The last two days have been full of eating, drinking, walking, visiting and exploring the vila of Ponte de Lima. Feiras Novas (The New Fairs) is a yearly festival since 1826 that takes place the second week of September. Paula and her family have many years of memories attending this festival and still attend. There are so many elements to this festival it is hard to describe the experience. It is music, folklore, fireworks, and parades. Along with food vendors selling farturas (churro), roasted chestnuts, pastries, popcorn, candy and more.
Paula's cousin Miguel's home is in the direct path of the ethnographic parade so we went to his home for lunch and got a front row seat to the action. The people in the parade dress in costumes and ride on mini floats to tell the story of what makes this region unique or special like iron works, stone works, winemaking, farming and more. It was lively and entertaining to say the least.
Music is a big part of Feiras Novas. There are traditional multi piece bands that play in two small grandstands. Other groups specialize in drums only and the have their own procession and the literally try to "out" drum each other. Imagine the loudest drums you have heard and multiply that by 1000. At night people crowd around other small groups in the streets playing an instrument that is like a small accordion and singing traditional Portuguese songs.
Did I mention we have been eating? Just a bit. Paula's aunt and her sister have made us all home cooked meals with love. It reminds me of my childhood of eating at my grandmother's house. We had a very special dish made with Bacalhau, dried and salted cod, a staple here. The Portuguese say there are 1000 ways to prepare and eat Bacalhau. To summarize the dish, the fish was soaked in water, baked in the oven with sweet peppers on top and swimming in creamy mashed potatoes on the bottom. It was truly delicious!