By Davi Baldussi, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil is perhaps best known for it’s natural beauties, Rio, futbol (soccer), Carnival and a few more long said qualities. But there is a small city located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul (Big River of the South) named Gramado (Grass Plot) that deserves some attention from those traveling around the holidays.
Gramado was established in 1875 by German and Italian immigrants, and today, this charming city of 31,000 residents survives of tourism and the events they promote. Christmas must be one of their biggest attractions, a self-proclaimed “world’s major Christmas celebration”, which is called Natal Luz de Gramado (Gramado’s Light Christmas.)
This eye-candy-event starts on November 12th, and the celebration will continue all the way through January 17th. With this 2 month schedule, daily exhibitions and large audiences (800,000 in 2008), it may be the best Christmas party in Brazil.
Perhaps the most amazing display this year is the enormous “puzzle” made of one million lamps, 1.5 million PET bottles, fifty tons of equipment and 10,000 fire works. It took over 2,000 people but the whole city is trimmed, and it’s the local community who work hard to adorn Gramado.
Some of this year’s other attraction’s are the Fantastic Christmas Factory, a musical, the Nativitaten, the grate Parade of Christmas, the Singing Tree, Encounter of Santa Clause’s, Tannenbaumfest, Christmas Village and many others that justify the long period of celebrations.
The most convenient way to travel from Rio to Gramado is certainly flying to to Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul. From there it is a scenic two hour bus ride to Gramado. The whole trip should cost about US$265 and the bus from Porto Alegre to Gramado leaves directly from the airport.
Here are some options and contacts to stay in Gramado:
Colina de Pedra Hotel Pousada
Fone / Fax: (54) 3286 0967/ (54) 91425538