What are we doing beyond gardening? Faial Island has about 15.000 inhabitants, half of them living in Horta, the capital. That sounds like some sleepy countryside place where boredom reigns, the truth though is, that Horta is a pretty vibrant place. There are numerous festivals, among them Portugal’s largest sailing festival, the Semana do Mar in August. But there is also an active nightlife with several pubs and bars having weekly life music and a theatre serving also as cinema. Historically Faial always had a very mixed population, mainly due to the importance of its harbour in-between Europe and America. You will find people on the island with all kind of heritage, not only today there is a significant expat, or shall we say in newspeak, migrant, community, but also in the past there were several waves of immigration. All this contributes to Horta’s reputation of being the most cosmopolite place in the Azores.The last weeks, we had the opportunity to attend two springs festivities, celebration of April 25, Freedom Day commemorating the Carnation Revolution of 1974, which toppled the Portuguese nationalist dictatorship, and of course the usual May 1 festivity. This year, during the Freedom Day there was also the inauguration of the renovated market hall of Horta. Still a bit empty with only a couple of permanent shops, among them a butcher selling only local products. But local farmers are expected to return with their greengroceries. In the evening there were concerts starting late, but this does not hinder families to attend with their children. One common and pleasant custom on both events was the serving of “sardines for everybody”. We had to queue quite some time to get our servings, but they were excellent, freshly grilled on coal.
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