We as EVS volunteers try to live here till the fullest. We try new work areas and always are the first to help everyone, because everything is still very interesting and we want to do everything! For this simple reason, we want to do everything not only in work area, but also in free time.
Portugal is a great place to do your EVS, not only because old tradition and amazing architecture, friendly people and nice working environment, but also because of all the celebrations.
I am not a very religious person, but ended up in the one of the most religious cities in Portugal – Braga. You can find a church in every single corner and I am not kidding at all. But it’s not that bad, when you get used to it. For example – Braga as all the main cities in Portugal has a Saint of the city and it is a huge celebration. The entire city is decorated and there are a lot of traditions for this celebration.
This celebration is called São Joaõ. And the best part is that it is also celebrated in Porto. For this and only this reason, we decided to celebrate this amazing feast in Porto. Of course we had to work, so we left for Porto just in the late evening. Almost made it to the train, like Portuguese style, but made it.
We even had a make-up session in train and didn’t even see how the time past and we were in Porto. What is more, we had green wigs – presenting traditional herbs of this celebration and the best part was that the wigs we got in Braga for free and basically no one in Porto had them, so it was very easy to find each other in the crowd. The not so fun part was that there is also a tradition to hit everyone with a plastic hammer on the head during this night, so we also got hit more times, because everyone wanted to hit a green wig.
This celebration is also known, for Sardinhas – traditional Portuguese fish that everybody was grilling in the streets. Everywhere you go, you can smell the Sardinhas and see people just eating only them. It’s not only restaurants who are grilling them, there are a lot of casual people who just go out of their houses and make a Sardinha party next to the house and sometimes they offer Sardinhas or you can buy them.
You walk in a huge crowd of people, get hit by hammers, you stop and dance in the crowd, because someone was dancing and now everyone is following the lead. You have a great time with your friends and then, you go to see the fireworks in the Ribeira – next to the river. I felt like it was New Year night how great the fireworks were.
It was really one of the greatest nights – all the crazy traditions, all the amazing food, spectacular views and of course best company ever!