AN AFTERNOON TRIP TO PERLIM CHRISTMAS THEME PARK (CASTELO DE SANTA MARIA DA FEIRA)
Perlim is one of the largest and most unique Christmas theme parks in the country. The project was born in 2008 from the desire to extend the Christmas season celebrations to the entire city of Santa Maria da Feira. This year it is celebrating its 14th year. The “Land of Dreams”, as it was initially named, was installed in the emblematic Quinta do Castelo and aimed to provide unique moments of Christmas celebration with the family and treasured loved ones. From year to year, the originality of the park and the quality of the contents and entertainment attracted thousands of visitors to Perlim, transforming a small initiative into an incredible magical space. It is essentially a huge Christmas inspired theme park located in the grounds of a medieval castle.
Perlim or Pernod
The month of Christmas in Santa Maria da Feira is a special time. In December, the city is painted with joy, light and vibrates with the Christmas theme park. The Perlim à Mesa project extends the festivities to the restoration of the centre of Santa Maria da Feira, which prepares menus, decoration and animation inspired by the characters of Perlim. I somehow can’t get to grips with this name and keep calling it Pernod which is a potent alcoholic drink I consumed way too much of with blackcurrant in the late 1980’s (ha ha).
Not my Usual Cup of Tea
In all honesty this trip was probably not the best idea after my recent traumatic health scare. I randomly, out of the blue, lost my vision in my right eye and had to have emergency surgery to repair a hole and a separate tear in my retina. I am left with limited sight in my right eye, it’s just a huge blur with floaters. My headaches have reduced slightly and I was fed up moping around the house so hubby took me on a “Sparkly Soulmate Saturday Adventure” to cheer me up. It was a lovely sunny day and with rain predicted for the following week, we ceased the moment.
I really wanted to visit the Christmas experience at Óbidos castle but it is a 2 hour journey each way. I have never heard of the Perlim event before but I wanted to add a little tacky twinkle and breathe in some pre Christmas infinite magic. It’s certainly not my usual cup of tea so to speak as I much prefer the small quaint mountain villages which transform into magical Christmas wonderlands like Cabeça located near us which offers the typical Portuguese experience and culture with handmade decorations from sustainable, recyclable and natural foraged materials. I was more than a little apprehensive about the crowds and swarm of little people but I thought it might be a refreshing change and a laugh to go visit as a one off. I was just hoping and praying that I didn’t book for the same day as a scout trip or group school outing. My main dilemma was: “Am I too old to visit Santa’s grotto, sit on his lap and ask for a donkey for my Christmas present?” (ha ha). It’s a 1 hour 37 min journey from our casa to Perlim and 147 km.
Jingle all the Way
I was a little concerned that the bright lights of the event would mess with my vision but I prepared myself with a trio of tools: sunglasses, eye patch and paracetamol, not military vodka this time (ha ha). Hubby recently treated me to a festive headband but refused to wear one himself. Never mind Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, here comes Helena the one-eyed reindeer, it has bells on it too, so I jingled all the way around the park (ha ha).
GPS Coordinates: N 40º55.315′ W 8º32.482′
Opens: 1st Dec – 30th Dec 2022.
There are many different ticket options with various prices depending on if you want to just view the theme park or if you want to see the circus show as well. There are wrist band options if you want to attend on more than one occasion. A weekday day ticket just for the theme park costs €6 (ages 3-12 & Over 65’s) and €7 (ages 13-64). A day ticket on the weekend costs €1 more and ages 0-3 are free. The theme park is open 13:30-19:00. The Circus tickets start at €10. Check out the official website for circus times, I think they have a morning and a late afternoon show. There is an extra cost for quite a few of the rides for e.g. the Perlim train, carousel, zip wire and high rope/tree climbing which all cost an additional €2 each. I really wish they would just charge one entrance price and all the rides would be included in a set price. I can imagine it becoming very expensive if you have a few kids and we all know it’s difficult to tell our kids “No” once inside these places. €2 might not sound much but if you have more than a couple of kids, it all adds up to a hefty sum so deep pockets are required. I can’t imagine what hubby would have spent here back in the day, visiting with his 8 children! I feel the spirit of Christmas was replaced a bit with the spirit of Perlim profit! We purchased our tickets online in advance for €8 each. All relevant prices and discounts including the daily programme of events and map is available here: www.perlim.pt
If you love the Portuguese Presépio which are traditional Nativity Scenes then make sure to make a pit stop at Museu Convento dos Lóios which has a free temporary presépio exhibition and a permanent exhibition for a €1 entry fee. We didn’t visit as the event opens to the public from the 4th December so we were a day too early. We passed by the beautiful convent on the way to and from the event. I will list the opening days and times below. Look how wonderful the convent looks!
4th-11th December, 13th-23rd December 2022 & 3rd-8th January 2023.
Weekdays 9:30-17:00 (Not closed for lunch)
Weekends 10:30-13:00 & 14:30-17:30
The Strange Name – Perlim, Merlim, Piri & Pim Pim
The inhabitants of this invented world, Perlim and Pim Pim, are the twin elves who gave the park its name and started the story that fascinates all who visit. Perlim is a naughty playful elf who is always hungry! This is definitely hubby (ha ha). Pim Pim is Perlim’s twin sister and is a very sweet and prudent elf! She is very well behaved and able to read the minds of all children! I obviously can’t be Pim Pim because that would commit incest (ha ha). Merlim is the sorcerer’s apprentice! An intelligent grumpy wizard, almost professional, very vain and clumsy, he loves to be the centre of attention but has a good heart. Piri is the fairy who is stubborn and silly yet charming and willful! She can make children’s dreams come true just with a wave of her magic wand! Piri walks around the park invisible, doesn’t remember how old she is and with a touch of her wand, anything can happen! She sounds a lot like me (ha ha). I actually had a lot of fun planned with these characters and thought that they would interact with the visitors and mingle with the crowds of children like at Disneyland but it didn’t happen. Not once did I see the characters working their magic throughout the park except at the shows which is sad because although I hate most children, watching the look of sheer glee on their little faces was just too cute and slightly melted my frosty heart. There may have been a Meet & Greet photo opportunity but I didn’t see one. The only characters I saw were the Disney ones outside of the park at the Christmas market. My favourite children’s Christmas film is “Elf” so it’s a shame I never got to hug an elf as I would have been in my element and not let them go for a full 5 minutes (ha ha).
Legend has it, in a dimension parallel to the world we live in, there is a place where all the spells lead to happiness! Inhabited by unique creatures, this magical world is run by a Wizard who lives in a magical kingdom. I really should have smoked a spliff or two before I visited (ha ha). We didn’t buy tickets for the Magical Circus because I don’t think the extent of our Portuguese language skills would enable us to understand the full story but mainly because it looked very orientated towards an audience of children and not 2 old aged fogies. Without a child in tow we would look like idiots but the main reason why we didn’t see the show is because I can’t think of anything worse than being crammed into a marquee with hundreds of high pitched screaming brats (ha ha). I actually would have liked an adult only option to the main theme park in the afternoon/evening as my tolerance for other people’s children has reduced significantly the older I have got. I blame the menopause (ha ha). I’m not sure it would have been quite Cirque du Soleil standard, it was quite expensive for a ticket and I can’t see for shit so I decided to save hubby’s hard earned cash and spend it on hot chocolate and a fartura or two.
Let the Magic Commence!
I couldn’t find any information about parking on the official website. The GPS took us right past a huge free car park so we parked here and took the short 500 metre stroll to Perlim. We passed by a huge queue and I was worried that this might be the queue to get in but it was actually a long line to enter a pizza restaurant which had Disney characters. The first attraction we stumbled across was Largo do Rossio (Rossio Square) which was transformed into a magical Christmas market with a stage and taverns selling the yummiest mouthwatering food and cute artisan crafts and gifts. This is where the Circus is located and also the Perlim train which travels through the city’s historical area of Feirense making the perfect bridge between history and magic. The market is free to enter and you don’t need a ticket. We had a little wander around and we saw Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck characters. We then walked up the hill to the main entrance of Perlim. There are 2 ticket booths located here and neither had any significant queues. There were staff on the gate scanning tickets. As we walked through the main entrance there was a machine that puffed out a huge stream of smoke up my dress which made me jump and nearly wet myself (ha ha).
We had a blast at Perlim and I morphed into an excited child as there were festive flourishes at every turn. Everything was draped in holiday decor and was merry and bright including pretty lights and gorgeous decorations in the enchanted forest. Perlim even stole/borrowed one exhibition from “Alice” the show we recently visited in Porto Botanical Gardens. My favourite part was the natural environment element and themed decorations. We both loved walking around the after-dark illuminated nature by light trail and discovering all the breathtaking dazzling lights and trees drenched in jewel-like colour which really highlighted the beauty of trees in winter. I adored the cute whimsical forest sculptures bringing the gardens to life with much festive cheer e.g. toadstools and red apples. I love to see how creative the displays can get. It was very serene, romantic and a lovely step away from the crazy chaos. I loved the water feature which lit up the lake with vivid coloured glistening lights all sparkling and majestic looking, I just had to take a photo of all the different colours of the rainbow (ha ha). I had way too much fun with all the magic toadstools. I also loved the fake snow which transformed Lapland into a winter wonderland. I had so much fun dashing through the snow like a crazy reindeer. We wandered around the park soaking up all the atmosphere, watched some shows and visited Lapland.
The Childless Couple
Was it awkward visiting without children? I’m not going to lie; it was mildly embarrassing but mainly because I wanted to have my photo with characters and sit on toadstools and it’s difficult to fight prime position with a bunch of screaming 3-year olds (ha ha). I didn’t see any other childless adults enjoying the festivities but hubby said he saw 2 other couples without kids in tow. I think a couple of folk were looking at us with empathy and feeling sorry for us that we don’t have the joy of children to choose our nursing homes when we get older. I desperately wanted to let them know that we are blessed by God with 10 children between us and the oldest is 29! We started young so we can enjoy a crazy child free frenzy middle aged life. I debated stealing someone’s stroller and buying a Perlim teddy bear, hiding it under a blanket and pretending it was our baby so we didn’t look quite so foolish (ha ha). Maybe I need to invest in one of those silicone realistic looking baby “Reborn dolls” but they freak me out big time (ha ha).
Activities & Adventure
The activities which were on offer were: The Perlim train, high ropes/tree climbing, carousels, climbing wall, zip wire, Santa’s grotto and a couple more toddler fun fair rides. The only rides out of all of these suitable for adults was the climbing wall and zip wire but I couldn’t let lose my adventurous spirit on either of these due to my recent eye surgery. The queues for the free rides were insane and the queue at Lapland to see Santa in his grotto was ridiculously long and the rocket ride for toddlers was excessive too, I don’t know how the kids managed to wait in line for so long without having a tantrum. I never once saw Santa in the park so I think he is a homebody, prefers chilling in his house and I can’t entirely blame him! I know we are British and we are known for our organised queuing in an orderly fashion but this was another level of craziness. We stumbled across a dome shaped tent in the forest which was not on the programme. It had a large T.V screen but was packed full of people and I am still very wary of catching Covid so I didn’t risk entering. There are no thrill seeking rides, almost all of the rides are for toddlers, don’t visit expecting Alton Towers, it’s more of a Peppa Pig World minus the pig, unless you count me stuffing my face with Pão com Chouriço (ha ha).
Entertainment includes 3 thematic areas offering 20 musical shows per day and a new circus show called MAGIKAL. You can pick up a map by the main gate which has the full programme with timings. Due to my poor vision, hubby was the map reader and official tour guide for the afternoon. He took me to our first show and I’m not sure if he was taking the piss out of my eye patch but it was a Pirate show (ha ha). This show did not have any seating, so it was difficult to get a good view because most dads decided to put their 3 year olds on their shoulders, blocking the view for everyone else. We are vertically challenged as are most Portuguese folk, so it was mildly annoying to say the least. We gave up on the Pirate Show and headed to a Magic Show. I wasn’t expecting David Blanie quality or even Paul Daniels but this show was proper pants. It consisted of Joanna, a young lady in fancy dress and a wardrobe which had 3 puppet mice. I couldn’t help but think they were 3 blind mice and that hubby was taking the piss again (ha ha). This show was so bad we just had to leave half way through as it was torture (ha ha). I felt really bad leaving before the end but I smelt delicious food, ceased my opportunity and took it, hubby shortly followed suit.
The last show we tried was “O Mistério de Perlim” in the main theatre. It wasn’t great and consisted of a few over enthusiastic 20 year olds and the Perlim characters which reminded me of the Tweenies. We sat through the whole 25 minutes and from what I can grasp the magic fountain ran out of water and they were all devastated. I was devastated that the talent was so poor (ha ha). The worst part was the parent in front of me that had purchased a Hello Kitty shiny helium balloon for their small child. The mum let it bob around in the air which distracted me senseless and hurt my bad eye. If I had a pair of scissors in my bag I would have cut the string for sure, bye bye balloon (ha ha). I think she got my hint of excessive tutting because she eventually lowered it to the ground. Don’t get me started on the small boy whose parents thought it a genius idea to buy him a little musical instrument with 3 bells on it. He jingled all the way through the whole 25-minute show! I was tempted to shake my head at him and make my reindeer headband jingle back at him, we could have started a duet. Oh, the joy of strangers’ children. My tolerance levels aren’t what they used to be. I only live and hope that I like my own grandkids more than other people’s children (ha ha). All 3 shows we saw were aimed at the average age of a 5-year-old. We are 49 and 48 ¾ (ha ha). What I loved was that on certain dates the shows were translated into Língua Gestual Portuguesa (LGP) – Portuguese Sign Language, making it accessible to those with hearing impairments which is fantastic. I worked for years in the SEND dept of education settings so this warms my heart.
I knew this theme park was aimed at children but from the photos and videos that I have viewed from previous years events there did seem to be some fun stuff for over 5 year olds and adults too. I was looking forward to viewing the whole setting under the fairytale towers and turrets within the castle grounds and the gleaming lights on the historical castle walls but it’s undergoing renovation work and the paths leading up to the medieval marvel were blocked off with barriers and prohibited with no access signs. There were also staff guarding the entry at one barrier preventing people sneaking past so we only got a view of the castle from a distance. I suppose the flip side to this was the fact that we enjoyed mostly flat, clear defined paths, making access for strollers more accessible although some were cobbled. I have read that in previous years the sloped grassy hill next to castle can get quite muddy and is a nightmare for strollers and wheelchairs. Usually there are the Perlim letters with a backdrop of the castle which is cute to stand next to and photograph. This time they were positioned high up on a wall with limited access. There were no tunnels of fairy lights either. I was also excited to see: The tree of love, the chocolate avenue, open air ice-rink and the talking trees (no I haven’t been smoking too much pot!) but I wish I had (ha ha). None of these attractions were present like they were in previous years which was disappointing.
Also absent, was the presence of a baloiço (swing) and cosy seating as well as free workshops e.g. arts and crafts, treasure hunt, making Christmas ornaments and gingerbread decorating. I loved brass rubbing activities at Longleat when I was a small child. It was also missing interactive street animation acts such as juggling jesters, acrobats and fire breathing acts which would have made the event a richer experience. It also didn’t offer any of the traditional Christmas festive joys such as a Presépio (Traditional nativity scene) and there was no angelic choir or Christmas carols, brass band or drumming. It really lacked community spirit. There were no equestrian rides – ponies, donkeys or reindeer to feed (unless you count me!) and finally, as I mentioned before, the castle was under renovation so prohibited.
Some shows did not have enough seating as they were smaller stages so kids had to sit on the grass, luckily it was a glorious sunny day so not muddy. All the theatre areas and stages were not under cover so not a place to visit in the rain. I needed the toilet after the long journey and I was surprised that the restrooms had run out of toilet paper in every cubicle and there were no hand towels. Not great seeing as they had only just opened. It was the same story in a different restroom that I visited later on in the day. Not good enough! Take one person’s €8 ticket money and buy some bog paper, it’s way too cold to drip and dry or walk around with moist panties (ha ha). Luckily, I always carry tissues and hand sanitizer because I may not have been a Girl Scout but I was a Brownie and a member of The Church Lads and Girls Brigade. Brown Owl and Sergeant Major taught me well and to be prepared for every eventuality (ha ha). I witnessed a few dads at least 3 assisting their child to pee behind a bin or next to a tree. There were lots of toilets so no need for this public display of nastiness. If you’re going to piss in nature, make sure you’re hidden from humans.
Now lets discuss the music, Christmas songs were playing but seem to be on a loop with a C.D from the 1990’s. I heard Mariah Carey “All I want for Christmas is you” at least half a dozen times. I can’t stand that bloody song (ha ha). I have mentioned the queues for the rides so I wont harp on about this but maybe Perlim should reduce the amount of tickets they sale for each day so children get to enjoy the fun.
What was refreshing was the fact that the food taverns in the Christmas market and the park did not rip us off with over inflated prices and charge an arm and a leg. Although a little more expensive than our local village bakeries it was nothing compared to the crazy Christmas markets in the U.K which are charging £25 for a beer and a bratwurst (German hotdog), that’s daylight robbery! The aroma emanating from the taverns was delightful and I was so tempted by all the crepes, candy floss, toffee apples, popcorn, cinnamon buns, fartura and sweet treats, I wanted to sample them all. So much choice to temp all taste buds. I have noticed that since I have lost my vision my other senses have heightened which makes me super aware of every smell.
We opted for one of my Portuguese favourites “Pão com Chouriço”. The queue looked long but we only waited 5 minutes and didn’t have to stand in the line for long for it to be served as they were cooking the mini pizza and bread on a very impressive and efficient production line. I did feel a little bit sorry for one bloke as he looked a little stressed, bless him. What I love about street food here in Portugal is the fact that it’s made fresh. There was a pizza outdoor oven and members of staff kneading the bread dough and we could see them making the tasty delights in the kitchen area right in front of our eyes. The chef put so much chouriço in each, 10 slices! It was freshly baked, served piping hot and gigantic in size. I took a photo of mine next to my espresso cup as a scale because I didn’t have a banana in my bag (ha ha). It was without a shadow of doubt the yummiest Pão com Chouriço I have ever tasted since relocating here 3 years ago.
The price you may ask, just €3.50 each. I washed mine down with an espresso because I needed caffeine at this point, just 80 cents and hubby enjoyed his usual coke for €2. One thing they didn’t have enough of was seating for eating. I hate standing and trying to eat at the same time. Although there were a couple of marquees with tables and chairs, they were full of people not actually eating much which annoys me. We luckily found a huge picnic table, so I had somewhere to place my coffee while I stuffed my face. I liked the fact that there appeared to be just one small gift shop and that Perlim merchandise was not pushed to parents at every opportunity. I can imagine this place becoming quite costly as ticket prices start from the age of 3 and there are many extra add ons and additional spending for funfair rides, food and treats like balloons.
A Letter to Santa
There are 150 special mailboxes located in nearby businesses and 10,000 letters available. The initiative is way too cute as children can collect a letter template, write their letter to Santa and receive an official response back from the big man himself. What a cool way to combine the magic of a Letter to Santa and support local businesses. I was very tempted to write a letter to Santa and ask for 2 donkeys and a new eye (ha ha).
The Finale, Fireworks & Farts
The show finale is at the Christmas Market so after we visited the extravaganza of Lapland we took a stroll back down the hill lined with pretty trees all shimmering to the wonders of the stage and to soak up the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas. The market looked adorable at night with charming wooden chalets, surrounded by twinkling trees which all looked gorgeous, glittering in the dark. There were unique gifts, decorations, artisan crafts and festive foods to sample. This area was packed full of people especially by the stage area. We found a good spot but were randomly shoved backwards by pushy parents with strollers. There’s nothing like a baby’s pushchair rammed into your shins at high speed to sour the mood. There was a member of staff clearing a pathway so the acts and characters could walk safely to the stage but most people were oblivious to this and walked down the aisle trying to reach the front of the stage. The show started really promising and these performers were really good and actually had skill, a much better performance than the shows inside the park, with above average singing and dancing.
A couple of 12 year olds ignored their mum’s shouts and pushed their way through the crowd and stopped right in front of us. One decided to give the other a piggyback because that’s such a sensible idea. He kicked hubby in the nuts in the process and I laughed way too hard. My joy was short lived as the kid spun around and kicked me full pelt in my fanny. I should have known this was inevitable as hubby and I are not that different in height so I should have braced myself, tried to protect my delicate lady bits or moved but we were packed in like sardines with no wiggle room. Is it appropriate to discipline other people’s rude and disrespectful children because I wanted to clip this little brat around the ear (ha ha). Just joking as violence is never the solution, just strategically put your foot out so the little fucker’s trip over and fall flat on their fat faces then say “Oh my gosh, are you O.K honey?” (ha ha). The joy of other people’s kids, don’t they just make you all warm and fuzzy inside (ha ha). I am not sure why some parents like to free range their kids, they are not chickens! We slowly edged our way to the exit and found a nice tranquil free spot to watch the fireworks. I love fireworks and they were amazing but they were brief and didn’t last more than a couple of minutes. In fact hubby’s farts last longer than this firework display (ha ha).
Apart from the chaotic genital kicking nightmare brats I only witnessed one child crying and having a meltdown during the whole afternoon. Portuguese kids are awesome and rarely seem to kick off. Mums and dads also seem to have great parenting skills and the patience of a Saint. I never have once seen an adult shout or swear at their kid here. In the U.K I have endured so many cringe moments where parents are swearing at their kids and smacking them out in public verging on child abuse. I once witnessed a parent in Asda toilets, Bedminster, Bristol going ballistic at their 2-year-old because they wanted to flush the toilet. The parent shouted at them “Chardonnay Satin Rose, what the fuck are you doing? Don’t flush the fucker, you’ll catch germs”. I don’t know what shocked me more, the kid’s ridiculous name, the vulgar swearing, the fact that she left her poop floating and bobbing around in the bowl like a goldfish or that she proceeded to then visit McDonalds for a Happy Meal without washing her hands first. I have an inclination Satin is probably spelt in a unique way as Satyn (ha ha).
Picture Perfect – Santa Maria da Feira
On the way home we had planned to stop off at Águeda to see the World’s biggest Santa, Christmas mural painted steps and pretty illuminated festive umbrellas in the sky. Who am I kidding, I only wanted to visit to sample the gigantic candy floss, most of which ends up in my hair because somehow, I always manage to miss my delicate little mouth (ha ha). It only added on another 20 minutes to the journey home and resulted in less mileage and cheaper road tolls than the journey there so it made sense to stop off to view the delights. As much as I wanted to visit Águeda, we were both exhausted so decided to give it a miss and make a pit stop at Burger King instead. I was really impressed with the town square of Santa Maria da Feira, it is a stunning city. The square had a huge T.V screen showcasing the footie match, a humongous, impressive Christmas tree and pretty fountain. I even stumbled across some impressive street art and a charming little chapel with gorgeous stained glass windows. The whole area and was lit up and the buildings looked spectacular all wrapped in red bows and holiday spirit.
I hope you enjoy my photo gallery. It was certainly challenging trying to obtain photos with reduced vision and without other people’s children running into the shot. I tried my best but some are blurry like my eyes! I thought I had taken a photo of a huge bird but it turned out that it was someone’s child on the zip wire flying through the air and not a bird of prey (ha ha).
Only those who believe in magic will get in so I’m totally shocked that they let hubby through the door as he doesn’t believe in magic, God or baby Jesus (ha ha). I think the Master of Magic and God both got their own back on my nonbelieving hubby as when it was his turn to sit under the snow fall, as if by magic, it suddenly stopped snowing, that’s karma my friend (ha ha).
Our shroom selfies are hilarious as there is a random bloke in most of our shots. I think he looks a little like hubby’s twin, so we have named this Portuguese accidental photo bomber “Adriano”.
Radiant Rainbows – Lakeside Selfies
Slightly blurry selfies but everything is blurry by this point! I blame the ginja liquor (ha ha). This area was so gorgeous with all the radiant lights bouncing rainbows off the water. Earlier in the day this lake was covered in a sea of white foam and bubbles which looked like a blanket of snow. It didn’t look like water and I’m surprised I didn’t walk right into it. It wouldn’t be the first time that hubby has had to jump into water fully clothed to save my life (ha ha).
Lighthouse Lover Selfies
This area is simply magical and so pretty!
Our snow selfies are equally as bad as our shroom selfies! I’m not sure how but I have my hair all over my face, I think it was from all the twirling and dancing under the snowflakes. I also look very shocked, like a deer caught in the headlights. This is because I had worn my sunglasses all day due to my vision loss and I had to remove them in the evening because I couldn’t see a thing with them on in the dark and I looked a right idiot wearing shades at dusk. It resulted in everything appearing super fuzzy bright and I think it was all too much for my poor little eyes to deal with (ha ha).
Enchanted Forest Selfie
I did not see any forest fairies unless you count hubby (ha ha).
It was an absolute flurry of fun and breathtaking illuminated world but in my opinion it’s not worth visiting unless you have very young children. I loved the artificial snow but I can see real snow for free in Portugal at the mountain range: Serra da Estrela). Also, when I say the theme park is aimed at children I mean under 8’s as most of the shows and activities were for very young kids and I actually think my son at 8 years old would have been bored shitless and found it very childlike as he was reading Harry Potter books cover to cover at that age. I personally reckon it’s for 3-5 year old toddlers and not couples. I don’t want to sound negative but I like to give an honest review and summary. I don’t think it was really worth the €8 ticket entry price per adult and I should definitely have got a discount and paid €4 because I only got to view it through one eye (ha ha).
I have mixed feelings about this park. Would I go again? The answer is “No, not even with hubby’s 4 year old granddaughter”. Don’t get me wrong, we did have heaps of fun and the trip really put me in the Christmas holiday spirit with all the sumptuous decorations but it’s not for me, I just don’t cope with crowds or people very well and it cost a lot of money in ticket entry, petrol, over €10 in road tolls and extra for food and drinks. I thought it would be more impressive, it lacked the wow factor for me and hubby agrees. I left feeling a little bit deflated and expected a whole lot more from our experience. In my opinion a lot could be improved. Think, less Disney and more Cbeebies although the queues were worthy of Disneyland! It just appears to have lost some of the magic that it had in previous years. It did cheer me up as I’ve not felt very festive as we live in a little rural village and I rarely venture out and we don’t watch T.V so we haven’t been bombarded with all the Christmas T.V ads, repeated Christmas songs on the radio or merchandise in the shops. It was also my mum’s birthday the very next day and she is celebrating in heaven so this time of year is always emotionally tough on me. It was a great distraction mechanism to lift my mood and prevent me spiraling into a dark place. In all fairness the park never felt particularly crowded, it was just the shows that were rammed packed full of visitors and queues for some rides, mostly the free ones. At first I wondered what the huge lines were for, I thought they were giving away free alcohol because I’d never put myself through the torture of a queue that size unless someone shouts free booze! (ha ha).
Meet the magic of Perlim, the place where dreams and fantasy command Christmas! Have I sold it to you yet? Go on, you know you want to visit to dance around like Helena with the angel like snow fluttering on your face and embrace the Christmas spirit not the alcohol spirit (ha ha). Just make sure you take or abduct a small child so you don’t look like a right pair of idiots like we did (ha ha). I am going to need the best part of a week to recover from our adventure. I am so exhausted I have a fear that I might sleep through Christmas and miss my mince pies (ha ha). 2 days later I caught the dreaded lurgy and developed a really severe sore throat, earache, blocked nose and nausea. I used to suffer from several bouts of tonsillitis in the U.K each year and I always caught bugs due to working in education settings and daily contact with hundreds of children. I have the weak immune system of a frail gerbil. I have been diagnosed with a low white blood cell count so I’m vulnerable and at a higher risk of catching infections then I take a lifetime to fight them off. Since relocating to Portugal I’ve not once caught a cold or bug. I totally blame Perlim and all those little people for spreading around their nasty germs. It better not be the dreaded C word (Covid) because I’m already not that perky about the other dreaded C word (Christmas). I am slowly trying to ease myself into the Christmas spirit but now I’m poorly, I just can’t be bothered. I’d much rather ease myself into the spirit of Rum. The bottle is beckoning me from the retro lounge bar and we all know that pirates consumed barrels full of rum so it’s an appropriate drink for me (ha ha). I hope you guys are all feeling a little more festive than me. I’m currently just sat chilling in the garden with my chickens, there’s no place I’d rather be.
Real Snow in Portugal (Boxing Day 2020)
I will leave you with a few photos of real snow, Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain in mainland Portugal which often gets snow at winter time. We are blessed to live just 1 hours drive from the Torre. Now this is what I call MAGICAL and guess what? No crowds or little germy people in sight and if a random 12 year old kicks you in the genitals you can pelt them with multiple snowballs and run away (ha ha).
Snowcapped Mountains (March 2022)
My birthday trip to Covilhã. Pretty snowcapped mountains and fluffy white clouds, how simply adorable!