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Articles Tagged ‘Guimarães’

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São Gualter and Other Surprises

Friday, July 28th, 2006

The lights in Guimarães are not ALWAYS lit. This happens to be the biggest celebration in the town in 100 years. The patron saint of the town is St. Gualter (St. Walter in his English manifestation), and on the first weekend in August since 1906, there has been a big celebration, homecoming, festival, hoopla. That´s why I had to leave: every room in the town is booked for the weekend. That´s why the streets are full of lights and people. The brochure for the event (available only in Portuguese) quotes Jose Saramago as follows, “a memória que temos e a responsabilidade que assumimos porque sem memória não existimos e sem responsabilidade não mereciamos existir.” I love his dry sense of humor. This morning as I left Guimarães, the streets were not sleepy, as usual. They were packed with people shopping, hauling great plastic bags of things up hill and down hill, buying flowers and foods and gifts for relatives arriving from out of town. There was a feeling of intense excitement. There will be food and music and dancing in every square of the town tonight. I´d love to be there, but it can´t be, so I´m on my way to Melgaço, which apparently is the one place in Portugal nobody else wants to be this weekend. [read on]

Guimarães at Night, Apologies

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Guimarães at night is unbelievable: the city THROBS with energy, life, and light. There are flashing, twinkling, twirling LIGHTS all over the main streets. I got several pictures. It´s like a huge fair, only it´s every night. It´s ten American cities at Christmas. Where do they get the electricity to run all these lights? I don´t know, but it is joy, and it belongs to everyone. Families are out with their dogs, their kids, and their grannies, walking, talking, playing, competing at chess or card games in the park with many onlookers. The college students are dancing to their own beats, or rubbing against each other, or arguing and drinking many beers. There is such life here. I´ve never seen anything like it. There is even a “Museum of the Night,” but I was too tired to check it out. So this is just a quick blog, the morning after, to add that, and also to add a couple of qualifications and apologies for my offenses. [read on]

Best Birthday Ever! Guimarães is Spectacular!

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

I thought Lisbon was terrific; Porto was even more lively than Lisbon and would have been fabulous but for the bed-bugs; then Braga blew me away; Ponte de Lima was the perfect place to be sick and watch the river and let my eyes land on beauty and peacefulness till I could walk again. But lemme tell ya: Guimarães (pronounced gee-ma-RYE-sh) beats everything. This is it, this is the top, this has to be the most exciting city in Portugal, if not in the world. It has incredible art, jaw-dropping architecture, a castle with parapets you can stroll on, a cable car up to the nearest mountain top, a slammin University community full of pierced and tattooed people reading books in the park and listening to MP3s and kissing and sitting in cafes that blare out heavy metal and doing what college kids do, a cyber center that´s open till 2 a.m. and only charges one Euro per hour, and GET THIS! A washer and dryer available FREE in the hostel. So I will wash all my clothes again and dry them for a very long time tonight, freeing myself at last of any possible bed-bug eggs left anywhere. And it´s my birthday. And I am so happy, if it weren´t for my all-terrain Beppi´s I´d be levitating. [read on]