All set to Shimmy!



It’s not every year that Valentine’s Day coincides with Carnaval, but there was definitely something in the air at Loule this year.  As the band ratcheted up the volume, toes tapped, hips swayed and a full-blooded shimmy was just a heartbeat away.

It was my second visit to the Algarve’s biggest Carnaval event, so I had a good idea what to expect.  The Portuguese have a healthy disrespect for politicians and celebrities, and this year’s theme of Sport poked gentle fun at heroes and villains alike. The floats are beautifully constructed labours of love, and there’s an infectious atmosphere of gaiety and excitement. The children have their own mini Carnaval in the schools, and often wear their costumes to the grand parade.  Here are just a few of the scenes that made me smile.

Let the show begin!

Let the show begin!

Recognise anyone?

Recognise anyone?

Most sports were represented

Most sports were represented

It's all downhill for some!

It’s all downhill for some!

For others it's one big smile

For others it’s one big smile

And a hat full of feathers

And a head full of feathers!

Costume malfunction?

Costume malfunction?

There’s a delightful whimsicality to it all, but what really stands out for me is the pure artistry of the paper flowers.  Just look at these!


Nobody is left out, from the largest to the smallest.  The oversized sunshine men reach down to the crowd, then touch foreheads together in a slow smooch.  A stern looking lady, with a splendid costume, ‘high fives’ youngsters at the roadside, between shimmies.  The littlest ones can bounce along on the back of a caterpillar or a panda. Everyone is intended to have the time of their lives, and if they don’t, they’re really not trying!

"Dance with me"

“Dance with me”

"High five!"

“High five!”

The skirt!

The skirt!

Nobody is left out!

“Bounce with me!”

Where's Mum gone?

“Where’s Mum gone?”

And the spectators are part of the show

And the spectators are part of the show

Isn’t he adorable?  The littlest Yoda!  Me and Michael were at one point on opposite sides of the parade.  A brief cloud burst had crowds and performers alike scattering for cover, and when they resumed we were grinning across at each other. He took this wonderful shot.  Mine was ‘side on’ to the little fellow and not nearly so good.

I have so many photos and I feel quite guilty leaving anyone out.  But I shall end with the ‘dancing girls’.  If anyone can shimmy, it’s them!

It goes like this!

It goes like this!

What more can I say?  If you’re ever in the Algarve at Carnaval time, you’re in for a treat.  I’m off to practise my shimmy, in celebration of my 500th post.


  1. They really put a lot of thought and effort on making those awesome floats… and costumes (boy! I do not want to mess with the lady with voodoo doll dress 🙂 ). This is more on visually artistic floats. Here in Crete, Greece is more on the people dancing and energy.

  2. Wow, this world suits me perfectly … understand what you mean with … Michael and his eyes.
    Amazing images, can’t believe it’s still with your old camera – just fab. My favorite is the “hearty donkey” – what a fantastic festival. Something to consider for next Febr.
    Only 500th …. congratulations – I thought you had posted a lot more than that. Keep on shimmy, girlfriend.

    1. Yes, I could see you shimmying away, Vivi 🙂 It wasn’t very warm so those ladies had to ‘move it’ a little! It’s a 3 day event so they get plenty of practise 🙂 Thanks, darlin’.

      1. Okay, I rather go to Portugal in Febr – than Leeds or Newcastle. Have been checking you out. I can fly to Newcastle .. not fare from where you’re.

      1. Bet you’re excited for the trip! I’m in Poland 29th April to 7th May and I need to sort some more Algarve dates but I haven’t looked yet. 🙂 Sorry I’m slow tonight- doing research on tomorrow’s walk and I need to phone my daughter. Hugs, Vivi 🙂

      2. Please, let me know when you get some dates for Algarve. Going back to Istanbul 31th May to 5th June.
        Not worry about responding to me. You carry on with your stuff. Soon coffee break and a movie. *smile

      3. ‘Travel words’. You don’t know Jude? She has a brilliant blog. If you have a second, look at my Six word Saturday this week. She has a Bench challenge and I sort of took part. 🙂 🙂 Sweet dreams!

    1. Those girls had to shimmy to keep warm, Sam 🙂 It’s a terrific event and I was really happy that we could see the first day parade before we came home. They had another two days of parades!

      1. oh so sorry to hear that! and I am almost done packing – but I do have one more post to share before I go — just some street portraits (well 33 of them – lol ) so I can have a long post stagnant in case people drop by and want to skim some photos. I dunno – alomost time for piwo

  3. Thanks for bringing us all the fun of the Carnival. And congratulations on reaching your 500th post. Does WordPress keep count of how many wonderful photos you have posted, I wonder?

  4. Seeing your photos just makes me sad!! 😉 Reminds me of why I want to retire in the Algrave!! Just look at those half naked people… and that in mid Feb!! Enticing!! 😛

    1. That’s quite funny, Bebs! The last time we were there, we did end up taking part 🙂 Every so often the dancers grab someone from the audience. I loved it but Mick wasn’t so keen 🙂

    1. Hi Meg! 🙂 Thank you, I hadn’t thought of it quite like that. Hang on, I’ll just shimmy-celebrate a bit more 🙂 🙂 Breaking the mould? Not sure! Maybe a change of theme is due, or fewer photos, or just circles? I’ve got that restless feeling again- maybe because the sun’s shining this morning. Have a good weekend, Meg. Hope you’re fully fit again. Hugs!

    2. I bet they had a fabulous time when they remembered! Spring has sprung here today. Crocuses, and even daffodils about to bloom next door to us! The weather man says snow though 😦

      1. They’re actually very easy – you twist a circle of crepe paper round the end of a fat felt-tip pen, dip it in a dob of glue and push it into place. The hard part is the design, not to twiddly, so that changes of colour reflect features etc.

  5. I have not seen parade this beautiful, colorful, and fun. Great photos.
    500 post, what a wonderful landmark! Thank you for taking us to so many beautiful places via your lens.
    Welcome back, Jo. 🙂

    1. I don’t know where the 500 have come from, Amy! It does seem a lot, but it’s slipped past in no time (well, nearly 3 and a half years- I must be getting boring 😦 ) Thank you!

  6. 500 posts is quite an achievement Jo and they keep on getting better and better! Wonderful photography here and you have shown us a great sample of the creativity that goes into this carnival – not to mention the hard work! I’m not seeing blue sky though – was it warm enough for those scantily clad ladies?

    1. Thanks, Jude 🙂 I guess practise helps??? I was thinking they’re getting a little predictable and boring and it’s time to break the mould? It was overcast but not cold that particular day (it varied between 10 and 20C over the fortnight) but I would have needed more than just my pinny 🙂

  7. Congratulations on your 500th blog. Wishing you thousands more to come.

    Very nice pictures. The little ones on the caterpillar and the one dressed as a shepherd (?) drew my eye the most. It is good that the tradition is being passed on to children in schools Nothing beats tradition, I think.

    1. Thank you! 🙂 On our way to meet up with some walkers last Friday morning we passed a school and the noise from the excited kids was amazing. They do know how to have a good time, but simply- without spending a lot of money.

  8. What a feast for the senses this parade is Jo, those paper flowers are incredible. I had to laugh at the donkey and as for the ‘malfunction’ lady, all I’ll say is that is just how I felt when I had all my recent laptop issues. In fact, I think that may have been me in the flesh, haha 😀 So much fun, love it 🙂

      1. I don’t want to make up stories. lol I tried to find when I started following you. WordPress makes that soooo difficult. I tried to find when you were following me. Couldn’t find that either. lol
        I wish I could delete all those lovely followers who aren’t following. 😦
        So just wasted my time. 😦 But your blog is never a waste of time. 🙂

      2. I know exactly what you mean! I keep saying to my husband I’m going to run away and start all over again, and just tell those folks who talk to me. 🙂 Thanks for making the effort.

    1. I hope you don’t frequent Newcastle on a Thursday night without the missus, Robin? 🙂 🙂 Something for everyone! I was fine in my nice warm coat and Mick enjoyed seeing a little bit of exposure.

    1. So much time and energy goes into it, Colline! I hadn’t realised we would be there to see the start of Carnival when I booked flights so it was a huge treat. Many thanks for the share. 🙂

  9. Costumes are so much fun, !and you’re bringing the carnival joy home! I used to live in Cologne, where it is almost impossible to be in the streets without a costume during the “wild days”… and I’m suffering from withdrawal. Badly. 😉 So: Alaaf! (It’s the shout they use there.)

    1. Sorry to make you ‘homesick’, Tobias, but I really had to share 🙂 It’s only the second time in 10 years of going there that we’ve timed it right for Loule and it really was fun.

  10. carnevale: colori, allegria, risate….ben venga questo spensierato periodo dell’anno…che tanto le brutte notizie ci pensa la Tv a farcele arrivare
    buongiorno mia cara a te e alla tua bella e adorata Algarve

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