My journey from Ouro Preto began with me having to push Dinly up the steep cobbled street leading out of town before we reached the tarmac road that continued uphill to get out of the valley. A cracking descent and another long climb followed, but I’m pretty used to this now and the views at the top were good reward:
Later in the day I passed this sign to signal the lovely long downhill cruise into Belo Horizonte, which is certainly very well prepared and proud to be a World Cup host city:
I arrived at my Couchsurfing host Jane‘s apartment building and the porter in reception handed me a phone, which was a journalist telling me she’d be there to interview me that evening and we’d go to the stadium the next morning for filming, er yeah ok thanks for not giving me any time to settle in! But before that journalist even arrived a photographer turned up and we took some pictures in the city streets nearby. Crazy welcome, but hey whilst I was pretty knackered from the lack of rest, both of these liaisons led to fantastic press coverage yesterday in the newspaper and on national TV!
I even managed to fit in my first caiprinhas of the trip on that arrival night as Jane took me out to a couple of botecos. The England fans coming here in June for the Costa Rica game are gonna have a good time!
On Tuesday I was up early for the TV crew and after a 3 hour round trip (?!) to the stadium was late to meet Ludimila who works for the local government preparing the city for the World Cup. She’d kindly offered to take me to Liberty Square for a tour of some buildings there, and I was privileged to be specially shown around the Palacio da Liberdade (see pics below) and also the Museu Das Minas & Do Metal.
Ludimila then drove me to the Minas Arena (aka Mineirao) where she’d arranged tickets for us to watch the Brazilian champs Cruzeiro play Universidad De Chile in the Copa Libertadores, that’s the South American Champions League! It was amazing!!! The home team were fearsome and deservedly won 5-1! You can see the gooooools here. And FYI, Dagoberto is my new favourite player.