Since we are living in Portugal we thought it would be a good idea to recount our adventures in an occasional series we call Portugal Day Trips. We will be continually adding to this feature, so please check it out and if you have any suggestions for more out of the way places to visit in Portugal, please let us know.
I’ve been to many puppet shows in my life, hey I’m British, I was raised on Punch & Judy, Sooty & Sweep, the Muppets and Jon and I have been to a few festivals in our short time in Portugal: the Sardine Festival, the Potato Festival, the Soup Festival, some of them as exciting as they sound but this was different, the Giant Puppets of the Lumen Project in Alcobaça, Portugal was incredibly beautiful to watch.
We arrived early into the charming UNESCO town of Alcobaça and enjoyed a dinner of cuttlefish and bean stew before settling down on the steps of the Monastery of Santa Maria d’Alcobaça to wait. Tonight’s show was ‘uma história de amor’ a story of love! I’m still not entirely sure if it was just a love story or the love story that Alcobaça is famous for, a true tale of passion and love, a real life Romeo and Juliet.
Anyway, at 9.30pm, the music started, the sound of a slow processional march, the show had begun. The procession actually started a short distance away in front of the Town Hall, so it would be a little while before they would reach us. However, the oohs and ahhs from the spectators alerted us to their arrival.
It was incredible to watch these giant puppets move and see the even more enormous puppets manned by many assistants clad in black, awkwardly embrace. As with all good love stories through the ages, someone has to die, and as the light of their soul disappeared into the sky, fireworks emerged from the castle on the hill. As all eyes turned to watch the sky, beside us two opera singers stood in front of the monastery and started to sing ‘Ave Maria.’
Then to lighten the mood and signal the end of the show, the music became more lively and the puppets all had a good old knees-up. It was a lovely evening, alas only on for three nights, so I’m so glad we had the opportunity to see it.
If they do it again, and you have an opportunity to see it, I highly recommend it. (you can click here or on the images to see more photos of Giant Puppets of the Lumen Project in Alcobaça, Portugal)