Boadela the street of Ouro Preto among the most unforgettable

Boadela, the street of Ouro Preto, among the most unforgettable in the world TAB

In the early hours of the morning, Rua Conde de Boadela in central Ouro Preto (MG) bears little resemblance to the images that have made the street one of the six most “unforgettable” streets in the world by, published Monday (8th). When the windows and doors of the villas are closed, the day dawns when the rubbish thrown over by dogs and pigeons awaits to be collected.

Around 6:00 a.m., the students make their way up the hill to the school. 18yearold student Mayra Silva says Bobadela “smells like mold and dust.” His friend Erick Kauã, 16, laughs and says he doesn’t usually go to street shops. “It’s ok when it’s party time, but this is more of a tourist spot.”

At one of the highest points on the street, 70yearold Maria Abadia Brasilis runs Joias, a traditional jewelry shop featuring imperial topaz, a gemstone found in the region. Customers include students from Ufop (Federal University of Ouro Preto) who “always take a souvenir for their mother” and, above all, tourists.

“Upstairs, the shops are more convenient, not every tourist wants to go all the way down the street,” she jokes, who has lived in this big house for 40 years. Maria says she pays around R$11,000 in rent, one of the most expensive. “It’s easier to be close to everything, after two days I’m already tired of so many hills,” agrees Tereza Yogui, 63, who has traveled from Suzano ( SP) with her husband Oscar, 63, and stayed close.

Rua Conde Bobadela, Ouro Preto (MG)  Matheus Bernardes/UOL  Matheus Bernardes/UOL

“Not every tourist wants to walk the whole street,” jokes Maria Abadia of Brasilis Joias

Image: Matheus Bernardes/UOL

Conde de Bobadela, also called Rua Direita, offers access to the Museu da Inconfidência, the largest postcard in the city, among other things. At a crossroads, the old Cine Vila Rica and the Grande Hotel end on the right. Going down the slope, more modest houses with one door and two windows appear, where it is already possible to rent rooms for R$ 5,000.

Along the street are shops and inns, many with open facades, inviting the noise of traffic and, most importantly, the echo of the tools that are gradually being used to transform the historic buildings renovations that can take months. The latest news is that a large house (which used to house a herring shop and a colonialstyle furniture atelier) is now surrounded by facades and scaffolding because it is set to become a new hotel.

It really wouldn’t be a surprise. “Years ago, when Bar Barroco, famous for its bonein coxinha, was still attracting visitors, Bobadela had more charm,” says a shopkeeper who was born in Ouro Petro and has lived there all her life. “The bar has ‘closed’ the road many times. Everything is closed today, but that’s what hotels like,” he laments. “It’s certainly good for tourists, but the people from Ouro Preto no longer have a place here.”

Rua Conde Bobadela, Ouro Preto (MG)  Matheus Bernardes/UOL  Matheus Bernardes/UOL

Early Morning: Around 6am the students start walking up the hill to the school

Image: Matheus Bernardes/UOL

invisible city

Ouro Preto lives a “duality,” says historian Margareth Monteiro, 59, of the Secretariat for Culture and Heritage: it’s simultaneously an inland city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the first in Brazil).

Rua Conde de Bobadela served as a crossroads between two very different parts of the city, she adds. On one side, towards Feira de Pedra Sabão and the Santo Antônio neighborhood, was the “jacuba”, a type of angu made from cornmeal and water, but used as an offensive term for residents of the poorest neighborhoods. On the other side, towards Pilar, the “Mocotós”, the “high society” of Ouro Preto.

Among the pompous pubs and bistros, there is only one traditional bar on the street that has been active since 1985. With small tables and high chairs, snacks and “litrão” beer, the Satélite bar is by far the most popular spot it’s said to be last. Resistance point of what was once Bobadela.

Rua Conde Bobadela, Ouro Preto (MG)  Matheus Bernardes/UOL  Matheus Bernardes/UOL

Eder Ribeiro and Marina de Paula, guides at the Casa Guignard Museum, open to all

Image: Matheus Bernardes/UOL

Among artisans and merchants selling cachaça, dulce de leche and cheese, the door that gives access to the Casa Guignard museum goes almost unnoticed.

The guides Eder Ribeiro and Marina de Paula invite passersby to discover the work of Alberto Guignard, an artist known for the iconographic registration of Ouro Preto. Literally everyone: from Manu Gavassi to the street cleaners who cleared Bobadela of the sawdust carpets last Easter.

Night falls and the smell of chocolatiers begins to permeate the street. When a storm hits, everyone looks for a place to warm up. Celestina Toffolo, 96, prays the rosary from the window of a drugstore. Next to her, Bernadette Mazzoni, 60, tends to the family’s haberdashery, Doneguinha, a nod to her mother’s nickname.

“It’s absurd, Direita doesn’t have to look like a mall to be valuable,” he says, pointing to the changes in the street’s style, such as the replacement of the original tiles and floors with porcelain tiles.

Eventually it started to rain and the street emptied. From Brejo do Cruz (PB), street vendor André Araújo, 28, ended the day selling 15 pairs of socks. “It’s one day for another,” he sighs, walking down the slope in orange flipflops. He leaves: he said goodbye to Ouro Preto and traveled to São Paulo, where he hopes to arrive at the next dawn.