We attended another awesome local festival: Ficabeira, located at Parque Verde Urbano do Sub-Paço. This year our Municipality of Arganil hosted this spectacular annual festival from 6th-10th September 2023. It is the 40th year of running this incredible festival. There were so many talented artists to choose from. I was beyond exited to purchase €3 tickets for “Ivandro” on the opening night. I love his song “Lua” (Moon). Adult ticket prices cost a mere €2-€3. There was a general ticket for €10 if you fancied partying for 5 days straight! If only I wasn’t nearly 50, I might have bought it but unfortunately I don’t have that kind of staying power (ha ha). Last year we did not have to buy tickets it was completely free of charge but the artists were not so famous. We watched an Abba tribute band in 2022 and some of the singers were not the most talented if you know what I mean. I’m not a huge Abba fan and for hubby it was sheer torture as he is into heavy rock so you can imagine his pain (ha ha). The good news was the more we drank, the better they sounded (ha ha). I wasn’t going to write a blog post on this event but it was so amazing that I just had to share the joy. We attended another festival recently in Arganil: Branca Noite (White Night) but unfortunately I didn’t take too many photos just lots of video’s so I didn’t write a post this year, my sincere apologies. Just in case you are oblivious to who Ivandro is. His full name is Joaquim Ivandro Paulo, better known as Ivandro, he is 25 years old, was born in Angola and began taking his first steps in music in 2013, when he began composing his first originals. He went through the talent programs Ídolos and Got Talent Portugal, however, in both cases, he failed to reach the final stage. He studied for a degree in Music Technologies and he also plays guitar as well as singing.

We secured a prime position right at the very front and were surrounded by hundreds of 14 year old screaming girls (ha ha). It’s a good job that hubby has 6 daughters as he is used to the high pitched screeching. The stage area was fairly empty when we entered 30 mins before the event was suppose to kick off at 10pm. Within 30 minutes I turned around and the whole field was packed with hundreds of people. Ivandro did not disappoint, he was simply awesome and it was a magical experience to be right at the very front. I think my daughter (Teanna) would have loved him. He’s not quite Stormzy but a very close 2nd (ha ha). At one point security got feisty as someone threw an object on stage. I thought it was underwear so I was mid way ripping my panties off to throw at him when I realised it was a hat. I decided against my act of pure devotion as I didn’t want to get arrested as the bodyguard was massive and I don’t think 25 year old Ivandro is interested in my geriatric granny knickers. I loved the performance and was gazing in awe at the talented little lady guitarist, she was phenomenal! The stage was gigantic and very impressive.

There was a funfair and lots of agriculture exhibitions and stalls from the different Freguesia’s in Arganil and charming stalls selling artisan crafts, delicious food/drink and obligatory festival fartura’s, Liliana’s of course (ha ha). Hubby refused to buy me the shiny red tractor (ha ha). We had a go on spinning a wheel to win a prize at a stand that was promoting Coimbra tourism. It was like a mini Portuguese lost in translation Wheel of Fortune. I landed on Number 5 and won a tote bag and pen then hubby had a go and landed on the same number. I really wanted the lime green baseball cap because I obviously look so sexy in hats, not! Oh well one can never have enough pens in life (ha ha). There was a man with a stall promoting cheese and chickens. His English was about the same level of our Portuguese but we took his business card because it appeared that he was a chicken breeder from Coimbra and we need to add to our flock as we are now down to just 2 happy hens since Maggie and Judith died. We enjoyed dinner at Bolo do Caco and we both sampled the Queijo e Chouriço, it was so yummy. I then had the difficult task of locating a loo. I hate festival toilets and the queues for the Ladies are always insane. I was so shocked to find a clean sparkling toilet with zero queue. That is the bonus of arriving on the opening night. I doubt they will be as perky by day 5. There was no toilet paper or hand towels but Helena always comes prepared like a boy scout with tissues and hand sanitiser in her handbag.

The revenue obtained during the five days of the event will be fully allocated to the construction of Casa dos Afectos, in the center of the town of Arganil, in collaboration with APPACDM – Arganil Functional Unit. Luís Paulo Costa, president of Arganil City Council, revealed that the objective is to sell at least 10,000 general tickets, which would provide a significant contribution to the Casa dos Afectos project, making its implementation easier. The initiative aims to help build a Residential Home for people with intellectual disabilities, promoting their personal and social autonomy, and bringing more peace of mind and opportunities for users, their families and caregivers. The project was born around 15 years ago and is getting closer to completion. It will function as a complement to the Training Activity Center for the inclusion of APPACDM of Coimbra in Arganil. The project received a financial incentive of around €570,000 from the Social Equipment Network Expansion Program and awaits the solidarity contribution from FICABEIRA to be fully implemented in September this year. Although I am a housewife now and don’t have employment here in Portugal my background is in education and I spent 15 years of my life working with SEND children and young people in schools and colleges so this initiative is very close to my heart and I have no issues in supporting such an amazing project with the small amount of €3.

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I love our zest for life and that wherever there is cardboard cut out with a poke your head through the hole opportunity, we take the challenge (ha ha).


I am still a little star struck at getting so up close and personal to Ivandro. It was mind-blowing to be able to purchase tickets for just €3 and it really was a breathtaking experience being to close. I usually stand much further back but I am so glad that we braved the crowds to soak up the brilliant atmosphere. I LOVE Portugal as if this were the UK you would never be able to rock up to a festival to see a famous artist and arrive 30 minutes before they are due on stage and find a free space right behind the safety barriers. Folk would have been queuing like a proper Brit for hours. In Portugal everything is laid back and chilled, it’s so refreshing. The drink prices were also not inflated with Cider and beer costing €1.50 or €3 for a XL. Relocating here is hands down the best decision I have ever made. I know I say it all the time but it really is a gorgeous relaxed and beautiful life in the countryside and I’m only leaving in a box!

Music is medicine and so is alcohol (ha ha). With the music comes the dancing and the alcohol is shortly followed by the festival fartura’s (ha ha). Poor hubby had to wake up at 7.30am for work the next day. I’m a lady of leisure so my mission of the day was to hangover hurtle up and down the hills on my daily jog without puking! (ha ha). I just about made it home in one piece but I was hanging, you pay a hefty price to party hard at my age, no pain, no gain and Ivandro rocked my world!

Obviously I could not share the joy of Ivandro’s stunning vocals but I have a few video’s on my Casa Valhal Facebook and Instagram pages if you want to hear his voice, he really is such a talented musician.