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Conference in Belo Horizonte

Conference in Belo Horizonte

Old Jun 30, 15, 12:25 am
  #1  
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Conference in Belo Horizonte

A colleague will be attending a conference in Belo Horizonte. We have a couple of questions. First, is English spoken widely there? Second, there will be some time off from meetings - do people have suggestions for things to do, places to visit that will offer some feel for the culture of the city? Thanks.
JerryFF is offline  
Old Jun 30, 15, 5:38 am
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No, English is not spoken widely in Brazil at all, even in the tourism industry. You should at least bring a phrase book. Prepare to communicate with most people in Portuguese.

Belo Horizonte is a medium sized city with a sizable industrial sector and a number of decent shopping malls, like Shopping Del Rey, that give a look into local life. There is a pretty amazing street fair on Sunday, with everything from food to clothing to jewelry to furniture, for blocks and blocks. There are several places where you can see the process of making cachaca, and taste the product. At least one is up in the hills surrounding the city with a very pretty view at night. There are a few historical buildings and little museums and parks downtown. The featured park is Pampulha, with architecture by the famous Brazilian architect Niemeyer. The church is the most interesting structure IMO with its tile front, and an art museum OK for Brazil, the stadiums to look at, all set in a pleasant park with a waterside bar/restaurant.

However, B.H. (bay-ah-GAR, as it's pronounced in Portuguese) is known as the entry point to the historic Colonial towns in the surrounding mountains. One of the more important and well preserved is Ouro Preto (look for photos online), about a 2 hour bus ride away, and well worth making an effort to see. Mariana is nearby, by steam train. There is also a gold mine to visit, from the days when this region of Brazil was producing great wealth. The other Colonial towns to see are charming Tiradentes and the dramatic sculptures in Congonhas.

The Colonial town of Sabara has become kind of a suburb to B.H., about 20 minutes by local bus (or taxi) and has some lovely buildings from the era scattered among the newer construction, if you are too short on time to see the others.

There is an interesting sculpture park in Inhotim that you could make the effort to get to (it is an effort, because of transportation) if you are interested in art.

I happen to enjoy the city, but I have a lot of friends there.
Have fun.
VidaNaPraia is offline  
Old Jun 30, 15, 12:18 pm
  #3  
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Great information - thanks so much! I will pass on your suggestions.
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Old Jun 30, 15, 12:54 pm
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Originally Posted by JerryFF View Post
Great information - thanks so much! I will pass on your suggestions.
Hope your friend enjoys him/herself as much as I have in Santa Cruz. Love the beach there (a friend lives with her dog at the beach just across the river from the amusement park).
If your friend has any more questions or wants more info, just let me know. Hotels are the one thing I don't have info on there though.
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