Weeknights in Braga are also turning out to be quite nice. This week: soccer and sweet wine.
On Tuesday night Peggy and I were able to enjoy an evening of Champions League Football. If you're not a big soccer fan you may not know that the Champions League is the biggest thing in European football. This is a competition in which the top few teams in each of the big European leagues play to be crowned the champion of Europe. For example, the top 4 teams from the English Premiere League, the top 2 teams from the Portuguese league, and the top few teams from the Spanish, Italian, German, and other leagues participate. In football, it is a big deal.
Last year Braga finished second in the Portuguese league so they are in the Champions League this year. A professor at the Univ. of Minho was able to get two tickets for Peggy and I. The Braga stadium is set in an old quarry site with a fantastic view out over the valley. It really is a stunning stadium.
The roof over the seats is supported by the cables that run from one set of stands, across the field, to the other set of stands. It makes for a dramatic setting.
Unfortunately the football didn't quite live up to the setting, especially if you are supporting Braga. They lost 0-3 to Shakhtar Donetsk from Ukraine. Braga started well and was unlucky to not get a goal in the opening minutes. In the second half Shakhtar benefited from a goal-keeping error and Braga was denied a clear penalty (and the crowd let the referee know that they were unhappy). After that goal Braga really came to life and some quality goal keeping from Shakhtar prevented 1, maybe 2, Braga goals. After that, a bad substitution from the Braga manager left the Braga midfield wide open to Shakhtar and they ran right right through on several occasions. Another easy goal and a late penalty left the home side well beaten...
But we had a good time and I am looking forward to going back again for some league games.
Tonight we got to sample the "sweet wine" at João's father's farm. This is wine that is only a few days old and has only just started to ferment. It sits in a 1000 liter tub, open to the air, in a barn on the farm. The grapes have been crushed, but not pressed, so the skins and stems are still there floating on the top. Here João's father and Amelia use a hose to siphon some out into porcelain bowls, the traditional Portuguese vessel for young red wine.
At this point it tastes very much like juice but is has some alcohol in it. Thus the name "sweet wine". It does taste really good and one could easily over-indulge. Here is Peggy enjoying hers along with Alberto Pardo - a computer scientist from Uruguay also visiting the Univ. of Minho.
The mixture has to be stirred a couple times a day - this is quite a job and requires using a big hoe-like tool and scrambling up onto the tub.
After this we can't wait to taste the final product ...