Sao Paulo lies on the Tropic of Capricorn. This means that the majority of Brazil lies between the Equator and the southern edge of the tropics. Hot, lush, and green, for the most part (in the far south, you get snow and cold weather, but that’s the anomaly). Who would expect, then, that there is a Bavaria of Brazil?
The Bavaria of Brazil is in Campos do Jordao, about two and a half hours from Sao Paulo. You drive up into the mountains and suddenly, Toto, you’re not in Kansas anymore.
You drive into town, and it’s like you’re driving into a European village.
We first visited last November, and then again this past weekend. It was about 86 degrees F off the mountain, but a “chilly” 72 degrees up top. Tom and I were in shorts and shirtsleeves, but the majority of the other tourists were wearing boots or Ughs, knitted hats, and snow jackets. (Sorry, no lederhosen in sight.) Bavarian brrrrrrr!
Even the architecture encourages this reaction, with the majority of homes and businesses featuring A-line roofs and Tyrolean design. Though it gets cold here, it never snows, but they’re ready if it ever does!
People flock to Campos do Jordao in the winter months (June-August) to enjoy the cold and to feast on fondue, the number-one type of restaurant to be found in the town.
There’s also a chairlift that takes you from the city center to the top of a small hill, to complete the Alpen experience. (Notice how steep it is! Mein Gott!)
During our first visit, we stayed at Home Green Home, one of the few of the town’s multitudinous hotels that will accept dogs. But what a place! What a view! We couldn’t get a room there this last visit, but will definitely try again.
The air is clean, crisp, and refreshing. And the moss on the trees (moss grows on the south side of trees here in Brazil, did you know that?) has a lot of red in it. Red moss means pure air. Ahhhhh!
Aside from the cold-weather clothing, the chairlift, and the fondue, the Alpen experience also includes horse-carriage rides, horseback rides, off-roading on quads, and eating loads of “Swiss” delicacies such as chocolate, cheese, breads, and coffee drinks.
All kidding aside, Campos do Jordao really is a beautiful place to visit, and a nice change from the “typical” Brazilian countryside. A touch of Europe for the eyes, with cold nipping the nose!