Our week in Portugal
It was the third leg of our Erasmus Project. Five students and three Staff set off via Madrid and Vigo to be hosted by Eprami School in Paredes de Coura in Portugal. It was nearly 11 months ago since we had last been together as a group and we greeted each other warmly as if it had only been weeks since we were last together.
On Tuesday, we had our first workshop and we were excited for Svetilo, our Director to share his vision and ideas of how our final piece will look in Bulgaria. We then began working on various scenes and movement pieces involved in our country´s myth and legends.
After a wonderful lunch and with fantastic weather, we all jumped onto the school bus and had a lovely afternoon exploring in the oldest village in Portugal, Ponte De Lima.
Our first stop was a wonderful old theatre that had been refurbished. We got to explore front of house and then toured all of backstage including heading up to the fly floor which is 60ft above the stage and where all the lights hang. It was very interesting to see all the different areas that you don’t normally see when you come to see a play as a member of the audience.
We then went for a walk through the streets and along the river towards the many arched Roman bridge. The weather was beautiful, and spirits were high, it was a lovely place to visit.
The next day we had a day off from Workshops and we again piled on the bus and headed to magnificent Porto. The weather was beautiful, and the sights were amazing. We saw it from foot, but the highlight was a Tuk-Tuk tour through all the streets where other vehicles couldn’t squeeze through. It was such good fun; I don’t think any of us stopped laughing from the minute we got on them!
After Lunch, we were then treated to a boat cruise along the river passing under magnificent bridges, one built by a student of Mr. Eiffel, of tower fame. We then visited one of the many Porto wineries and found out about the different type of ports and how they are made.
Porto is a beautiful city and we would all recommend a visit and especially the Tuk-Tuk tour!
When we got back from Porto, the school invited us all for a traditional meal, cooked and served by other students that were following culinary courses at Eprami. The food was delicious and plentiful, it kept coming and coming. In fact, all throughout the trip, the food was delicious and plentiful. The Portuguese certainly know how to feed their visitors!
On the Thursday, we spent the morning working hard in the theatre, exploring through physical theatre how to bring our myths and legends together. In the afternoon we visited a museum that was based around a traditional house and learnt about how people in the local area live. Paredes de Coura is a very quiet place with only a population of around 9000, however in the summer, they have a rock festival and numbers increase to over 400, 000! The town also hosts twice a year, Portugal’s biggest Lego festival and we were lucky enough to go to the Lego Build, which is open to families on weekends for them to spend time together making Lego sets. Also, in the Lego build centre, we were taken into the “professional” workshops which was any Lego fanatics dream, the room was huge and was filled with every type of Lego
that you could ever imagine. We were lucky enough to see creations that were being built for the next festival, everything from miniature cities to a full-size Santa!
That evening we were treated to our very own concert from the Coura Choir, a local choir made up of girls from 11 – 19. The music was beautiful, inspiring and very moving. Afterwards we were treated to a party at the school showing the best of the Local traditional culture, again lots of food and traditional dancing, alongside some great accordion playing.
Our last day we spent the day in the theatre, working on our pieces and then we visited a local theatre company that took their productions out into the community and played anywhere from a village hall, to a field or a stable. The work that they do echoed what we were doing with the Erasmus project.
Sadly, our time in Portugal was over and it was time to head back to Tenerife. We all agreed that it had been a brilliant week and we had experienced some amazing culture and food! We were sorry to say goodbye, but we know that its only a few weeks before we meet again for the finale of the Project.
Bulgaria, here we come!