LET’S GO TO PORTUGAL!

The 3rd LIRA mobility took place last March 2022. Eight students and two teachers had the opportunity to go to Portugal as part of this Eramus+ project together with the centers in Slovakia, Portugal and France.

This mobility took place in the town of Cinfães, located in a rural area within the district of Viseu in the Northern region of Portugal. It is an area known for its green spaces to enjoy nature, gastronomy and vineyards. It has an institute-school called AGRUPAMENTO DE ESCOLAS SERPA PINTO E. B 2.3, which welcomes students from surrounding towns from first grade to high school. Their school hours are from 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Our students were welcomed by Portuguese families during their stay where they could enjoy a unique and unforgettable experience.

On the same Sunday of arrival, our Portuguese colleagues and teachers from this project kindly received all the participants at Porto airport. Together we went by bus to Cinfães where the host families were waiting for us with excitement.

On Monday we started the day in the municipal auditorium where a welcome ceremony took place listening to students play the piano, a speech by teachers and the presentation of the Erasmus week. All the participants were given gifts and presents from the area. Next, we went around the village of Cinfães and discovered its architectural beauty. A stop was made at the town hall where the mayor welcomed us with more gifts.

On returning to the center, they had lunch in the canteen and in the afternoon, the students did a tile painting workshop and a guided tour through the center.

On Tuesday, as every morning, the day begins with a brief explanation of the day. At nine we took the bus to visit the area. A short stop was made for a quick look at the Porto Antigo and its views, Then, as we drove to the Quintas das Carvalhas vineyard, you could see the impressive Duoro Valley, its vineyards and magnificent views of the Duoro River.

When we arrived at the Quintas das Carvalhas vineyard, we were given a guided tour showing us the oldest vineyard in Viseu and its history.

At the end we went to have lunch at the Naturwater Park where the students could enjoy the paintball experience and play area. At 4.30pm they returned to Cinfães to meet us with the families.

On Wednesday they went to the city of Gaia where we were able to enjoy a vineyard museum and a guided tour of one of the most important wineries in the area, called Calem. Next, we went on a small cruise along the Duoro River to see the six emblematic bridges of Porto and their architecture. At 1.30pm we were able to have lunch at the shopping center and some free time to buy souvenirs. It was also possible to go to Foz so that Slovaks could see and experience the beach and the sea for the first time.

On Thursday we visited the town of Pias and its views of the Bestança valley, home to the least polluted river in Europe. Then we were able to enjoy the Centro de Interpretacão do Vale de Bestança, where there is an interactive museum about the fauna and flora of its area. There they explained the 4 seasons and their natural riches.

A stop was made in the village of Gralheira for lunch at the famous restaurant Encosta do Moinho. Despite the rain, we were able to enjoy a unique experience. The village of Serranitas. This village is dedicated to the craft and manufacture of a fabric (called burel) made of waterproof wool used as a cloak while shepherds walk the mountains with their sheep and goats. They show us a house that has been converted into a museum where you can see women working as they did in the past and what houses used to be like. They take us to a farmhouse where they let us try a typical bread of the time, baked in a stone oven.

On Friday, the last day of the experience, we were able to enjoy activities at the school. First, we were able to take our pre-baked tiles and place them on a center wall. Together, they formed the acronym LIRA.

At 10am, we went to the gym to play traditional games until 12pm when we all went to lunch in the school canteen.

In the afternoon, we went to the auditorium for a farewell ceremony, together with the families. We played a Kahoot to check everything they had learned during the week. They were given their Erasmus attendance certificate and observed traditional dances, where students could enjoy themselves and go out dancing.

At the end, there was a snack with the families, eating traditional pastries.

On Saturday it was time to say goodbye to all of us. We all stayed in the center at 8.15pm to say goodbye to our families and take the bus to Porto airport. It was a very emotional moment for all of us as we experienced moments that we will always remember.

It has been an enriching week both on a personal and educational level. The students have learned customs, culture, language and above all, how to live together. They have learned to lose their shame and be independent, and at the same time they have grown as people.

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