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“This was the best day in my life” – she said.
“She” is a gentle Norwegian lady that shyly joined a bunch of noisy Portuguese in Quinta da Badula to watch wine harvesting.
Watching is good, using your hands and feet is better, and she did.
The real work started at 7 AM, but the amateurs dropped in small groups, saluting and picking a place in one of the four lines enthusiastically descending the vineries. A scissor, a hat, and the struggle begins. Here, the bunches are hanging, separated, waiting for an easy cut, there, a “world” of grapes cover everything and you need to browse to find where to cut. Gently, carefully, trying not to loose a grape, or to smash it out of time and location.
The sun goes up, you begin to sweat, someone passes living a drink or sandwich in your hands, but… the grapes are there, and more… and more… we have to go on.
Crates… we need crates! Dozens of filled crates line the vines at our back waiting the truck that will load them, but we cannot stop, nor even to the mandatory complaints about the economy or soccer results, needing no help from the hands that keep cutting and cutting and filling one more… and another.
Before you have the perception that time has elapsed, someone decides that is enough, time to clean, and eat.
In a shady place the popular Portuguese food (the best in the world!) is being prepared, to work as the pretext to the festive afternoon, when eating, drinking, talking, singing and dancing mix in a genuine and spontaneous party, with precious wine generously running to any empty or half-full glass.
Some will stay, slowing down a bit, but those who can, move the party to the cellar, where one or two filled winepresses wait for the brave. Some of them, wearing shorts, step inside and grape-treading starts without any interruption of the party, that goes on, in and around the winepresses.
“That was the best day in my life” – she said, when the husband and other were helping her to step outside, the dark must exuding down the legs immediately washed.
“Yes, madam, it was great, but you must eat something more before leaving. See you next year!”
Do you want to join us next year? Well, be in touch... maybe I can do something
Written Oct 3, 2012
The most interesting building in Arrouquelas is this church, that, though being built in the beginning of the 20th century has a sun clock dated from 1869, and some tiles from the 17th century.
Updated Sep 2, 2011
I had no contact with the local cultural and recreational association, but enjoyed their pavilion - the bell is quite unusual out of churches' bell towers.
Updated Sep 2, 2011
Favorite thing: Fifteen years ago, when I was about to build my new home, I saw "somewhere" a beautiful house that I photographed to give the architect a general idea of what I wanted him to do.
Yesterday I saw it again - still beautiful, but strongly needing a general painting (even more than mine...). It is located in Arrouquelas, and it still is one of the most beautiful houses in the village.
Updated Jun 19, 2012
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