Our first village party

Arelho (where we live) is a quiet Portuguese village between Obidos and the Atlantic coast. It is not really on a busy route: there is some uproar at the cafe and the school and every now and then a car honks through the village, selling vegetables or fish. In short: calm and relaxed.

But once in a while the village comes to life. Because when a party is organized, the village wakes up! This was also the case last Saturday: three choirs performed in the Centro Social (the village house/café) and prior to that there was a joint dinner. Both Jeannette and Pieter had been approached by one of the organizers to join. And well, good for the integration: let’s go!

When registering Jeannette saw that we were number 4 on the list, so when we walked to the village house on the day, we were equally afraid that we would be with a small group. Well, that was not the case … the entire village house was full with 250 villagers at five long tables!

We were seated by a friendly lady next to two English villagers. So our intention to speak a little more Portuguese was not very successful. But it was fun and our English table companions had been living in Arelho for 10 years and were able to give us many useful tips. After the fine meal (the well-known Portuguese vegetable soup, followed by a pork stew with rice and fried potatoes and fresh fruit for dessert), three performances of singing groups followed by a number of speeches and the exchange of gifts. The first performance was the church choir from Arelho itself, then a choir all the way from Madeira Island and finally a group from Caldas da Rainha. Lots of Portuguese folk music and the audience occasionally sang along.

In short: a successful evening!