14 August 2013

Medieval Fair, Sao Pedro, Sintra

Last year we chanced upon the Medieval Fair in Sao Pedro, and enjoyed it so much I kept a careful watch out for when it was due this year and promptly stuck it on the calendar for another evening out.  The fair runs over a long weekend and this year took place over the 19-21 July.

Last year we picked up a man bag for Glenn, some wonderful honey soaps, a selection of spices and sampled some draft mead - you bought the first drink which was served in a terracotta mug and you kept that and just got a refill! Excellent stuff.  We have carefully looked after these two mugs in anticipation of a refill this year.

The fair is organised in the main square in Sao Pedro - where the normal bi-monthly market is held on Sundays.  It is fully decorated in medieval style with shacks, straw bales, bunting etc.  There are actors playing the parts of drunks, beggars, quarrelling couples etc entertaining the crowds which all adds to the atmosphere.

A couple of the players resting

Some of the shacks/stalls and tables and benches for the diners

We arrived early evening just as everything was starting to get going and the first thing we heard was the band.  A fantastic group of people playing bagpipes with a really driving beat from the drummers - all music of the period which made me think that music must have been quite good back then and certainly very loud.  We followed them down through the square for quite some time as they were so entertaining. Wish I had got their name as I would like to hear them again.  The drumming was really infectious.

The band

I found my stall for spices quite quickly and got a good supply of the spice mix for chicken dishes that I like to put in a sauce with the chicken and turkey meatballs I buy from a good butcher up in Ericeira.  I also stocked up on a spice for fish.  He was offering a BOGOF deal - not quite medieaval but good business practice!

The spice and herb stall

There were quite a few places selling honey and honey based items as in soaps, handcreams etc.  Children found it interesting to see the honeycomb featured on this particular stall run by a 'monk'.

A honey seller

As the evening got going, so did the actors who played their parts effectively as can be seen in this photo.

Getting into the spirit - possibly too much ale

Other stalls were selling bread and cakes, cheese and spicy sausages, selections of herbal teas, handicrafts, clothing etc.

Cheese and spicy sausages

Last year we watched some of the actors terrify the children with a renactment of George and the Dragon, this year there was an opportunity for the children to fight knights.  Some really got into the spirit of it so it was just as well nothing was sharp.

Knights versus knaves?

For the less brave, there were pony rides or a carriage ride for those who wanted to be a maiden waving at her followers.

Pony rides

Carriage for a maiden

We came across a bit of a crowd and stopped for a watch and saw some pretty impressive juggling and fire eating with comedy routine added in for extra enjoyment.

Fire eating, fire jugging and comedy

We searched for our mead stall to no avail and eventually asked someone where he was in case we had missed him somehow.  Sadly, this medieaval fair clashed with the one being held in Obidos and as he was based in Torres Vedras, Obidos won as it was nearer.  So we put our mead mugs back in the bag and headed for a beer stall.  We sampled some rather pleasant different brews and Glenn was allowed to see if he still knew how to pull a pint.  He isn't that short, by the way, the other guys were standing on a platform.  

He can still pull a pint

It was now getting dark and we started to get a bit peckish.  There were so many choices from soups, barbeques, crepes, pao com chourico (the beautiful wood fired baked bread with spicy sausage) - you name it, could could get it.

Fancy some pork?

Perhaps you prefer ribs or sausages?

Getting rather busy

We sat at a table with a lovely local couple who quizzed us about Wales as surprisingly for their age group, they wanted to visit Wales and not London as they prefer the countryside.  It never fails to amaze me how the Portuguese are so interested in why we chose to live in Portugal.  They love it when we tell them it is because of the people, the culture, the lifestyle and, of course, the food.  

It was getting late so we decided to leave and as as we headed for our car, this strange procession of quite alarming looking monsters headed into the crowds which parted to let them through.

Not certain about what these were supposed to be or represent but they were scary

As we were leaving we looked back and saw just how popular this event is. We will be back again next year.

Our final sight of the fair

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