Day 4 – Much Ado about Braga
Thursday, 22nd June
yesterday we were in Braga. There, the preparations for the Midsummer Night Festival are nearing completion. To cover up the pagan origin, it is claimed that St John is being celebrated.
When we arrived in Braga, we assumed that there would be more cars than parking spaces. That's why we wanted to drive through the streets until a parking space became available. As far as we could tell, all the other drivers in the convoy pushing through the streets behaved the same way.
This carefully devised plan was foiled by a miracle. We discovered the secret entrance to the local underground car park. Thus we entered the illustrious circle of those who can claim to have been in Braga's underground car park. That's why I still give up the Grail Quest today. It's a job for amateurs.
We were the only ones in the spacious underground car park. I was a little worried about whether the car would play along. Maybe it didn't want to stay alone in a dark place. It had its quirks and had already refused to cool the interior in Porto. In the west of the Iberian peninsula, this is not too much of a problem. Because of the lush vegetation, it is comparatively cool here. So the car rental company makes sure that no one leaves with the car. From Oviedo, León or Salamanca at the latest, drivers voluntarily turn around again, if they are still able to do so. It is much more likely that a dried-up pile of dust will remain on the driver's seat.
The great honour of being the first car ever to use a parking space in Braga's underground garage could not be denied. A little vain, I think. Perhaps this trait can still be put to good use.
We couldn't find out what Braga normally looks like. The city is decorated with ribbons all over. It is too bright for fairy lights at the moment. Therefore, blue banners with pictures of the saint are strung across the streets. Loudspeakers are strategically placed in the old town so that music can fill the air over a wide area. Some shops counter this with their own music. I don't know if they are doing themselves a favour. Even though we hurriedly walked past them, these shops were not empty. If you have a hearing aid, you can turn it off. Since I don't own one, I was at a disadvantage. I couldn't even check from a safe distance if people were talking in sign language. I will write to the shop and politely ask who they are trying to scare away with the hellish noise they are making.
Why the city fathers forgot to cover the street in front of the Sé Velha Cathedral with noise, I don't know. Presumably it was a carelessness that will be their undoing in the next municipal election. They probably ran out of money. I have a tip: you could make money with the underground car park. All you have to do is raise a little money first for signs. After that, it would be a no-brainer.
Exhausted, we settled down and drank coffee. We had to fortify ourselves before we faced the infernal noise again in honour of St John. What has the poor man done wrong? I really must look into it. My guess: He paraded through the sunshine dressed in blue, bawling loudly, before baptising people.