And a love story....
I have been laid up for a few weeks and have had to rely on Denise for EVERYTHING.1 I haven’t been able to split the dog walking responsibilities with her because I can’t get out of our apartment without her assistance. I cook fewer meals, can’t wash my own hair, and am unable to carry more than a bowl or cup. This week, I am even relying on her to be my eyes, feet and photographer for the Festival das Almendoeiras em Flor.
A Small Village
You may recall that Denise and I previously visited the small village of Alta Mora for the Chestnut Festival. Well, it seems that the good folks of Alta Mora are always up for a party. (Frankly, Denise was equally happy to get a few hours away from her needy spouse.) So when she was invited to take a hike with our friend, Ana, she jumped at the chance. She registered online and paid a small fee. Upon arrival, she was provided a commemorative mug.
We learned that the festival to celebrate the almond blossoms is a spin-off of a walk first held in 2005. But the festival came into its own in 2020, and despite the Covid break, has grown exponentially. Through the hard work of 100 local (primarily elderly) volunteers, the Municipality of Castro Marim and various tourism groups this event has gotten bigger and better each year.
3 Days of Fun
2023 the program was expanded to include 3 days of fun. Denise participated in events on Saturday including the 6 km (3.7 mile) hike that started at 09:00.2 She estimates that there were as many as 400 people participating in the hike. After the hike there was lots of food including a 40-meter long almond cake. Two stages provided folk and popular music venues throughout the day, there were lots of activities for children, and vendors offering regional crafts were in abundance. A promotion video from a prior year is below:
One respondent to my recent reader survey asked about hiking in Portugal. Denise and I did happen upon trail signs during our visit to Alcoutim. We returned with Onix a week later and followed the GR15 marker from the town toward the river. The path was well-marked and offered longer and shorter options. We did not see another human during our 8 km walk, though we encountered two dogs tied up on a property we bordered. They were so excited to see Onix, that one broke free. Fortunately, Denise was able to shoo the dog away allowing me to escape with Onix. A momentary raucous during an otherwise lovely morning stroll.3
The subtitle of this post promised you a love story…so let me end with this. There is a legend that an Arab King once inhabited this area. His lover had always lived in cold climates and longed to see snow again. Desperate to please his lover, he planted almond trees across the fields. Each year their blossoms covered the fields like snow…a gift to the woman he loved. Meu desejo para tu é ter um amor assim...
And speaking of love, permit me to direct you to my post on our first Valentine’s Day in Portugal….shocking!
Até à próxima semana…Tchau
Breaking News: On Thursday, the Council of Ministers is expected to vote to end the Golden Visa Program. This along with several other initiatives are intended to support and promote the Portuguese housing market.
And for all your dog lovers out there…something to make you smile. It seems Portugal now lays claim to the oldest living dog in the world. And remarkably, he (Bobi) is not a chihuahua or other small breed. The Guinness World Record holder is more than 30 years old and appears to be a labrador-ish mixed breed.
To add insult to injury, my constant reliance on my knee scooter is now causing my artificial knee to scream from time to time.
Longer routes were available including a 25 km hike on Sunday.