Friday, 17 July 2009

A Little Time for Rest...Part Two

On Saturday evening (still the 4th) I took the train for Oporto. My intention was to leave the next day but while I was watching the vineyards rushing by I thought: "Why?" Did I need to be in a hurry?

I had plenty of time even with short distances between albergues. I decided that if I liked the Youth Hostel (no Refugio in Oporto - in fact none between Lisboa and Oporto I was to learn) then I would take Sunday to rest and prepare.

I arrived at a railway station a long way from the Posada Juventude and had to take a taxi, but once esconced, I was restless, and hungry. I asked about food. I was told there was some sort of Fiesta going on "down by the river" (I hadn't the foggiest idea where I was: "What river? It's dark!") and that I would find food there.

There was a band on stage and a singer who had presumably listened to a lot of Enrique Iglesias. I got a hamburger (the frist of many) and went to listen.
Now the Portuguese are wonderful people; they will do anything to help you, but you have to make the first move. I stood aside to watch them "at play". Now if this was Spain the atmosphere would have been very different. But as it was, almost no-one was dancing - or singing, or laughing.

Here and there were a few women dancing together, a woman dancing with two children, holding their hands, a couple dancing in a dance embrace on the sand. It was the most peculiar of dances for this up-tempo music. Let me see if I can was sort of forward, forward, step, step, backward, backward, step step. There seemed little joy in it, there was a certain sadness, but it was all so serene and dignified.

Back at the Posada I asked what was the name of the dance. No-one seemed to know.

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