Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Short trips from Florianopolis - Number 1: Pomerode

South Brazil, in special the northern part of Santa Catarina State, received a large influx of German immigrants in the middle of the 19th Century. In the region known as the European Valley, a number of small villages still retain the influence of its Germanic origins in the architecture, the local dialect and cuisine. The most well-known city is Blumenau, home to the Oktoberfest, a beer festival that is second only to Munich in number of visitors. A more authentic experience is to be had in Pomerode, a small village nearby, where an estimated 80 % of its population still speaks a German dialect.

We just revisited Pomerode last weekend and decided to spend the night, rather than the usual day trip, so we could try the local brewery, Schornstein.

It was a good idea: the beers at this microbrewery were great- my favourite being the Pale Ale, a strong flavoured beer that will please lovers of Real Ale!

At the brewery, you can also snack in typical German fare such as sausages and hackepeter (the German version of middle-eastern Kibbe). If you want to have a proper meal of typical German Colonial cuisine, go to Wunderwald for lunch. The most famous dish is Marreco recheado (Stuffed roasted goose served with apple puree and red cabbage). For me, this is as good as German food gets! If you have any space left, visit the Torten Paradis Kaffehaus for tea and cakes in the afternoon. Next door is the equally tempting shop for the Nugali chocolates- the closest thing in Brazil to Lindt chocolates.

To burn all these calories, rent a bike from the tourist office and cycle through town up to the Enxaimel route (the timber-framed houses built in early 20th Century by immigrants from Pomerland). Cycling is a very popular mean of transport here, with cycle lanes in all the main roads.

An interesting but sad cultural note: although German immigration to Santa Catarina preceded the Great Wars, the settlers suffered a great deal of hostility during this period and many had to change names and their way of life. A striking example is found near the end of the route. There is an old cemetery to the right of the road, where you will see the tombs of the original immigrants- all with eulogies in German, except for those that died during the Second World War, when German was completely banned in South Brazil.

Tips by Brazil Ecojourneys team:

If you do not have a car, there are frequent buses from Blumenau. Once there, rent a bike to go around town;

If you would like a guided visit to Pomerode, check our Deutsche Santa Catarina day trip from Florianopolis.

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