Southern Brazil

27th September 2010

After a week´s R&R in Florida visiting family, we were ready for Brazil.  Crossing from Santo Tomé [1] in Argentina by local bus we arrived in São Borja [2] only to find we had not legally entered Brazil so it was back to the border in a taxi for the entry stamp, thus missing our bus and spending the day at the rodovíaria (bus station).  Then the afternoon bus was stopped by the police for 45 minutes so we missed the last bus to São Miguel, but we spent two nights in Santo Anglo [3].  There is a modern replica of the São Miguel church.  Not understanding Portuguese, we feel frustrated.


The small village of São Miguel das Missões [4] has the best preserved of the Brazilian Jesuit missions, São Miguel Arcanjo, which is a Unesco World Heritage site.  This is gaucho territory.  Men sporting the traditional wide brimmed hats, knee high boots and bloomers are a common sight.


Bento Gonçalves [5], first settled by Germans and later Italians is the centre of wine production in Brazil.  In nearby Vale dos Vinhedos steepled churches and stone farmhouses stand out amongst rows of grape vines.  With a glass of cheap local wine in our hands at 0830 am we boarded the Maria Fumaça (Smoking Mary) steam train that runs between Bento Gonçalves and Carlos Barbosa.  On the way it stops Garibaldi for the passengers to alight and partake in cheap sparkling wine, all the while being entertained by loud Italian music.


To break a long bus journey we spent a night at Porto Alegre [6], on the banks of the huge freshwater Lagoa dos Pato.   It has a bustling public market selling all kinds of delicious looking produce.


Click on the numbers above to see where the places are on the map.


The ruins of Sáo Miguel Arcanjo

Inside the church

Back of the church

Stautues from inside the church


The church at Santo Ängelo is a replica of the Sáo Miguel church

Guarani family

Brazilian gaucho

The wood fired Maria Fumaça enroute

Smoking Mary

Vineyards in Vale dos Vinhedos

Inside the market at Porto Alegre