Continuing on my exploration of the Northeast of Brazil’s cultural gem, Pernambuco, we rolled early out of bed, gathered some snacks, shades and sun cream, jumped in the car and took a road trip West of the coast toward small towns Caruaru and Gravatá.
Snacks for the ride: Bolo de Rolo Biscotinhos – i.e. crunchy nuggets of sugary heaven.
Caruaru is well known to be the artistic centre of Pernambuco, Alto do Moura, being the origin of the famous ceramics of Pernambuco. Driving down long and bumpy open and narrow roads, weaving in and out of slightly decrepit buildings and homes, getting inevitably lost, we finally found the the centre we were looking for. Known for being a haven for beautiful Pernambucan gifts, I whipped out my reais/Pedro’s debit card and filled my heart and Pedro’s car with beautiful hand crafted wooden and ceramic gifts. My indecisiveness often fuels excessive sweating, and so the searing Caruaru heat added to my skin’s discomfort. We also visited the small home of Mestre Vitalino, Master Vitalino, the man who actually began the style of ceramic sculptures you see today across Pernambuco.
Lunch took us to a market in Caruaru filled with gifts and bustling open restaurants, lined with colourful plastic furniture, filled with upbeat Brazilian forro tunes and locals in groups laughing and conversing with one another over a plate of traditional food; rice, meat and beans.
Only a short drive away was Gravatá (Gravata meaning tie). A small city located in the valley of Ipojuca, Gravatá is humble and historic, home to narrow steep roads lined with tiny houses and horses cantering down them, chapels and artisanal craft centres. A traditional and simple life eludes, ducks and chickens and horses roaming around free. If you make your way up to the highest point of Gravatá you can even see its very own Christo de Redentor – Rio de Janeiro eat your heart out. At the top it’s no chore to sit yourself down amongst the long grass and flat rocks and look out over the city and across the hills and valleys of Pernambuco stretching out into the horizon.
Driving home we stopped at a little place that supposedly sells the best coxinhas in Brazil – and I can’t deny they were pretty damn good. Kind of Coxinhas started out as a small business in the countryside but now has grown and has become renown for its fantastic Brazilian pastries. Another Paletas Mexicanas lolly was on the agenda, but somehow mine was 90% chocolate filling and 90% a let down. I ate it anyway, but you know too much of a thing can be a bad thing.
The warm Spring sun set over the hills after we devoured our coxinhas and lollies, the horizon glowing shades of blue and orange and casting a misty hue over the rich green grass and vegetation, and we watched in silence until the sky’s colours deepened from warm to cool.
A rather difficult impromptu photoshoot.