Viana do Castelo
21.08.2012 23 °C
The drums started as we booked into our hotel in Viana do Castelo, on the mouth of the Rio Lima. We soon found we had arrived on the
last day of a festival which ends with the return of the fishing fleet and a procession to take the local Virgin back to her church. Teams of drummers vied for supremacy, winding through small streets, accompanied by a local version of a bagpipe. The town was dressed to impress, especially young women in the colourful traditional garb. in the fishing quarter. The narrow cobbled streets were painstakingly and skilfully decorated with colored salt. The drummers suffered for their art, strapped wrists, sweating profusely, and exhausted after hours of thudding on some very big drums. The festivities drew big crowds who then moved on to some local music performances.
This morning, the town was very quiet and we wandered to admire buildings from the time when the fishing fleets went out to Newfoundland for cod, and before that, off to explore for spices and gold. From the top of the local hill , reached thank goodness, by a funicular rail, we could see the Atlantic coast and the river reaching the sea. Fantastic views and no pain! I like this town.
Tonight is recovery time due to a shared portion of a local specialty. The dish of about seven different types of meat in chunks or sausages was delicious but we still had to walk afterward. Vegetarians must find it challenging here. And I wonder about the cardiac health of the nation! Then there are the desserts!! Today, we lingered to watch some cyclists lined up outside a pastelaria which sells cakes and pastries. Cyclists are always a sign of important food sources. We realized there actually was a very big crowd waiting to get in to this shop. I think the big attraction was biscotti. Mmm...