With the recent hit cartoon, featuring the city of Rio de Janeiro, and aptly called RIO, the country of Brazil has only reinforced in many minds around the world, the only view they’ve ever had of Brazil. A tropical paradise, with tropical beaches and a tropical climate, all centered around a city called Rio de Janerio.
Rio de Janerio is only one of many stunning cities in Brazil and Brazil is a truly massive country, with a land size that eclipses the US mainland. It’s a little embarrassing how little most of us know about Brazil. It’s the 6th largest economy in the world, there are over 200 million people living there, the national language is Portuguese, not Spanish and of course the size of the country is staggering.
Another little known fact, Gramado is the third most sought after tourist destination in Brazil, by Brazilians. Few who live outside of Brazil have even heard of this quaint little city in the southern mountains of Brazil, where one of the most important yearly Cinematic awards ceremonies in all of South America, takes place.
In South America’s biggest movie festival and awards ceremonies, the awards are called “kikitos”, which consist of a statue of a smiling sun created by Elizabeth Rosenfeld. The yearly festival has been a big hit since 1973 when the first festival took place.
The infrastructure in this small town has been built up over the years to support all of the celebrities and guests who show up yearly for this event, and the city depends heavily on it’s reputation for being a tourist destination, so they continue to build out their city while maintaining the natural beauty of the city. They have clearly avoided allowing large builders to run amok in their city, by maintaining a very high standard for any structures built in the area. Due to these standards, there are a number of high class hotels in the area, along with a good selection of high quality restaurants and a plethora of great stores lining the streets of Gramado.
Brazilians who spend their vacation in the mountains of Southern Brazil usually have a set itinerary: Gramado, Canela, Garibaldi, Bento Goncalves, and Caxias do Sul. Together, these towns offer what is best in Italian wine, food, dance, crafts, and culture. Not all of them are small towns. Caxias do Sul has over four hundred thousand inhabitants, and is a very prosperous city even without tourism. Garibaldi and Bento Goncalves are known for their wineries and vineyards.
One of the really enjoyable day activities includes a classic train ride that departs from Bento Goncalves and goes through 23km of vineyards while its passengers, besides appreciating the view, can taste wine, eat Italian typical foods, dance to live Italian music, and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. The train ride includes many traditionally dressed workers, who are there to really liven up the ride. They do a great job at making the tour a lot of fun for everyone, including children of all ages. At the end of the trip, the passengers can visit the Italian Epic Thematic Park, where they can see an theatrical play that tells the true story of an Italian couple who immigrated to the region, how they lived and what they found when they arrived in Brazil from Italy.
Overall, Gramado offers a completely different experience to what many would consider a typical Brazilian vacation. Or more aptly put, there is way more to Brazil than what the movie Rio portrays Brazil to be about.
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