Sunday 12th was our final day not only in Mucugê but also in the Chapada Diamantina. Our amazing visit to this beautiful place was coming to an end. And so it was perhaps appropriate to spend it in quiet reflection in one of the quietest, and one of the brightest towns, I have ever visited.
Mucugê is a fairly large place but at most times of day you can play spot the resident and keep count on the fingers of one hand. About the only time the 5 of us were out numbered by locals is when we passed the football ground on Sunday morning! It was quite amazing, more so having just come from lively Lençóis!
Our Pousada, Pousada de Mucugê, was quite a large place and full, yet after breakfast everyone was gone, out exploring the area, but where they went in the evening was a mystery.
The old part of town itself is a monument and is well preserved, is clean and tidy. It is also wonderfully colourful; there are flowering trees and plants everywhere. No two buildings share the same colour paint and even paints on the same building clash! In the sunshine it can be painfully bright! It is as if the local paint shop they only stocks odd left overs. You make your selection based on available quantity rather than colour!
“Do you have any colours that match?” the painter asks. “No” says the shop keeper. “Excellent” says the painter. “I’ll take the lot!” The result is wonderfully vibrant.
The streets themselves are all cobbled although there are an array of styles and ‘textures’. These range from relatively level stone ‘brick work’ (the Portugese word for this is the tongue-twister ‘paralelepipedo‘) to a version using large, flatish rocks, which should only really be driven on in a 4×4, and even then, slowly. Add in road repairs and the apparent absence of speed limits is understandable and yet they still build speed humps!
And it was quiet, did I mention that?
We took a stroll around town on Sunday and found ourselves at the Byzantine Cemetery. This is an impressive collection of white-washed mausoleums, and you’d expect it to be the quietest place in town; but with the five of us and two people from the circus that was pitched opposite, it was the liveliest!
There is a museum in town, but we never found it open ……..
We ate out each afternoon and evening and in exploring the local restaurants we did find a real gem. Restaurante de Dona Nena. Dona Nena is a lovely old and chatty lady who runs a pousada and a ‘kilo’ restaurant.
The food is all cooked in the traditonal style on a massive wood burning range called a Fogão a Lenha and you help yourself straight from the pans on the Fogão. The food was absolutely delicious. On our second visit we were greeted like long lost friends and made so welcome that I had to remind Valeria to weigh her plate! She was so busy chatting she forgot; it was just like having dinner with friends. Ermida asked if she could have a mango to take away (she does like her mangoes) and she ended up leaving with a bag full, D Nena adding more as we actually left. Luckily we only ate there twice, otherwise we’d have had a serious weight gain issue.
Mucugê is a charming and colourful place to visit, although during our visit, it was a bit like staying in a massive open air museum. We obviously weren’t the only people in town, there were shops and restaurants open, and people using them, but most of the time it did feel like town was deserted. Quiet can be good, I like quiet, but perhaps this was a little too much of a good thing.