As mentioned in my previous post, we spent this past weekend visiting Petrópolis. During the Napoleanic wars, the royal family of Portugual fled to Brazil (basically to save their lives), and settled in Rio. However, the climate in Rio can be a bit brutal for anyone not so accustomed to the heat. Somehow, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how some of these groups made it up these hills surrounding Rio, they found their way to Petrópolis. The elevation provides a much milder climate than Rio – especially in summer, and the royal family had a summer palace built. As a result of the royal family stationing itself in Petrópolis, other high ranking persons (Dukes, Baron’s, etc.) also made their way to Petrópolis and had homes established. Their is a street in this city with some amazing old homes. Many of them are no longer single dwelling homes, but their beauty certainly remains.
We did visit the Imperial Museum. I don’t have much to share in the way of photo, as none are allowed. Probably best, as many of them would have boring photos of crowns, jewels, and royal robes. It is a shame I cannot share an image of the golden cradle. This was the most impractical, dear Lord I cannot believe they actually placed a baby in that thing, contraption Carolina and I had ever seen. We both stood in amazement for several miutes. Truly and indication of more wealth than sense! I was able to take a few photos of the grounds, which are beautiful.
I also could not resist sneaking a photo of the shoe protectors they require all visitors to wear. These giant slippers went over your shoes, and made it impossible to pick up your feet and walk normally. Instead, you simply had to slide your feet, as if you were skating. All of the floors in the palace are either wood or tile, so this was not difficult, and actually was kind of fun. It also created some comical observations involving children, and I am sure a few headaches for the parents involved!
We also made a brief visit to the Cathedral, which was commissioned by Princess Isabel, of the royal family. It was beautiful and had quite a presence within the city.
When were not exploring Petrópolis, we were spending time at the darling home of Marta, Bernardo’s mother. As mentioned, her home is actually in Iataipava, which is a small town outside of Petrópolis. The grounds of her home are stunning, and the views are amazing. The home was bought by her parents, so Bernardo has been visiting the area his entire life His memories and stories were heart warming. The area itself is beautiful – absolutely breath taking. I can see why so many folks from Rio head to the hills for their weekend holidays It is quiet, milder climate, provides a little bit of space, and lush with nature. We saw so many birds that I’ve never seen in Rio – such as the Japu.
I will say that the trip itself was a little nail biting for me, as the roads up this hill are intense! They are rough, narrow, and extremely curvy. It took a great deal of concentration to control the motion sickness, but I am happy we finally made this trip. So much history wrapped into a small package.