We decided to visit Blumenau because it was sort of on our way to Joinville and because we could. We hired a car at Florianopolis Airport and it took something under 3 hours to drive the 150km along the coast from Floripa to Itajai then heading inland along the valley of the Rio Itajaí-açu, to Blumenau. Valeria had done her thing with hotels and found us a great little Pousada in the Vila Germânica; ‘Pousada by Rieger’. It was clean, comfortable and modern and the owner, Udo, was more than welcoming, the perfect host.
In our brief stay all I could really find out about Blumenau is that it was was founded in 1850 by Dr Hermann Bruno Otto Blumenau and 17 other German settlers; and it is still very, very Germanic; right down to Oktoberfest, lederhosen and Weissbier. It was a centre for the textile industry and is the home to the clothing store Hering.
We took a wander around the centre of town on Tuesday evening and at times could have been in Bavaria, most of Rua XV de Novembro is ‘wooden framed’ buildings with the Town Hall and Castello the most prominent examples.
The cathedral is a very modern building and at first glance looks nothing like a church at all.
And then it started to rain, mercifully just as we got into the car – luckily I have an RYA Powerboat qualification! And it continued to rain as we settled down to dinner in Restarante Figueira. Fantastic steak, but massive portion sizes, one steak we’ve ordered was more than enough for the three of us.
The following morning we visited the Oktoberfest site which is a 10 minute walk from the Pousada, and that was like stepping directly from Brazil to Bavaria, simply by turning 180 degrees; we were standing in a shop listening to a Brazilian radio station watching a traditional German band, in Leiderhosen, tuning up on the opposite side of the street. Apparently, if you attend Oktoberfest (which stretches over three weekends) in traditional costume, entry is free!
On our way out of Blumenau we also visited the Water Museum. This is in the original water purification plant built over looking the town. Being built some 60 metres above the river it is immune to the effects of flooding and has dedicated supply pipes to local hospitals and the Fire Brigade in addition to providing emergency fresh water to the surrounding regions should the need arise. It also gives good views over the valley and the city.
One thing I did notice in visiting Blumenau is that I didn’t stand out so much! In fact most places we visit I get asked if I am German because I stand out like a sore thumb, here I got asked exactly the same question but for the opposite reason!
We only had a brief visit to Blumenau but it was an enjoyable stop over.