Saturday, June 30, 2007

S. João

Hey, I'm back...
Been home for a few days...and look what I've been up to...

Yep, I've been home for our most popular event (in Porto), S. Joao. For those of you who don't know about it, it's a bit like St. Patrick's day. The similarities are that they close the city for the party, people head off for downtown to celebrate it and it's all about having fun. This party is not celebrated or known worldwide like St. Patrick's but my opinion is that it is much more celebrated, i.e., I could bet the numbers are much bigger in Porto than in Dublin ( I might be biased but I've been to both).

S. Joao (St. John) is the patron saint of Porto and it's celebrated on the 24th of June, and it's a bank holiday in Porto's Metropolitan area. On the 23rd evening they close the streets in the city and everybody heads off towards the river. The picture above shows my crowd, Herr C., Mike, 'moi' and The Daddy. The 'thing' you see in my hand is a traditional hammer and we hit each other on the head with that. It usually squeaks like a toy. Traditionally you would take a garlic flower and brush it on people's noses, like this one (it stinks):

At midnight, there's the fireworks....half an hour of it...simply spectacular:

You can watch this show from both sides of the river, from Gaia and Porto.
This year they had a giant metal ball hanging from a crane. I saw a very similar thing a couple of years ago in Sidney for the New Year. I remember the fireworks finished and people were still looking at the ball to see what would happen but nothing did. I was very disappointing. I kept wondering if something would come out of this ball...and it did:

Pictures aren't really need to live it.
Afterwards you just drag your group around town, drinking and dancing..there are music groups performing in each of the stages scattered around both cities. And don't forget, keep hammering:

Here's something you won't find in Dublin, a mobile bakery...not just any bakery, it has got traditional wood fire ovens made of clay and they bake bread with cured meat inside... mmmmm

Some traditional games... at 1am.... in the middle of the street...

Because I'm spoiled's what I got from The Daddy :)

And these are my three little (one big) princesses:

(now you try to get the three of them to stay still, look at the camera and say cheese :)


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