Festa de São João

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For our holiday part two, we took the three hour train from Lisbon Santa Apolonia to Porto Campanha. It cost 47EUR return each and was lovely and comfortable with free WiFi, so we checked our ‘googles’, read and napped.
Train to Porto In Porto we went to the beach, we ate in lovely hipster cafes and we nearly died walking around the city during the three-day-heatwave.
IMG_2007Porto is Portugal’s second city, home to Port wine, and is built up the hills on both sides of the river, with six bridges connecting them. You can go on a boat trip under all of them for 12.50EUR if you wish.

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View from Crystal Palace Gardens

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Ponte Luiz

On our last night (23rd June), we were treated to another street party. This time it was to celebrate São João (St. John) and the summer solstice.  All week we asked people where we should go, and we just got told “everywhere”.

Decorated streets for the party

Decorated streets for the party

Everywhere will be a huge street party.

We weren’t convinced. Finally, while we were having our free Port wine taste (thanks to Therese’s beautiful blue eyes) we were told that there would be a firework display from the bridge at midnight.
IMG_2154We still aren’t really sure what we were celebrating and how many traditions there seem to be for one festival but it was really fun and wonderful to have taken part in. First was the plastic, squeaky hammers for hitting people on the head.
IMG_2167Imagine the sound that trainers made when people were running around the sports hall at school. Not sure which crazy person invented the squeaky hammer but it also comes with a whistle. Or option two was a long, purple garlic flower which they tickle your nose with…

From our apartment

From our apartment

Then once it was dark, everybody started to set off Chinese lanterns. The sky looked amazing as it was full of flying lights.
IMG_2183We still hadn’t decided if to go down to the river or not, as we knew it would take hours to get through the crowds to come back up, but when we saw everyone else skipping their way down, we joined in and got there just in time.
IMG_2206This was as close as we could get, and we were glad we did as it was a really good display and sixteen minutes long. The fireworks finished and the DJ in one of the windows started the house. Lots of people, lots of hammer hitting on the head and lots of flower tickling.

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