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.
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!
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!
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.