FESTA DA CEREJA 2023 – CHERRY FESTIVAL (ALCONGOSTA, FUNDÃO)
We attended our first ever Cherry Festival! The region of Fundão is well known for its cherries and this tremendous festival “Festa da Cereja” is located in the village of Alcongosta. Sheltered between the mountains of Gardunha and surrounded by water lines and fertile valleys. Known today as the land of cherries, it is said that, in the mid-20th Century, half of the inhabitants of the village of Alcongosta were basket makers and the other half fruit traders. The history of Alcongosta – a name derived from the Arabic word ‘congosta’ which means narrow path – goes back millennia, and it is still possible to walk a section of a Roman path, which would have been the link between the north and south of the Serra da Gardunha. Época das Cerejas (Cherry Season) is in June and this years event took place on the weekend: Friday 9th – Sunday 11th June 2023. We decided to attend on the Sunday.
We both love cherries way more than we probably should (ha ha). Not only do I adore the taste of Cherries I am in awe of the multiple cherry trees in Portugal and their pretty pastel pink cherry blossoms that bloom in Spring. It is quite a long journey as although it’s only 75 km, almost all the route is via windy zig zag country mountain roads so it takes 1 hr 30 min drive from our casa. The festival is famous and people travel from far afield to this little charming village to sample the wares. We woke up early and I made the mistake of drinking a frothy coffee and packing overnight oats to eat in the car for breakfast. Once I ate the creamy concoction of oats, strawberries, banana, yoghurt and vanilla protein powder, I felt more than a little sick and very nauseous to the point I nearly had to ask hubby to pull over to puke at the side of the mountain (ha ha). As I’m the princess of planning I decided to pack for every eventuality so I made sure I put a colander and bottle of water in the car boot so I could wash my cherries at the roadside. I’m sure the farmers wash their cherries before they sell them but just in case, better to be safe than sorry. I didn’t use it in the end but I did think that it might be a useful sick bowl if it didn’t have the holes in the bottom (ha ha).
100% Festival Ready
This is my new festival outfit completed with Granny Glitter (ha ha). I think it would have made a fun Cherry Fest outfit but I think it’s a little bit too glamourous for a daytime festival and more evening attire although I would have colour coordinated spectacularly with the lush red Fundão cherries (ha ha). I opted for something a little more low key and less risky but still radiant red.
Cherry Childhood – My beloved Mum’s Cherry Tree 1984 Verses 2023
I lost my mum 8 years ago at the young age of 66. Growing up I adored our little cherry tree in our back garden. It produced lots cherries but unfortunately they were very sour. Mum was a proud keen gardener and quickly realised that our tree needed a partner for cross pollination and before long our tree produced the sweetest ever tasting cherries known to mankind. Here I am about the age of 10 in front of our cherry tree. Yes I have cherries hanging off my ears! I have no idea why, it appears I have always been a bit different and ever so slightly a little bit crazy (ha ha).
First 3 photos are of me as a child in front of our cherry tree. Last 3 photos are from my 2023 visit back to my childhood home in Bristol, yes it snowed in March 2023! The cherry tree is long gone which is a huge shame but mum and I planted a small bamboo plant in it’s place back in the 1990’s. The bamboo has grown so gigantic, it was actually lovely to see that something we planted together is still thriving, her green fingers and love of gardening lives on in this tiny back yard.
Casa Valhal Cherry Tree 2021 Verses 2023
We bought a Brooks cherry tree some time ago from our local market. It looked like a stick when we purchased it (ha ha). The man assured us that the variety did not require a cross pollinator. Once we returned home and we researched the type/species we realised that there was conflicting advice so although it is supposed to be self-fertile (you will get fruit with only one plant) an additional pollinator will drastically increase the size of your crop. Some Websites suggested it requires a cross pollinator and another cherry tree in close proximately so we purchased another one. The 2nd cherry tree died a rapid death and is long gone. The original cherry tree had spurts of growth then it looked like it was dying. It got to a point where we nearly dug it up but then it started perking up a little so we left it. This year it appears to have grown lots more branches and green leaves and sometimes even produces tiny blossoms but I’m not that hopeful to be honest. I don’t think we will be consuming homegrown organic Casa Valhal cherries any time soon and I also think that we planted it way too close to the Oleander bush. I thought about trying to recreate my childhood cherry photos in front of our tree but I don’t have a similar outfit, thankfully, although I am still fond of animal print, ROAR (ha ha).
Casa Valhal Cherry Blossom April 2022
The blossom on our little cherry tree is so awesome! I LOVE the delicate pretty flowers which attracts so many bees.
Cherry Blossom – Blooming Marvellous
Cherry blossoms symbolises renewal, purity, prosperity, ephemeral beauty and evolution. The beauty of new life and renewal in Spring. Their lifespan is very short (around 10 days) so timing is key if you want to view them. Because the blossoms only last for a short period, they can also be symbolic of the time we have to share with others and give to ourselves. Cherry blossom season is typically late March to early April when the trees produce a magnificent display of pink and white flowers. How blooming marvellous! This photo is one I took from our visit to Sortelha (2nd April 2022). It is located next to the scenic swing with a backdrop of the majestic castle and background of green valleys and clear blue sky. I am pretty sure it’s cherry blossom but it might be almond tree blossom, I’m no Alan Titchmarsh, I’m more of a Charlie Dimmock as I garden braless (ha ha). Whatever it is, it’s beautiful, for sure.
Cherries like many other fruits have a very sensual side and are symbolic to many cultures all over the world. There are cherry trees in Japan that are thought to be over 1,000 years old. In Japan, the cherry is a symbol of good fortune. It can also symbolise new beginnings. In ancient mythology the fruit of the cherry tree contains the elixir which gives the Gods their immortality! In Chinese folklore it was believed that the magical Phoenix slept on a bed of cherry blossom to bless it with ever-lasting life. In old Buddhist stories, the cherry is representative of fertility and femininity. In Christianity cherries’ spiritual meaning centres primarily on the miraculous and the divine. The cherry is also very symbolic in western culture and is thought to be a symbol of good luck and future happiness. Cherries also have a sexual side as a lot of literature use cherries to describe breasts and nipples. “Popping your cherry” is a common phrase for loosing ones virginity.
40°07’00.9″N 7°29’01.6″W / 40.116917, -7.483778
I’ve never seen so many cherries in my life! There were crates of cherries of multiple varieties. I just had to sample a few (ha ha). Most stalls had a box of cherries with a sign saying “Provar” which translates to Sample. As well as the fruit form there were so many other cherry flavoured delights such as Pastel de Cereja (Cherry custard tart) and many different cherry flavoured cakes, wines, infused tea, liquors, sangria, jams and preserves. If you fancy savoury food there were options of empadas (pies) and bifana (pork sandwiches) with cherry chutney. There were also various artisan crafts for sale like baskets, clothing, jewellery, soaps and pottery. I love the cherry liquor shots served in chocolate cups. Luckily for me hubby was designated driver so I could enjoy the regional beverages and be designated drinker (ha ha).
We arrived around 11am and first headed to the Cherry House before they closed for lunch. The car park at the festival was spacious and located in a huge field. It was patrolled by the GNR (Police). It was a short 5 min stroll up a hill to the main event. I was slightly concerned when I saw the multiple tour buses in the first car park as I assumed that the festival would be heaving full of tourists but I was pleasantly surprised and I had nothing to worry about as the crowds were minimal. I think we made the right decision by attending in the morning before it got too busy. The streets were lined with “tasquinhas” (small taverns) selling a variety of goodies and cherry infused foods. There was a lot of entertainment including music, brass bands, singing and dancing. Apparently there is a stage in front of the church in the evening offering further entertainment late into the night. There were the typical Portuguese outdoor grills with the men smoking all kinds of meat, it was very hot and steamy and not just from the BBQ, the men were pretty hot too (ha ha). There was also a chef live cooking with a group of children and the pancakes they were making looked and smelt divine. All the children were wearing the tall white chef hats, it was adorable. I loved that the locals opened up the garages and cellars of their houses and sold cherry delights from their homes. There was a little cherry train too that took you on a magical adventure around the cherry orchards, how lovely! The village church was open but I didn’t venture inside because I knew we were heading onto Castelo Novo and that there would be plenty of opportunities to view churches there. In hindsight I should have took a glimpse because all the chapels at Castelo Novo were closed.
We waited until we were just about to leave then we purchased our crate of cherries and I asked for a box from the back because I didn’t want to be short changed from people taking some of the cherries as samples and I also did not want a box of cherries that multiple random folk had fingered because I have OCD and have mild paranoia about germs. We bought a 2 kg crate full of the sweet dark cherries for €10. One thing that is mildly frustrating is that no cherry vendor had a sign with prices. It’s a standard thing here, the Portuguese find it rude to list prices. Even hairdressers do not have price lists on their websites. Talking money seems to be a sin and forbidden whereas us frugal Brits like to know prices before we buy. The most annoying establishment to not list prices is a local second hand shop which shares photos via a Facebook page then you have to PM them for a price of a washing machine etc. It’s so time consuming and bloody annoying but not as annoying as some estate agents or folk trying to sell property. I see a dreamy house then I have to PM them or click on a link to be directed to a website which is usually a Facebook page because not many people have Websites here it’s all Facebook. Cherries for €5, €10 or even €15 is not going to break the bank but everyone has a house budget from and to unless your a millionaire which unfortunately I am not. It’s demoralising to waste time viewing photos of a perfect house to only later find out it is way over budget and you could not afford it unless you sold a kidney on the black market (ha ha). Rant over.
I witnessed one Portuguese lady sample cherries from every single stall. She ate loads, not just one then turned her back on the seller whilst they tried to interact with her and she abruptly walked off. She did this multiple times and on one occasion she grabbed lots of cherries, spun around to head off and dribbled a huge red cherry blob down her very stark white blouse. I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw her vigorously trying to wipe it away, it wasn’t going anywhere fast and what made it funnier was the fact it was positioned right on the nipple area (ha ha). It looked like she had been shot by the cherry police (ha ha). I caught eye contact with the seller and she smiled a wide grin of satisfaction and we kind of nodded at each other. That’s karma my friend, what comes around, goes around. For sure sample a cherry but don’t take the piss. These are farmers and small businesses so support your local businesses by buying a crate of cherries, don’t take advantage and eat a kilo of cherries for free. I am secretly hoping that she got the dynamic cherry shits all evening from too much fruit (ha ha).
Pastel de Cereja
It was still early morning and I was still feeling a bit queasy from my creamy overnight oats that I ate in the car whilst en-route to the festival so we didn’t sample any cherry natas but we did enjoy them last year whilst we visited my No1 favourite historical Portuguese village (Monsanto). They are so yummy and I enjoyed it so very much, I even got cherry jam on my teeth (ha ha). I would have purchased some to take home if I thought they would make it back in one piece but the sun was fierce and we don’t have air con in our old banger of a car so we reluctantly walked on by on this occasion.
Cherry Festival – Photo Gallery
The Real Cherry Tart – Colour Coordinated Cherry Fun
Casa da Cereja (Cherry House)
Casa da Cereja (Cherry House) is a wonderful place and I decided that we should visit to educate us oldies and learn fascinating facts about the famous history, culture, cherry region, trees, flowers/blossom, fruit and harvest. When we arrived there was a small group of people in the outside area with their tour guide but no one inside so we had the place to ourselves. There are so many different varieties of cherries. Up until now I could only name 2: Morello and Brooks. Although we were lost in translation we really enjoyed visiting the Cherry House. The lady on reception spoke some English, was very welcoming and gave us a leaflet. This amazing place which is free to enter is an awesome gem. We didn’t see anyone else until we reached the basketry section and toilets. Here we found another small group of people who were having an organised tour. The toilet was clean but there was no lock, no toilet paper or hand towels and the flush did not work, thankfully I didn’t need a code brown because I would have been mortified to exit to the queue of ladies with a little floating present left behind for them to witness (ha ha). I expected more from the lavatory (ha ha). The building is immaculate, modern and fresh but the toilets were a let down. They may have been a disappointment but nothing prepared me for my next bathroom break! I don’t want to make you all feel sick but I entered a toilet in Castelo Novo village, it was the only cubicle and the lock did not work but at least it had one this time. I rushed in, lowered the seat and performed my pee pee. It wasn’t until I got up that I noticed that the whole back of the toilet seat was covered in runny poop and there was soiled toilet paper on the floor. Believe me when I say I screamed and nearly puked there on the spot. I was horrified that somehow in my hurry I had missed it. Luckily it was not on my clothing and I think I managed to stay clear, god only knows how. It was so horrific that I took hubby back in to show him, it sure was grim and possibly my worst toilet experience here in Portugal by far. Getting covered in ones poop is one thing but a strangers, OMG! Luckily I left unscathed, I’m not sure how but God was looking down on me on this day.
The basketry area had lots of old fashioned tools on display. I think they should be be protected behind glass in a cabinet and securely locked away because I like to touch and feel everything. Lets face it, I’m a liability and very accident prone so it’s a miracle that I didn’t lose a finger, hubby was looking at me with a worried expression whilst I picked up and fondled every tool (ha ha). I am fascinated with basket weaving and I would love to return and join in one of the basket workshops and weave my very own chestnut basket. After all I am a total basket case (ha ha).
Casa da Cereja (Cherry House) – Photo Gallery
This wonderful village is one of the 12 Historical Villages of Portugal and is just a short 10-15 min drive away from Alcongosta. We have viewed quite a few off the list now and although Monsanto will always be my favourite and No1 with Sortelha a close 2nd, I was pleasantly surprised at how wonderful Castelo Novo was and its unique offerings. We arrived and parked close to the entrance and resturant. It was eerily silent and the whole village was deserted, it was like a ghost town. I think everyone was enjoying themselves at the local Cherry Festival.
I did some prior research and found a list of attractions to view. I often view the official “Aldeia Historicas de Portugal” Website which is a great source of information. There is a Tourist Information Centre where you can obtain a map in Portuguese and English. This is great as to be honest the signage is a bit hit and miss. Some of the points of interest are clearly marked with clear signs but others are not and could be easily be missed. We did find a couple of signs with maps locating various points of attraction but they didn’t match and differed slightly. They were also not easy to understand as the map was tiny and the pin points vague. It wasn’t just me being a dumb ass as Hubby (The Master of Directions) even struggled (ha ha). The 2 maps the lady gave us (English & Portuguese) also differed. The English one had multiple things crossed out and the Portuguese map had more attractions listed to view so I think they have updated the Portuguese map but not the English, who knows. If you don’t want to view everything from my list there is a smaller 2.7 km circular Historical Route that takes approx. 1 hr 54 mins and covers some of the main tourist attractions: The Castle, Religious Buildings, Fountains, Hangman’s Head, Wine Press, Pillory and Local Architecture.
Points of Interest
16th Century Former Town Hall
Fountains: D.João V, D’ El Rei, Paio Pires and Bica Fountain
Praça dos Antigos (Old Square)
Cabeço da Forca (Hangman’s Head/Gallows Head)
Former Hotel Das Águas do Alardo
Pavement of the Knights Templar
Several Chapels including: Parish Church, Saint Anne’s, Saint Antony’s Chapel, Lord of Mercy, Church of Our Lady of Grace and Chapel of São Brás.
Several Houses including: House of D. Luis José Correia, Priests House, House of Petrus Guterres, House of Commendation, Falcão Family House, House of Sampaio Roquete, D.Silvestre Manor and Gamboa Manor.
Castelo Novo Archaeology Centre
Manuela Justino Art Gallery
Casa da Lagariça (Handicraft and local produce store)
O Lagarto (The Lizard Restaurant)
History & Our Experience
I am not going to ramble on too much about the history of this amazing village as it is a blog post about the Cherry Fest but I want to share some brief information and a legend or two because I think it’s fascinating.
I loved wandering around this little village which holds over 800 years of history. The name Castelo Novo (New Castle) evokes the genetic, medieval site of the village, when men turned the hard rock of the mountain into an element of power – the castle – reminding them, at the same time, of the hope of a promising future imprinted in the word ‘Novo’ (New). Built in the 12th Century but badly damaged by the earthquake in 1755, the castle was described as “new” (novo) because another one already existed in the immediate vicinity, having been abandoned because it was inadequate for the region’s defense. These are just a couple of examples of how the village came to acquire the name of Castelo Novo. Aleida, name of the stream that is part of the route, was the original name of this Templar stronghold that received its charter in 1202. In 1510, a new charter was awarded by D.Manuel (King of Portugal – 1495 to 1521). Rock and water became identifying elements, differentiating and unifying the village. These elements are embedded in the history and the names of the streets, small squares and streams.
My favourite tourist attractions were: The majestic Castle, Cross, 18th Century Baroque style Bica Fountain (located in Largo da Bica) and of Baroque influence, 18th Century D.Joaõ Fountain (located outside of the Old Town Hall), Roman Road and Hangman’s Head. The old Wine press was also pretty astonishing and possibly built in the 7th or 8th Century and consists of 2 tanks, the larger one for treading grapes and the smaller one for collecting the must. All carved into a granite boulder. This crazy Brit just had to climb down inside of it and pretend she was crushing grapes. Believe me, no one would want me to stomp grapes with my smelly sneaker feet (ha ha). The Pillory was also very picturesque and is decorated with the Cross of Christ and armillary spheres. It is located in front of the Old Town Hall and stunning fountain.
It was a roasting hot day and the clouds kept moving as they do (ha ha). This produced several minutes of searing heat and hubby got a little sunburnt on the back of his neck. Hangman’s head was incredible! We climbed up the steps to admire the glorious view and clambered up on top of the gigantic granite boulder to see the 2 skull carvings and to experience a rare adventure of a lifetime. According to local tradition this was the County’s gallows! Luckily for me I committed no crime so I didn’t need to be punished (ha ha). The Castelo Novo Cross is located close to Hangman’s Head and was erected in 1940, to mark the 700 Years of the Independence of Portugal and the 300 Years of the Restoration of the Independence.
There are natural springs dotted all around the village and the water is clean and fresh. There are 2 impressive grand fountains – Bica and D.Joaõ, their architecture is simply mind blowing. I took some time admiring all the marvellous carvings of dates and the intricate stonework decorated with typical elements of the Manueline style, such as plant motifs, animals and the royal coat of arms. There were so many fountains which was great as I needed to top up my drinking water supply as it was so very hot. Some fountains have signs saying “Not Controlled” which doesn’t mean that you can’t drink from them, it just means that they are not officially checked. I don’t drink from them just in case because my temperamental dodgy IBS stomach is fragile. Later in the day I witnessed a local lady from the village fill up huge empty plastic bottles from this fountain, she literally had gallons. You know it’s safe when the locals drink it, if it’s good enough for the Portuguese, it’s good enough for the Brit (ha ha). I will probably find out later that she uses it to cook with and boils it. I will likely be shitting through the eye of a needle later along with the lady who stole and ate all the cherries (ha ha). I think the locals get fed up with the tourists and I don’t blame them. Maybe they go around putting signs on the fountains to keep all the water for themselves (ha ha). The opulent Manor Houses are very royal and some are now hotels offering accommodation to visitors. We found a delightful Accommodation with a swimming pool. Hubby has promised me a house with a pool next year! I am beyond excited.
The Castle ruins is the highlight of this village and very different to the others we have viewed. You can clearly see that it was windy, so high up in altitude so it was game over for my thin flyaway hair. I will wear a hat next time for sure. The scenic views from the castle were astounding! We both loved the 15th Century Clocktower and 14th Century Keep. You can tell a lot of money and refurbishment has been ploughed into the castle and all of the village. Between 2002 and 2004, there were three archaeological excavation campaigns in the castle as part of the Aldeias Históricas de Portugal Programme. They discovered hundreds of traces of its medieval occupation, between its construction in the 12th Century and when it was abandoned in the 17th Century. Portuguese coins from the reigns of King Sancho I (1169-1210) to King João III (1521-1557), iron and copper artefacts, pieces of ceramics among others that can be viewed at the Castelo Novo Museum at the old Town Hall. Shame I didn’t have a metal detector (ha ha).
As the day progressed we saw a handful of other tourists whilst roaming around the village. It was a great adventure but unfortunately the art gallery was closed and none of the many churches or chapels were open to view the interiors which I was gutted about because I do love an ancient Portuguese chapel. I was shocked that I didn’t stumble across a cafe for a much needed caffeine fix. The restaurant seems to be the only place to eat although I did see a sign for a bar but never found it. What we both found strange was that not only were there limited tourists but we didn’t see any locals either, just one lady at the water fountain and 2 dogs. Then we heard noise and found a social club. We had a quick peek inside and it looked like half of the villagers were partying inside, I very nearly joined them to step out of the heat (ha ha).
The region is obviously famous for its cherries but also chestnuts, olive oil, cheese and wine. We found signage for some great looking hikes PR5 FND and also the PR10 and PR11. If you are wanting a longer route there is also the GR22 – The Great Route of Historic Villages which connects all 12 villages, in a circular route of around 600 km. You might need a vehicle or a spare pair of very strong athletic legs (ha ha).
Castelo Novo – Photo Gallery
I am sharing the photos as per the route we embarked on. You could view the Hangman’s Head and Cross first as they are both located near the restuarant but we saved the best for last.
Semi Windy Castle Selfies
Gone with The Wind
Full Gust Windy Castle Selfies
3, 2, 1 and my wig blows off over the mountain, never to be seen again (ha ha). Can you tell it’s 650 m high up in altitude? I’ve decided my best option for Portuguese castles is to wear a hat (ha ha).
Wine Press & Other Delights
Mountain Scenic Selfies
Spot the odd one out (ha ha).
Roman Road, Hangman’s Head, Cross & More
The Legend of Belisandra
The people of Castelo Novo tell about a young girl named Belisandra who lived there. Accused of sorcery, she lived alone, with only a cat for company. Whenever Belisandra went to the village, she had to face the mocking laughter and scorn of the inhabitants of Castelo Novo. The truth is that, in moments of affliction, many of them turned to Belisandra, but secretly. One day, when the people were preparing to harvest the fruit of their labour in the fields, they saw a thick cloud come up in the sky that almost blocked out the sun. Suddenly, they realised that it was a plague of grasshoppers. Desperate, and for the first time, the inhabitants of Castelo Novo joined together to ask Belisandra for help. To everyone’s surprise, the young girl counselled them to make a procession to the Senhor da Misericórdia, as only he could help them. The people followed her advice and made the procession. According to the legend, the procession was still in the churchyard and the grasshoppers were dropping dead. The people then promised to make a procession every year, and they kept their promise, because even today they still observe that tradition on the first Sunday of September.
Legend of the Monastery
As the story goes, the Knights Templar, before leaving Castelo Novo at the hand of a young sergeant, hid the image of the Senhora do Mosteiro (Our Lady of the Monastery) in the trunk of a chestnut tree close to the old monastery. Years later, a shepherd who was walking by this place had a vision of the Lady, which was the image of the Saint hidden in the chestnut tree. That same day, an old pilgrim arrived in the village, who asked the then-alcaide, D. Pedro, to allow him to spend the rest of his days in the monastery. D.Pedro not only granted his request, but he ordered a new monastery to be built in the place where the Saint’s image appeared. That location still exists today: the Chapel of São Brás, at the entrance to the Historical Village.
Woolie Wonders & Ancient Legends
Look at these cute wooly dolls that I found at the Tourist information Centre shop, I love them! Dolls for the “Histórias Criativas” (Creative Histories) project consist of 12 puppets that represents each one of the most representative legends of the Historical Villages of Portugal. The initiative arose from the Historical Villages of Portugal, which invited children from the 1st school cycle of the municipalities of the network to reinvent the legends/stories of their villages, based on their own knowledge of them. From there arose the “Histórias Criativas – Eu conheço a Minha Aldeia” (Creative Histories – I Know My Village) contest and a creative writing workshop, which served as inspiration for the children’s book Lendas da Tua História (Legends from Your History) by the author Rosário Alçada Araújo, with illustrations by João Rui Frade.
Based on children’s stories, Ana Almeida was inspired to create 12 puppets, 6 boys and 6 girls who represent the courageous heroes from the legends and myths of the Historical Villages of Portugal. These colorful dolls were made based on one of the most important raw materials of the region – wool – and from a combination of techniques between traditional know-how and contemporary design. A way of uniting tradition and modernity in a project that aims to bring the past to the present. The dolls may now be found at Atelier Histórias Criativas – where initiatives with schools are held that promote the children’s involvement with the myths and legends that compose the History of the villages and our country – and in Casa da Lagariça, both in the Historical Village of Castelo Novo, as well as in the Tourist Centers of the Historical Villages of Sortelha and Linhares da Beira.
I was very tempted to buy one but I spent all my money on cherry goodies (ha ha). I found a few that look like us. The first one looks like me with my raggedy hair after our windy 650 m high altitude castle experience (ha ha). The second one looks like hubby and the third one looks like my daughter Teanna. The fourth one is Teanna’s baby when she blesses me with a grandchild. There is still time folk, she is only 21. It’s my son who I need to put pressure on, he is 30 this year (ha ha).
Cherry on the Top – River Beach
Our final destination was the “Cherry on the Top” and a perfect ending to our sensational day trip. After the Cherry Fest activities and fun at Castelo Novo we ended our day at a perfect green space (River Beach) which is located right at the entrance of Castelo Novo and has a nice little cafe and toilets. When we arrived there were only 2 other people enjoying the sunshine, a father and teenage son. The boy braved the water and was cooling off. We enjoyed a very late picnic lunch as we were full from all our cherry delights.
The Crazy Sunbather
We went for a stroll along the river’s edge and stumbled across a man sunbathing at the top of the waterfall. It seemed a very precarious place to pose. I would have rolled off the edge like a hippo with zero grace and ended up in hospital (ha ha). I made hubby pose for a photo because I didn’t want him catching me taking his photo (ha ha). It was so hot even hubby changed out of his regular footwear and into his flip flops. Believe me when I say this man never gets his feet out unless it’s roasting hot (ha ha).
Hubby fell asleep and the only thing that woke him was the whiff of more cherries and homemade cakes gifted to us from our gorgeous Portuguese neighbour.
Awake with Cake
You awake with cake, one whiff of a cake and he’s back with the living (ha ha).
Love Thy Neighbour
Our friendly Portuguese neighbour made us these cakes. She knocked on our door late on the evening before our day trip. We enjoyed some evening treats in our garden and packed the remainder up to take on our picnic. Sharing is Caring.
I had visions of me laying my weary ass on the grass and falling asleep next to hubby. I could imagine us waking up in the dark and realising it’s 10pm at night (ha ha).
Happy 6th Birthday Milo
A very special fluffy ass bunny boy turned 6! We celebrated a day early due to our early start to the Cherry Fest. Am I the only weirdo who handmakes a birthday card for their pet fully knowing that they can’t read (ha ha). His birthday present was a whole 100% organic lush green lettuce grown lovingly from seed. Better than any shop bought gift and he loved it. I felt a little bad leaving Milo on his own all day whilst we enjoyed our day trip but I don’t think he gives a shit to be honest. He is not a people person and quite an anti-social butterfly, like me (ha ha).
Hubby’s Gorgeous Gift
Hubby designed Milo an AI generated image artwork gift, how cute!
We had FUN in FUNdão, the cherry capital of Portugal (ha ha). It was great to tick another one of the 12 Historical Portuguese Villages off our bucket list. What an amazing day out and I was so glad that I got to attend my first Cherry Fest. There may have been a sneaky Pizza to end our perfect day on a high, it wasn’t a cherry pizza (ha ha). I did have plans of heading onto Rock Pizza but we were still full to bursting by the time we left the river beach so we decided to stop off at a store for pizzas on the way back home and eat later in the evening. Castelo Novo was an added bonus to our fun day trip and the river beach was a dreamy setting to end our day.
We saw a tiny fawn coloured bunny dart across the road in front of our car on the way home. It was adorable and made my day. I sang this 1986 Jermaine Stewart song continuously for the whole 90 min journey home. Sober designated driver Hubby was delighted (ha ha). I love all things sweet so now I think I should find a Honey Festival because we all know that I love Bees and Honey.
We don’t have to take our clothes off
To have a good time
We could dance and party all night (all night)
And drink some cherry wine
Na na na na na na na
Now we have to participate in a Mr & Mrs Arm wrestling challenge to determine who is going to de-stone the remainder of the cherries before freezing for protein fruit smoothies. I would be in with a fighting chance of winning if I didn’t have a trapped nerve in my neck because I’m strong like a West Country Cider (ha ha). We ended up sharing the task and we froze ½ and ate the other ½. I sampled my first ever cherry and banana protein smoothie. I love that I sip my smoothies in a pint beer glass (ha ha). Wow, handmade joy filled with fruits. This cherry smoothie was the bomb and beat my regular strawberry flavoured one hands down! Hubby and I enjoy a fruit smoothie every single day. A smoothie a day keeps the bad vibes away (ha ha). Here is my epic cherry smoothie with a balcony view. It even has a duo of cherries for garnish.
Crate of Cherries
I will leave you with a photo of my crate of cherries. I cannot begin to tell you how incredible they tasted. They were dark, red, succulent and tasty – like me (ha ha). There is only a few left in our fridge! Cherry blossom flowers have a very short life, which gives this tree the additional meaning of life’s shortness. Remember folk, the cherry teaches us to value each moment or we’ll miss those precious times in a blink of an eye, life is way too short! Do something that brings you joy and makes you smile today, after all, “Life is a bowl of cherries” so “Let your dreams bloom like cherry blossoms”.