Portugal welcomes New Year in style.jpg

Portugal welcomes New Year in style

DRIVERS TAKING part in the Lisbon-Dakar Rally began arriving in Portimão during the morning of the last day of 2005 and were met by hordes of spectators eager to catch a glimpse of the vehicles.

New Year festivities kicked off at around 11am down by the waterfront, including a range of street entertainment, inflatables, jugglers and a mock mediaeval village. Live music followed later, including a performance by popular Portuguese singer Tony Carreira. A major fireworks show took place at midnight, with rockets launched from 12 different points in the borough. According to recent negotiations and statements issued by organisers, João Lagos Sports, the rally will return to Portugal and to the capital for the next three years. Portimão council is hoping the borough will be approached to be included in the event once more.

UNLIKE PARIS and London where the New Year was greeted with scenes of rioting, in Lisbon’s Praça do Comércio it was a colourful and peaceful affair. Swarms of revellers began heading down to Rossio and Rua Augusta from 10pm onwards to claim the best possible pitch on the city’s famous square, where they enjoyed a spectacular 20 minute burst of fireworks which lit up the entire Tagus Estuary, from Carcavelos to the Parque das Nações.