Campos do Jordao: Brazil's Swiss-German Attraction!
After WW2, many Germans-Swiss (some former Nazis) fled to Argentina and Brazil to avoid prosecution, like Dr. Mengele. Others, were just fleeing former soldiers seeking a new life. There is a lot of German-Swiss influence today in parts of Brazil.
One of those places, famous for touristas, is Campo do Jordao, which sits in the 5300 ft. mountains between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro . For tropical Brazil, this is the most it will ever be like Germany or Switzerland. In some winters, there could be snow, but that is rare. Low temps usually are in the 40's, with rare freezing. When it is summer in the USA, it is winter in Brazil. For them, Christmas is in the heat of summer. The last light snow fell in 2004, before that in 1942, and before that, 1928.
Camp do Jordao is like stepping into Germany, Austria or Switzerland. It is quite obvious who the original settlers were or where many of the fleeing nationalities migrated to. Just look at the architecture, the manner in which the town is laid out, the forested area. Having been to Germany, it was a shock to see this in Brazil. For the locals, all they have to do is travel to the town for a taste of German-Swiss architecture, their food, their chocolate and food at restaurants (at least the service is in Spanish!). This is really a cool place.
There are plenty of recreational facilities there like mountain trails for biking or hiking, taking the ski lift up the 1700m mountain, swim in cold lakes, see different types of fauna and trees. The town has many German beer halls and timber frame Swiss homes using an A-frame. One of the most items on the menu is fondue.
The town has about 50,000 residents the the downtown area is called Capivari, you cannot miss it because of its resemblance to Germany. Another great place to get exercise is the Alberto Lofgren State Park that has areas has high as 2000m (6000 ft). It is very large and good for hiking, biking etc. When in town, be sure to take the European old style street cars to tour some of the city (they must be from the 1950's era, maybe earlier).
You may just forget you are in Brazil!
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