Sunday, April 1, 2012

World Rally Championship & Easter Outdoor Play in Pera

We started off the day by having the Easter bread that we got yesterday at the Paderne fair. It was very good, Next I had to find the directions to go see the WRC (World Rally Championship) of Portugal. I knew it was off the beaten path and the general Area. Just had to find out how to get there exactly as I knew we would be on back-country dirt roads.

I figured it would take about 45 minutes on the back roads avoiding the tolls. One section was in need of road work but it was not too too bad. The last 3 KM were on gravel roads. I hope the insurance company is not reading my blog as I am nor sure if we were allowed to be on gravel roads or not. Oh well.
Driving in a lot of cars passed us heading out, so we weren't convinced we were going the right way. What a pretty drive to get back here, through the mountains, and little tiny villages on back roads, definitely not somewhere a tourist would venture on purpose.
Finally we reached a very long line of cars parked along the side of the gravel road so we knew we were at the right place. The police were just starting to stop cars from driving further down the road. We were very lucky to find a parking spot right where we turned around. Parked the car and then walked along the dirt road about 1 km until we found the spots to watch the race. Along the walk we saw lots and lots of cars parked along the road that had obviously been there over night, some still had tents outside, others camp fires going, this is a real groupie sport following here in Europe. We climbed up muddy hill to the viewing spot that I had read would be good, we could see 2 'S 'turns coming down a steep hill, then a full U turn to go back up the hill on the other side of the mountain.

90 degree parking

Narrow bridge on the back-country road

Cars and trailers parked on side of the road

Overnight tenting

Tenting in an orange groove

With the rain we had, the leaves on the vines are comng out

Villlage of  about 10 farm houses where we watched the WRC

Not designed for high speed u-tuns

Wendy would not let me take it home

We're here for a good time, not a long time

The race started about 30 minutes late, no idea why. There were about 500 people maybe on the hills around where we were, no admission price to get in which surprised us both. What an amazing spot. First there were a few lead cars that went by that were fun to watch, but nothing like when the real race started. The first 15 cars were the best in the world and part of the WRC, and did they ever go fast. They snaked through the 's' turns, and coming around the U turn drifted and sprayed dirt all over, it was fun to watch the official photographers trying to protect themselves and their very expensive cameras.
After the first 15 cars it was amazing to watch more than half the fans leave, many left to move on to watch the next stage which was about 20 km away, we stayed until the end and watched everyone come done. What a difference in driving, the last drivers actually waved at us from the car! We spoke to a father and son at the end when there were only about 50 fans left, it was fun to move wherever we wanted to view the race. The father and son were from this area and the son loves racing so the father came also this year, they taught us a lot about rally racing here, it was great to talk to them. I know a few of our nephews and grandsons would have so loved to have seen this, maybe one year....Craig, if you didn't like the other car and motorcycle we picked out for you I think one of these cars would do!
We were one of the last to leave as we stayed to see all the cars. When we got back to the car, we noticed we were a little bit away from the ditch. Does not look so bad when you are bumper to bumper but when you are the only left, its another story.
And the crowd goes nuts, me in blue in the center taking pictures.  Wendy took this one

Moi at the WRC of Portugal, another thing off my bucket list

S turns coming down the hill

For my friends at Ford (Ian)

Full speed up the hill again

Left turn 3 says the co-pilot

Series of photos taken at the u-turn,  Yahooooooo! This is fun.

Photographers are saying ouch that hurts and my poor camera, all that dust

Craig, do not try this with Granny's car

Or at least, do not let her see you doing it.

 Driver & co-pilot, Just like Wendy and I except we are not as fast as them.

It was very dusty

Locals returning from the race, the kids in the back were having a great time

We could have parked a tiny little bit closer to the edge

Following the race we decided to head back to Albufeira and get some lunch. It is now 3PM so we decided to go to a restaurant with a beautiful view and terrace for lunch, actually the picture on the top of our blog page is taken from the terrace one day earlier on vacation. We had a lovely relaxing afternoon, the sun was shining, food and wine were delicious. We had the entire terrace to ourselves for 2 hours. Decided it was time to head home and maybe a nap.

Life at the beach
View from where we had lunch/supper

I think I will have the fish & chip today

Enjoying my ice cream, it was more like a shooter for me

Got home and started looking at pictures and got a call from Doreen and Ian on Skype. We've had some great calls now from Ron & Nancy, as well as Jill and Joey, Skype has been a great way for us to keep a little in touch with family and friends, and we've been able to show off our views from our little apartment.

After a snooze and finishing Wendy finishing her book we decide to venture out to Pera to see an Easter play. Wendy bundled up in her new jacket. I don't think we ever mentioned this, but Wendy and Nancy bought new jackets in Halifax, we didn't even make it out of the country before the first purchase was made. There was talk at one time about Ron & Nancy joining us in Portugal for March break, those of you that know Wendy well know how much she hates to shop, Nancy is a bad influence, it is much cheaper that they didn't come to Portugal. Wonder if Nancy did enough shopping in Florida when they were away.

Pera is about a 20 minute drive from Albufeira, we haven't done much night driving but decided to try it out. We left before it got dark so we would at least find the way there OK, if it was a bad drive we said we would just turn around and come home. Drive was fine, just a couple of little windy roads so we were glad we ventured out.
The play is all set outdoors at different stations around the town which you walk to. The first station was the last supper, next was the soldiers coming to arrest Jesus, then the trial, then Judas hanging himself, then they freed the prisoner and a choir sang.
At the very beginning they did an introduction in English, but all the rest was in Portuguese, good thing we know the story! The production was very impressive, and so many people in the audience. It was kind of magical with the torch lights all along the route of narrow cobblestone streets that you followed from one station to the next. They also had a lady do a solo. Both her and the choir were amazing. We left while the choir was still signing but we could hear it as we were walking away to the car. It was very neat walking back alley and hearing it. This was 2 hours into the play and 11PM, and we knew that they were at least doing the crucifixion and resurrection, plus who knows, maybe a midnight mass, some snacks, some wine???

A great way to end a fantastic week-end.

Street where we parked, in case I need to ask for direction later, which I did

Lots of torches lighting the place.

Last supper scene

Church hosting the event

The trial of Jesus

Judas trying to undo his betrayal

The main character of the play, Jesus

Some of the crowd

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