Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Marvao Chestnut Festival

This annual weekend festival is one of the highlights of the local calendar and as observed last week there had been plenty of planning in anticipation. Gary's site and rooms were busy and up at the town stalls, lighting. stages and marquees were being erected.
However after weeks of  hot sunny weather a low had gathered out west which shrouded the hilltop town in cloud and brought cold winds and blustery showers and deterred me from visiting on the Saturday.
However Sunday dawned bright and clear so after attending to the various animals and giving the dogs a good walk I hopped on the bike and took the back road up to town. Cars were parked in every available space on the approaches as the GNR were limiting access as busses were laid on for the twisty access road but I was waved through and was soon locking my bike up outside the convent.
The town was bustling with life - not something I have seen on previous evening visits - as visitors explored the narrow streets, watched bands and displays in the sunny squares and consumed pounds of chestnuts cooked en masse in half oil drums giving off a heavenly aroma. Below the castle chickens were being barbecued and a host of stalls selling cheese, wine, olive oil, craft products lined the town walls.
Everyone was in good spirits and I enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere and watching the performances. Two young jugglers took centre stage in the main marquee and deservedly received much applause from the crowd.

As I was leaving I saw one of the cleverest acts I have seen in the shape of a seemingly elderly couple wandering through the streets greeting all and sundry. A young lad in a wheelchair was absolutely entranced and they took the time to pose for pictures with him and his family before heading off in to the crowds jabbering away.

Downhill all the way made for a rapid return to the quinta where all was well and arrangements were made to collect Yolande on her return this week.

Yesterday  Colleen and I headed across to Spain for the weekly market in Valencia D'Alcantara where we bought various fruit, veg, cheeses and some fabric - a new throw for the van seat for me and curtain material for her. After a decent coffee in the square we returned to finish sorting out the house and garden whilst Anna added the final touches to the walls and steps she has built during the last fortnight. She had made a delicious tortilla from the eggs that arrive at the rate of 8 or 9 a day here which we all enjoyed in the sun but last night saw prolonged and torrential rain which will no doubt encourage the fire salamanders out once more.

However as always the van provided a warm and cosy environment and I settled in to watch a couple of films having assisted Colleen in catching up with emails etc. as unfortunately she had dropped her laptop and the hard drive could be heard creaking ominously.

Anyway having not moved far this last week there are no Spots but a flavour of the Chestnut Festival can be found HERE

I will probably head away for a couple of days on Friday before returning here on Sunday as I intend to leave my bike, the generator and laptop here for safety as the van will be in Lisbon's airport parking for almost 4 weeks - my return to the UK being scheduled for the 18th.

There is a chance of a return to Oz next summer for an extended off road tour of the outback passing through Alice Springs once more but using the old outback trails that even the trusty bus would struggle with - here is a flavour of what we might expect .....................

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