In yesterday’s post I left you looking out from these walls to the border with Spain. Beneath the castle, tickets were going on sale for the Castro Marim Medieval Fair. 8 euros bought you an earthenware cup (to fill with your tipple of choice), a cardboard crown (one size fits all- or almost!) and entry to the castle. The streets were starting to fill up, and it seemed a good time to browse the stalls, before the entertainment began.
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A skirling of pipes and the thunder of drums had me glancing over my shoulder. Look out- the excitement is just about to begin!
Just time to immerse myself in Arabia before the next group! Exotic teas, cakes, sweets, nuts and magic lanterns. A cornucopia of delights!
The stalls are full of enticements and exotica, and the hand-crafted furniture is enough to make a maiden swoon into a finely carved seat.
At this point it becomes impossible to focus on shopping. The parade has arrived- an amazement of stilt walkers, tumblers, weird and wonderful costumes and masks, and the most hypnotic and enigmatic of magicians. I am enthralled.
Food stalls tempt and wonderful aromas waft, but dusk is about to descend and the time has come to mount the steps to the castle. Yet more entertainment is planned for the evening. What else can there be?
I won’t discourage you by showing the number of steps and the cobbles, shiny with age. But take it slowly, wear sensible shoes, and the excitement and momentum will carry you there. Once through the ancient gates, a Medieval world appears before your very eyes.
The air is thick with the scent and smoke of barbecuing meat. More and more people throng into the castle. Small faces look up at me, aglow with the lamplight and the excitement, clutching tightly to a parents hand. Shadows flicker on the walls.
There is courtly dancing, a banquet to eat (but the queue for tickets is long!) and later the promise of medieval combat and jousting, but it’s time for me to slip away, sated with the day. Down in the streets the party is in full throttle and people continue to arrive. I am seduced by the notion of sangria of figs. Just one small indulgence before I go.
This is the second part of a post that I have linked to the Capturing History Challenge and I hope that you’ll take a look. I couldn’t help but smile, though, when I saw that the Daily Post challenge this week is entitled Happy Place, a place to escape to and ‘recharge your groove’. Most of you who know me are well aware that the Algarve is my happy place. For 51 weeks of the year the village of Castro Marim is an oasis of peace and calm. Perhaps you can use your imagination and make these people disappear.
Apologies to my Six Word Saturday friends. I won’t be taking part tomorrow. I hope you can join me on Monday for a walk instead.