Novo Hamburgo is beside Franca one of the Capital Nacional do Calçado, that was the reason to came there. The 260.000 people city close to the Sierra Gaucho was in former times a production cluster for the lady shoes, now it s more an administration center for the activities of the plenty of companies headquarters around there.
The history of this city has an interesting aspect, the most people who built NH came more or less 100 years ago from Hunsrück, thats a district close to my homedistrict in Germany. The city name is the name of the harbor, the immigrants came from, that was Hamburg, so they called it Novo Hamburgo. Some villages around still are nearly just german speaking, they call it the Riograndenser Hunsrückisch.
There are still a lot of factories at the spot but for cost reasons, several important producers have sourced out the production to villages around, some up to Argentina. It s a prosperous town, shure, like in every town in moment, everybody is complaining the crisis but there is still enough good business. There are plenty of tanneries and it s worth to keep an eye on high quality leather products. With a few connections, you may purchase such items for low money.
The town itself is proper and organized, a very good connection to POA for a few bucks with the train is available, you need more or less 45 min to POA Rodo.
The hotel I checked blind for the first two days was really boring, no cafe, no shop or petrol station around, thats not good. Than I switched, but this went wrong cause the internet in the other one was generally not working and it was really cold, they don t heat in cheap places, I switched again in the Executive, thats a place to recommend. Nice views to town from the window, a working heater and a night petrol station close by.
There must be lot s of very nice places around, close to the Sierra, I have not visited. That region is very worth another visit. Lots to do there.