Last year we arrived a few minutes late for the extraordinary Festa das Tochas Floridas in São Brás de Alportel, but this year we arrived in plenty of time. Which probably explains why I took over 200 hundred photographs in under two hours! Not sure that WordPress or you will cope if I share them all at once, so I thought I’d begin with the 1km long carpet of flowers.

It takes about a week to harvest the three tonnes of flowers and thanks to the involvement of hundreds of volunteers around five hours to create the carpet on the morning of Easter Sunday. They commence before dawn, usually around 5am, and continue until around 9:30am when the streets are re-opened to the public for viewing. All cars are banned until after the festival.

The core designs are created with crown daisies, corn marigolds, lavender, fennel, bay and what looked like a type of privet. Can you spot the bee?Consequently the carpet smells as wonderful as it looks. This year with Easter being quite late and it also being a very warm April some of the flora looked a little tired in places. However it didn’t impact on the overall beauty of the carpet of flowers nor was this affecting the nectar. Whilst we were waiting for the procissão da Ressurreição to begin we spotted a bee in the lavender! Can you spot it too?

As well as the flora mentioned there was also mimosa, lilies, gladioli, sunflowers and even Portuguese Squill. These flowers were mostly used to create the more complex designs and pictures, some of which were amazing.

Within a few hours of its completion this extraordinary carpet disappears under the many feet of the procession, and so by the end all that is left is a jumble of flora strewn across the roads. Fortunately the scent of it lasts much longer.

Now if you think this was extraordinary, just wait until you see the main event – the procession of flower torches. I hope (internet dependent) to return tomorrow with that post, so I hope you can join me again then. For now though let’s finish with a close up of one of my favourite creations from this morning.

São Brás de Alportel

Happy Easter!