3 most expensive streets in all of Brazil. It kinda reminded me of a mix between the millennia mall and I Drive.
For the holidays, Gramado is totally decked out. They call it Natal Luz, and just like at any of the Disney attractions, there are tons of trees, lights, and decor around- pretty neat.
For lunch, I ate my first Brazilian hamburger, or xis. Here in brazil they are very different- the bin is huge, and flatter than American buns. The meat is thin, and the toppings are much different: peas, corn, ham, sometimes small potato strings. Delicious! We also drank some chocolate quenche (hot chocolate) which was more like warm, dark chocolate pudding- also delicious!

One thing I love about this area- blue hydrangeas grow EVERYWHERE here! It's like walking around in a florist shop. I was in heaven:

We decided to be tourists and head to Mini Mundo, a little attraction a few roads from the main streets. We weren't really sure what it was, but saw tons of tour buses there so we figured it couldn't be that bad.

I think Disney World has jaded us.

It wasn't horrible, but I couldn't believe that people paid so much money to go. It was a bunch of mini models of towns, with trains, figurines, mini plants. Interesting, but after about 15 minutes we had seen the whole exhibit. It just reinforced our desire to stag away from things that are too touristy.

The last thing we did before leaving this little fun town was watch funny little Christmas parade where Papai Noel made his appearance. Again, experiencing Disney parades gave us big expectations... But it was just a quaint parade with creepy puppet like Santas and a marching band playing Silent Night.

It was a great day, but not over yet... Next we headed to Canela, an area where Grant served for several months... Stay tuned!
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