On Friday we drove to Tomar and arrived at Isabel and Jose’s house (Renato’s parents). They welcomed us and made us feel at home. They live in a very small village outside of Tomar. There house is a 3 bedroom house with Isabel’s recently passed away mother’s house next door, and her Isabel’s mother’s mother’s house next to that. Jose has converted Grandma’s house into a garage and storage area, and they have not decided what to do with Isabel’s mother’s house yet. They have a large piece of land behind the house where they grow many vegatbles that they cook for their table. It is a wonderful quiet setting. We were welcomed and enjoyed some great meals while staying there.
On Saturday we went into Tomar for the beginning parade where Renato’s sister Nelia and her boyfriend Rui were participating. There were a few issues with the donut that helps to seat the basket to the head but Rue fixed all of that on Saturday night. He had to carry the basket part way during the parade on Saturday. It was a wonderful parade and so much tradition.
The festival stems from when the Queen used to take bread from the castle to the less fortunate and the King forbade her. Once she was stopped and asked to open up her basket and instead finding bread, they found flowers. So this festival celebrates that event by combing both flowers and bread into a basket that is carried on the lady’s head.
After the parade Renato took us to several wonderful sites around the city of Tomar including a very interesting castle / monastery.
On Sunday we spent some time with Reanato’s family
and then back to Tomar for the big festival. Unfortunately we had to leave the festival early to catch a train back to Lisbon to catch our plane but below are some great pictures of the festival and a video.