Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chestnut Festival

In mid-November, we went with a group of friends to Marvão, a city near the Spanish border in central Portugal, to join the region's annual chestnut festival. Marvão is a medieval walled city on a tall hilltop rising out of the Upper Alentejo plains. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so we had wanted to visit, but we were really lucky to time our trip with all the activity surrounding the region's biggest annual festival. Enjoy the photos (a few courtesy of our friend, Matt).

We sampled a lot of the local wine, served in your very own clay cup.

And of course there are lots of chestnuts, which are roasted in big tubs over a wood fire to give them a great smoky flavor. 

And as Hillary is wont to do, here she is making friends with an old local who had probably never met an American.

It got a little windy up on the castle walls, which provided a lot of entertainment when the girls took their hair out of ponytails.

Locals sold the regional delicacies.

Including several different varieties of beer brewed in a monastery.

And everyone's friendlier at a festival, especially after a few beers.

We also tried chestnut liqueur.

And like every little Portuguese town, there was a castle with good spots for photos.

 And trees to climb.

There was also live music featuring several girls playing drums.

This guy was getting into it. 

Hillary with Ethan enjoying the music and the wine. 

On our last day, we went on a hike near the house we had rented for the weekend and found a reservoir that gave us a chance to take the group photo we had forgotten to take at the festival.

Another year, another Marine Corps Birthday Ball

Since we will be going back to Washington, this may be our last Marine Corps Birthday Ball for awhile, so it was good to go. We're good friends with a few of the marines, so it was nice to support them. Plus, two of them had flown their moms out for the ball, so it was fun to meet them. Here are a few of the photos. 

We introduced a Mexican/Portuguese couple we're friends with to the ball.  

Our good friend, Glyn, picked Hillary up for the photo. 

And then decided to do the same for me. 

And of course, let diplomats and military guys near an open bar and this is what happens.