My visit to Porto Alegre can best be summarized via some nice photos I took there.
The only interesting event there was the Farroupilha, which is a huge country (gaucho) fair. Where I felt almost like at my good old Texas.
We then took a 2 hour bus to the nearby mountain area and visited the small towns of Gramado and Canela which feel like a village in the Alps meets outlet center. Beautiful nature and architecture, greatttt Italian and German food. Good shopping for chocolates, wine, leather goods, wood decorations and furniture. For some reason there are a lot of themed-restaurants (Texas restaurant, witches restaurant, Easter bunny restaurant, etc.) and parks around. I guess this is something that the local tourists appreciate. Cultural hint: what is the dream travel destination for almost every Brazilian, regardless of age and gender? Answer: Disney!! (Disneyworld) .
Notable food in Gramado: Galeto Nonna Tena (pics of the most amazing soup in the link..), and Cantina Pastasciutta, which made me feel almost like I were in Italy (well, not quite, but the food and wine were great!).
I also got some byuuuutiful leather boots (totally useless item in my neck of the woods) from Malacara, which according to their website, can make custom made ones as well.. very chic!