You might want to begin your tour today by reading this introduction.
And to fully appreciate this particular adventure, go to www.mapcrunch.com and at the bottom of the home page picture, click to find the “view of the day” for the emboldened date below.
Keep mapcrunch open in one tab, and the article below in another; then simply click back and forth to follow the discussion and the tour in proper order (Clear as mud right?).
December 3rd, and we are in…….watch your step! Don’t look now, but look down at the road we’re standing on, here in Brazil! (Hit the down arrow up in the corner of your picture, and the left arrow.) We are in Nova Friburgo, a popular resort town in southeastern Brazil, but I don’t think they take their regular tourists up on this high crumbly ledge of a road (I however, do take you irregular tourists up here and that’s why I get the big bucks.).
So we just left France where all the towns around had very German names, and now we are in Brazil, northeast of Rio DE Janeiro, and we’ve landed in a mountain town settled by Swiss Immigrants! Nova Friburgo means New Fribourg, from whence the 100 settling families were sent in 1818. And the very iffy road we are luckily still clinging to is called Rua Luterbak, which is named after a town in Switzerland. I guess you know, since we stepped over from the Alsace region overnight, that it’s a small world, but I certainly had no idea.
Well, now that we have our footing, and a little history established let’s look around. What do you see besides a pink car? Me neither. But I do see that little girls seem to want pink! Why is that? (In my experience, Pink Burns! ) And she probably doesn’t even care that the back wheel is missing.
Now to get our bearings. Facing north we would just be looking into the rising mountainside behind us so we’ll skip that this time. But if we turn to the right a bit and look over the brick garage with the his-n-hers satellite dishes on top, we will be looking toward Rio DE Janeiro to the southwest. These mountains, and these valleys full of wedged in homes remind me of Ketchikan Alaska, where I lived for 9 years. The town there is forced into the rising hills as well, but in that case, each home lifted above the other has a better ocean view, whereas here each new level provides only a more-of-the-same scene.
It looks to me like this slump in the road has been there for a while, and considering the huge cost of rebuilding and stabilizing the section from underneath, I expect it will be the same for a long time. That is, until it expands under the ever present force of gravity, causing this route to be cut off forever.
The resort parts of this town are outside of town I would bet. This particular area seems quite rundown, but a short walk up Rua Laterbak to the east reveals that there are a lot of nice looking homes mixed in with the more shabby ones. I believe we will see the same thing wherever we go. There are all kinds of people, and a myriad of factors that determine a family’s lifestyle and surroundings. Very few neighbors are carbon copies of each other.
As we go down Rua Luterbak, and on to Rua Machado, I see a lot of older larger satellite dishes. Did you notice anything strange about them? Not just the old fashioned larger sizes I mean. I’ll let you think about that as we go.
In the meantime, I’ve found a dead end by following Luterbak to the west, and the most modern of homes located there. Looking at the high cement stairs, sans railings, I would surmise that they don’t get any snow here. We are only 22 degrees from the equator after all. I guess I would also surmise (as long as I’m surmising) that these folks don’t have any little kids either. The other end of Luterbak ends at Machado where there is another cool house just before the intersection. It’s a cheaper, older model, but the whole upstairs is open all around to take in the view up and down the valley.
Well there is a lot to see here in Nova Friburgo. We could scoot up and down the narrow, aging, cobblestone streets all day and look at satellite dishes (all facing NORTH instead of south, by the way), upscale and downscale homes and even clever blue phone ‘booths’ (did you notice?), but sometimes I wonder how or why people settle in a particular place. This valley is 137 kilometers from Rio and has been through many economic episodes. Starting with coffee production, it later became a manufacturing town and then went into clothing. Now this town is one of America’s best providers of….oh, I’m sure you noticed.
If you COULDN’T tell from our little tour, that there are more than 500 producers of lingerie in these streets, then you better come back tomorrow for more tourism practice!