We had been invited to stay with our friends Roberto and Rose who live in Cotia, on the north western outskirts of São Paulo. The first few days of our time with them was to be a visit to Campos do Jordão, a famous winter holiday resort, renowned for it’s cool summer climate, mountain scenery and very Bavarian architecture. It is in the Mantiqueira mountains in the northern part of São Paulo state on the border with the Minas Gerais and we had a very busy three days, hence the need for three posts!
We arrived at their place on Monday, 3 December. They live in a walled community with 24/7 armed security. Entry is via finger print ID for residents but non residents have to go through a pretty exhaustive ID process AND be vouched for by the resident they are visiting. But, once inside, there are no fences, gates or barbed wire and you can leave your windows open when you go on holiday!!
On Tuesday we set off for Campos do Jordão, which is 240 km from Cotia, to the north east of São Paulo. This entailed a 4 hour drive starting on São Paulo’s notoriously crowded and chaotic ring roads but once free of those and heading up into the mountains we were treated to fantastic views of the Atlantic Forest which dominates the coastal regions of southern Brasil.
Our destination was the Pousada Café Poesia, or Poetry Café Guesthouse, in the Capivari district of Campos do Jordão. This was perched up on a hillside above town and was constructed of old 40 foot shipping containers, each room being on container.
As I said the building style is ‘Bavarian’. Or perhaps ‘neo Bavarian’. There are lots of timber framed buildings of Bavarian design but an equally large number of preformed concrete ones with Bavarian trim. There is even an area of the city called Nova Suissa, New Switzerland, close by the Baden Baden brewery, Baden Badan is in Germany’s Black Forest. You get the idea.
Our three days here took in a sung mass by the nuns at the Benedictine Monastery of St John, a visit to Parque Itapeva to watch the sunset and the Baden Baden Brewery.