Xistopedia

“It started as a joke and now it’s a kind of people's party”

“It started as a joke and now it’s a kind of people's party”
active nature
This year, the “Carnival on the Porto de Vacas Schist Trail” brought together more than two hundred people, including participants from abroad.

“It started as a joke and now it is a kind of festival of the people”, which this year brought together around 240 people, said Nuno Dias, from the Porto de Vacas Improvement Committee at Pampilhosa da Serra council, who is responsible for organising the initiative Carnival on the Porto de Vacas Schist Trail.

“Most of those involved have a connection with the village, but this is the year that more people came from outside”, he added.

It is in the centre of the village that the group congregates. Some people wear masks, others put Carnival to one side, but there is no shortage of energy, good humour and (re)encounters that are always a part of great parties.

Once the administrative issues have been dealt with and instructions have been given, it’s time to get going. Soon afterwards, and before we break up according to pace, the group is encouraged to stop and gather for a photograph, right on the banks of the Zêzere.


Moreover, the Zêzere is one of our travelling companions, too, and surprises us here and there with landscapes that intervene in our thoughts and conversations, inviting us to an exclusive moment between the person and the river.

This year, the organisation introduced a new variant on the trail, adding about 1.5 km and making it more challenging and motivating for those who go on it year after year.

After walking the trails that surround the village and lead to the bathing area, the participants then received a delicious reward of doughnuts, olive oil cakes and jeropiga, a great way to whet the appetite for the lunch party and gain energy for the afternoon of music and dance that followed, with entertainment provided by the “Ca’Gaita” Group, who also walked the trail.


“I always made the cakes and doughnuts at home. I also made them for family and friends, who would give them to other people and I began getting more and more orders”, says Filomena Marcelino, who relies on the help of her sister Ana to fulfil the orders. The carnival being part of the Porto Vacas Schist Trail also contributed to spreading the word.  “These initiatives are very good, as they bring life to the village and share the traditions and produce of our area”, she ponders.


Ana Pereira and José Pereira, who live in Oeiras, enjoy walking by the sea or discovering the trails in the Serra de Sintra, but the countryside provides a “very important increased level of oxygen”. They found out about this initiative through family members from Proença-a-Nova and promptly joined in.  “It was very nice and interesting, we really love greenery and being surrounded by nature. It’s worth doing again”, they added.


“I like canoeing, but I've never been”, was heard from one of the many kids who took part in the trail. That was Baltazar, we learnt later, the son of Isabel Barata, the psychologist who came with a group of children from “Zêzere Haven”, located in Dornelas, who are invited every year to take part in the event.
 


“It’s the third year I’ve come here through work”, she explains. With the support of Célia Marques, from the Education Team, she accompanied 7 of the 8 boys who are currently at the Haven.  “This is a wonderful trail and, on the whole, they liked it very much”, she assured us.

The initiative also gave all participants the opportunity to visit the old water-mill, which has been completely renovated, and learn how it works.

Text and photos:
Andreia Gonçalves

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