For our one-year wedding anniversary, my husband and I decided on a three-way. Not THAT kind (get your mind out of the gutter!) I am referring to our motorcycle, Betty. We had spent so much time traveling by plane this year that we decided to keep it simple and take the bike somewhere close by. Brazil has so much to offer outside of what is “known” by tourists, that it was hard to decide! In the end, we chose the lakeside town of Capitólio. This small town is situated on the Furnas reservoir in our state of Minas Gerais and shares space with one of Brazil’s many stunning canyons.
Even though it had been a warm winter, we still bundled up because on the highway, things get chilly. This would be my first long term ride on Betty and my new custom-made seat. It also was my longest ride to date, at about five hours there with stops and four on the return. I’m proud to say that both my butt and I survived, and if I had any problems, it was being slightly bored towards the end of the ride, rather than any painful body parts. Hoorah for custom-made, motorcycle, passenger seats!
Our ride to Capitólio was against the wind; not the most comfortable way to travel by bike. However, the rolling, lush hills of Minas made for tranquil scenery and lulled me into a Zen-like trance. After about three-hours, we came to standstill traffic due to road construction, and quickly found ourselves surrounded by other motos, as bikers here have a tendency to inch around cars to the front of the line. Soon, we were all off our bikes, shedding our many layers that, while protective on the road, had us roasting while standing still.
Why so many other bikers?
In addition to it being a long holiday weekend, there was also a major bike rally in the region! This normally placid corner of the country was littered with Brazilian bikers on everything from Harleys to Hondas. Luckily, Capitólio wasn’t the focus of the rally, so we were able to escape the rowdiness that seemed to prevail the surrounding towns. Still, it was fun to see all the biker “flair.”
Capitólio calls itself “Queen of the Lakes” and is a simple town with very few restaurants and little to do outside of nature and water-related activities. We were told that when the reservoir was created, the old part of the town was flooded, and that during droughts the water level is so low, you can see ruins of the old church!
As we needed two days for driving, that left one full day for fun and relaxation. We decided to take a boat tour around the massive Furnas Lake, which included several stops at waterfalls, rock formations and canyons. Many Brazilians donned their itsy-bitsy bathing suits and dove into water that was way too frigid for my tastes. But it was great to dip my toes in and gaze up at the towering cliffs.
Later that night, we toasted our marriage at our hotel’s lakefront terrace. While the Cyrilos Palace Hotel is a bit past it’s prime, it had a pleasant Dirty Dancing-esque vibe and enjoys a premium spot on the lake. As we sat sipping beers, nibbling cheese and olives, and watching a blazing sun dip behind the hills and light up the lake, we knew we had chosen the perfect getaway to celebrate our first year as husband and wife.