Leaving gorgeous Paraty was a shame, and upon our departure we had narrowed down our next stop to visit two places: Buzios Beach (where Brigitte Bardot used to hang out) or Petropolis (where the Portuguese Imperial Royals used to hang out.) We put it down to weather and given the foggy, wet forecast, we went for the latter.
Arriving in Petropolis, high up in the mountains, was a little somber. For starters, I’d lost my earrings that morning in Paraty and the rain didn’t just patter, it poured. We checked into our hotel and lay on the bed willing the rain to stop.
We stayed in the city centre, our hotel served a delightful complimentary breakfast, where I instantly became obsessed with Pão de queijo (cheesy bread balls.)
During our stay, we visited as much as could, but left feeling like we could have achieved more if not for the shocking weather. We felt unproductive, lazy and spent a lot of our time horizontal (get your head out of the gutter, our room didn’t have a chair) so, we were bed bound.
By now you’re probably wondering what we did experience in Petropolis. In hindsight, over the four days, we did see the main attractions. Starting with:
Cervejaria Bohemia (Bohemia Brewery.)
In Brazil, you’re more likely to see local’s sucking down a frosty cold Bohemia beer at 10am than you would a coffee. The brew was everywhere, and the locals were lapping it up. The tour was $40R ($14 AUD). It lasts an hour and includes a free glass, which we ended up leaving behind, because: carry-on luggage.
We could have done without the speil on the history of beer (their effervescent recount was a little questionable). But, learning about the different types and tastes of beer was marginally interesting. Bohemia is one of the more widely served beers in Brazil, my favourite was definitely the Cervejaria Colorado Lager (which tasted like an IPA). Sure it’s the more expensive option, unless you buy it from the supermarket, where it costs $15R ($5 AUD) for 600ml.
Museo Imperial (Imperial Museum)
I was most impressed by the Museo Imperial (Imperial Museum), used as a summer palace for the Brazilian Emperor D. Pedro II. it’s also the most visited museum in Brazil. No visit to Petropolis is complete without it. The neoclassical architecture is elegant and detailed. Within the museum, you can observe the collection of pieces related to the monarchy. Laid out just as they would have been back in late 19th Century.
We were given slippers to slide over our shoes (a genius way to have us shine the marble floor if you ask me). No photography was allowed, so you’ll need to use your imagination. The jewellery, the crowns, the costumes, the accoutrements worn over the costumes, the scale, the ornate furniture. I could have marvelled at it for hours. Whatsmore, it was a measly $15R ($5 AUD) to enter.
Contrary to the grandeur of Museo Imperial, the rundown Palácio Rio Negro across the road was a depressing place to be. Built in 1889, the imposing building served as the official summer resident for many Brazilian presidents over the years. Today it is in total disrepair and rarely used. On the inside, the walls were filthy from a leaking façade, wallpaper chipped and floor boards busted. All the result of a fourteen year push for property management. Such a shame!
We whizzed around the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace) and Municipal Parque (Municipal Park). We also stuck our heads in the Catedral São Pedro de Alcântara (St. Peter’s Cathedral of Alcantara) where the nativity scene boasted a real water feature, complete with tropical, native palms. If you do visit Petropolis, it could quite easily be seen in a day or two.
Where to eat?
Well, we were at a bit of a loss. Given this was supposedly where presidential types used to hang out, we couldn’t see any culinary venues worth noting. We survived on pay by the kilogram buffet lunches, Dom’s burgers, wok noodles, feijoada and shrimp (there’s always shrimp on the menu in Brazil)
After Petropolis, we were grateful to arrive back in humid Rio de Janeiro and thankfully for us, sunshine was back on the menu.
Thanks for tuning in for this bonus blog, I’ve finally caught you up to speed on our current location: Welcome to Barbados!
Until then xo