The skies may not be as blue as they were last year, but there was just as much fun, as many happy faces and a wonderfully eclectic mix of costumes. We had decided to return to São Brás de Alportel for the Sunday parade – it is quite close, not too busy and most importantly it is on a loop! We’ve learnt to never arrive early, and so on Sunday it was about half hour after the official start time when we turned up, we were followed about 10minutes later by the Vikings.
Did you spot in the last picture the boy in white with stripey socks? Took us ages to work out who they were dressed up as. We’re pretty sure they are tea bags but what do you think? More pictures below. It was the Portuguese who introduced tea to Britain, and Liptons is one of the oldest tea companies in the world. It’s a Scottish company which began life 128years ago, bizarrely though you won’t see Lipton Black Tea (Yellow Label) on sale in British shops as the ‘mother’ company is Unilever and they sell PG Tips. However Liptons is everywhere here in Portugal.
There didn’t seem to be a parade theme, although now I look back at the first three groups I am wondering if this parade was all about what has come to Portugal. Golf courses didn’t really appear here until 1966, when Henry Cotton laid out the Championship course at Penina. No forget the theme, as look what came next!
The golfers were followed by numerous Tinkerbells and Lost Boys on skates, who in turn were followed by Wonder Women. My best photographs of the Wonder Women came when they returned on the loop so you are going to have to wait for those. At this point I have got a little confused as to what came when as we were close to the turn which meant we got to watch the floats as they came down and went back up. Great for watching and taking photographs but very confusing looking back!
And then they were all arriving at once. There were the Spanish, the Crusaders, Fado singers and musicians, bread makers, aeroplanes, mermaids, Neptune and more. So much happening and so much fun. The sun even came out for the little ones.
By this point I didn’t know which way to look and what to photograph. There was so much going on. The music was getting louder, the groups seem to me merging at times and I soon lost what little understanding I had of what was going on. Did I care though, nope, we were just loving it! Such fun. Also in awe of what they have all created, especially in just a few more weeks it is the flower procession.
Remember I said right at the start that this carnival is on a loop. Well here you are, the Vikings have returned but without Lipton’s Tea. And the golfers were in disarray, I think some of them had found the clubhouse and others were in the rough. However Captain Hook was still in his boat and the full sized Tinkerbell appeared to be challenging the Chieftain.
We decided not to stay for the full loop but I couldn’t leave before I saw the Wonder Women again. I had spotted they were performing their acrobatics on their second time round. There were also a few clowns who had sneaked in from the audience.
And the fun continues tomorrow. So if you’re in the Algarve put on your glad rags tomorrow afternoon and join in the carnival fun. We’re off to another local one but if you are looking for the biggest in the Algarve and the oldest (continuous) one in Portugal head to Loulé.