I decided to kite at a spot further south of Guincho for a change, and whilst the session I had was not all that great, I met a friendly local guy (Alexandre) on the beach, and he tipped me off about another kite spot close to where he lived, and then invited me to meet him at the first night of a local festival that was happening in his town of Alcochete.
He mentioned it was a bull running festival and whilst I had mixed thoughts on it, decided to go for the experience.
The streets were covered in sand and the shops all boarded up. It was very traditional, men on horse back, and lots of food and drink stalls and everyone friendly and out partying!
The bull was then bought in, paraded through the streets, and released.
If you were crazy (or drunk) enough, you got into the streets with the bull…..
Some got close, and I have a very vivid memory of being behind the fence and seeing the locals half in the street and half up the fence to escape the bull which was literally a few metres away. It was pretty crazy and a definite experience to witness!
As the night went and the bull taken away (not to be harmed apparently, and generally these animals are not that vicious), the live music started and the street party step up a gear.
Everyone got into singing and dancing along to traditional Portuguese music and songs, and for most of it, it was a really good atmosphere.
I was just saying to Alexandre how good it was to see everyone happy and dancing with no aggravation in the streets, and then unfortunately, we saw some trouble in the streets….
Always puts a dampener on things for me but the overall night was still a good experience (thanks to Alexandre for the invite and showing me round).
From this night I met one of Alex’s friends Sylvia and some of her family David and Mary.
After giving them a lift back to their house, I met Nick, Cecilia and the wider family and got invited back round in which they cooked me a great dinner (good barbecues skills Sylvia!), fed me wine, and I got to see another side of life in Portugal!
Cecila is a traditional azulejos artist, which are glazed tiles and one of Portugal’s best decorative arts. Many of the 16th and 17th century buildings are lined with thee tiles and they are found in Palaces and mansions across the country.
They run a business from a workshop in the house and a shop in Palmela castle, which is also worth a look if in the area.
The family were really hospitable and welcoming and tipped me off about some things to do in the area. I had heard about the Portugease hospitality and can honestly say it is true (thank you Sylvia, Nick, Cecilia and family).