From PG we headed to the coast road and north 314 km to Paraty (Parati). This is a scenic drive along the sea to this popular town.
The streets in the historic center have the worst deep and sharp cobbles ever, which are challenging at low speed if you get in traffic.
Walking around was much easier.
From Paraty we thought we had an easy 450 km drive on the pavement to Tiradentes. The first hint might have been that Google will not route thru Cunha on the 165 to 459-171, but that is the way the GPS liked. Leaving the beach we headed west and north up over the Serra or mountain.
The road initially was paved, but a bit worse for wear.
We should have known when the pavement was washed out in sections and then the signpost said, “Use extreme caution.”
From here the road got worse and then steeper and then much worse and much steeper.
Sara’s bike is so low that some of the big rocks give her a hard time. On two occasions Dan had to come back and give her a push start when she got stuck.
The last few km were the most challenging and it was like driving up a very steep riverbed with little choice in the path to take over big rocks on a steep incline around hairpin turns.
After this luckily it got better and then was ultimately graveled and smooth. After the construction zone it was bricked for a few km and then smooth silky asphalt.
It is amazing how in Brazil you can go 300-400 km in a day and it is all curves and incredible vistas!!
After a pretty long day we arrived in Tiradentes, which is our first stop on the trail of Gold. It is one of the smallest and yet best-preserved colonial towns in the state of Minas Gervais. It has several 300 year old buildings including the gold filled Matriz church.
Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier, known as Tiradentes was the leader of the Brazillian revolutionary movement whose aim was to achieve independence from Portuguese rule and create a Brazilian Republic.
The small Posada we had booked was just outside the historic center. We walked over the cobbled streets and the “stone bridge” into the old city. This is a warren of steep coble streets lined with brightly colored buildings.
At the top of the hill is the Matriz church with a panoramic view of the valley and the Serra or ridge. This town must be packed with tourists at the weekend judging by the number of places to stay, but on a Tuesday it was fairly quiet.