Petrópolis: Imperial City in the Sky

Another four day weekend and another trip outside of Rio de Janeiro. This time we chose to stay in the state and visit the mountainous forest area of Petropolis with our good friend Thiago. A two hour drive up the hilly and beautiful scenic roads takes you to this historical town that was the first purpose built city in the country. I have no idea what purpose built means, as I am sure when the colonial settler landed in Rio de Janeiro, they were building homes for a purpose then too.

One clear purpose of Petropolis was to house the royal family and become the imperial city. The richest and most privileged colonists of the time including the king, queen, princes, and princesses were all residents here.

The city is dripping with history. Every building has a plaque outside explaining who used to live there and what these celebs did. We found the creator of the brewery we visited and thanked him kindly for his amber deliciousness. One thing we've been trying to do is learn more about Brazilian history and this was a great place to do this, but more importantly, feel it. It is one of those cities where you can almost transport yourself back in time and hear the conversations that would have happened in the street. The only problem was these imagined conversations were in Portuguese, which we are still not exactly fluent in!

The city of 300,000 is calm and peaceful – a world away from Rio de Janeiro. It is a pleasant hideaway from the chaotic city that can at times be overwhelming. We did not miss the hustle and bustle of the city during our long weekend there.

I wouldn't say that Petropolis is a must-see in Brazil but for long term travellers and expats like ourselves, it certainly is a lovely way to spend a few days.

The road we took from Rio to Petropolis
Excited little travellers we are!
The gate at the beginning of the imperial city
Imperial Museum - a very interesting place on the inside with a huge selection of photos of Dom Pedro II.
He really was a narcissist. Brazilians have mixed feelings about his reign.
The grounds around the museum are beautiful.

In the evenings the Imperial Museum hosts a historical show that is very different to anything we had ever seen. They project a video onto the water spray of a fountain. Truly spectacular and well worth it even ifyou don't speak Portuguese.

Beautiful Catedral de São Pedro de Alcantara at night
And during the day
Palacio Amarelo (Yellow Palace)
Some of the houses looked very Portuguese, with lots of tiles for decoration.
The city felt very quaint and naturey
Igreja (church) Luterana de Petropolis
There are a few canals that run through the city and although the water level was very low when we visited, they added to the European feel of the place. I bet someone, at some point has called Petropolis the "Venice of Brazil"
The Main Square. 
Here's a bit of wildlife for you Gary! I'll let you figure out what it is though.

We really liked the view of this church, as I'm sure you have guessed!
The Bohemia Brewery is a great museum / advertisement for beer. However, it was sold as a
brewery tour and that to me means you get to see a working factory, which we didn't. And
that is arguably 
the most exciting thing that can happen to a young buck of a chemical
 engineer like myself.
Cervejaria Bohemia - sadly these bottles were empty but there were a few beers included in the tour!

This is all the information we need to set up our own brewery.
Grab grab grab beer beer beer
I was fine to drive home!
The Petropolis Monument / Obelisk outside our hotel
Santos Dumont's house, He is the "father of flight"
Replica of Santos Dumont's 14 bis aeroplane.
I wouldn't have liked to tackle these stairs after the brewery tour!
Santos Dumont flew an airship at 77 km/hr
And of course, we saw a Mico!
Crystal Palace
This is called "The House of Seven Errors", which apparently means "The Spot-the-Difference House"! It was built by twin brothers who split it down the middle and each designed a side. How many errors/differences can you see?
This is the Quitandinha Palace - it's a huge, Austrian looking palace used to be a hotel and casino. Now you can look around for free at some of the extravagant and luxuriously decorated rooms, and it is used for conferences and corporate events.
It was our final stop before heading back to the city of Rio.