Portugal 24 February: Porto - Matosinhos

The European Peace Run 2016 starts in Portugal

Welcome to Portugal! The Peace Run Europe 2016 starts in Porto, an UNESCO World Heritage. We will run 24 000 km over the next 7 months, passing through all of Europe's countries and finishing on October 8th in Rome, Italy.
For the next 7 days we will cross the beautiful landscape of Nothern Portugal...

The first steps for Peace!

Our first meeting brought us to the "Colegio Julio Dinis". Smiling faces greeted us...

And finally the Peace Torch made it's "Grand Arrival".

The young students declaimed their views about peace with poetry.

Then the action began...

Due to the rain, the students of Colegio Julio Dinis were split in 2 meetings. That's our first group of kids...

Singing the Peace Run Theme Song...

Everyone got a chance to hold the torch...

...and making a wish for Peace...

We enjoyed a sweet and happy atmosphere...

The second meeting at Colegio Julio Dinis...

Again the torch travels from hand to hand...

...feeling peace in the heart...

A last wish before taking off...

Getting ready to run!

The whole school launched the first km of our 24.000 km route.

Despite the rainy weather we felt the warmth of the city...

We arrived at the Dragao Stadium, the home of the Football Club of Porto.

Our good friend, Aurora Cunha, a Portuguese legend in the running world, was leading the team.

Kids and peace birds alike greeted the runners.

Like real stars the runners arrived at the FC Porto museum for the ceremony...

A large crowd and press welcomed the Peace Torch - carried by a sweet little girl from the "Invicta" - Porto, the undefeated city.

The president of FC Porto, Mr. Pinto da Costa, welcomed our team.

Mr. Pinto da Costa and Dr. Antonio Tavares, head of the Santa Casa da Mesericordia do Porto, offered a lofty speech...

"Mr. President" Pinto da Costa states "...the message of peace for the children is very important. I'm very happy that you choose to launch the Run from our museum, it's an honour. The Peace Flame and the Dragon Flame marry perfectly and they have a great symbolic meaning".

Our very good friend and Portuguese para-olympic athlete Jorge Pina receives the torch with great enthusiasm.

Florbela, our Portuguese Peace Run coordinator, presents the FC Porto with the Peace Run Certificate of Appreciation...

...Mr. Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa was presented with an inspiring book by the founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy, entitled "Sport and Meditation".

...Peace birds were released...

The kids were forming a huge circle...

...the Peace Symbol...

Aurora Cunha gave a heartfelt speech...

Peace melodies and joyful songs created a colorful atmosphere...

...the torch went on from hand to hand...

...peace spreads to every receptive heart...

...our team member Ricardo Guedes, a famous model in Portugal, is enjoying the moment...

Dr. Inacio Anjos, from IPDJ do Norte, expressed his support to the Peace Run.

...several schools performed very nicely...

...running arround the Dragao Stadium we were blessed by the pouring rain.

...it's a huge stadium!

...the team was invited to visit the FC Porto Museum....

An excellent guided tour was presenting the rich history of this legendary club...

Sukham, one of our team members and an unconditional fan of FC Porto, is proudly showing the Champions League Trophy of 2004, won by "his" team.

FC Porto won many trophies in history. This one is more than 70 years old - marking a historic victory over Arsenal.
Fans collected money for it; it's made of more than 135kg of silver!

The museum is very modern and full of Hi-Tech accessories and interactive displays.
Florbela left a peace message on the screen.

Thank you FC Porto for this wonderful experience!

Led by the kids of the "Irene Lisboa School" we proceed to our next meeting.

We were welcomed by the principal at the school entrance.

...a musical welcome...

As usual Jorge is always spreading joy...

The children joined us in the World Harmony choreography.

Harmony, Peace, Hapiness, Joy!

..let's dance!

We were all amazed by a real professional ballet performance...

What a nice and colorful school!

Thank you Irene Lisboa, we carry your warm smiles in our hearts.

A well deserved lunch break for the team.

...and again on the road...

...the police went ahead leading the way...

...down-hill speeding through the streets of Porto...

Old and very noble, always loyal and invincible - the city of Porto.

The Mayor of Porto, Mr. Rui Moreira, welcomed the international team.

The ladies dressed in traditional costumes...

Folk rhythm filled the city hall...

Thank you for all the local songs and dances!

The GNR cavalry escorted the torch majestically down the Aliados Avenue...

...it was a real sight-seeing run: we even overtook the tramway...

Our smiling police escort did not want to miss the chance to hold the torch as well.
A big thank you to the police of Porto for the great support!

College students joined spontaneously for a short up-hill run.

...a great view over the historic city...

"Escola da Bandeirinha", our last school of the day.

The kids were melting our hearts with a very, very sweet song.

Then we were melting their hearts with a very, very, sweet feeling of peace.

Shining eyes gazing at the flame!

...holding the torch together with a Oneness-Heart...

We received a beautiful gift...

After some time the parents of the school children arrived and joined the party.

"Muito obrigado" - many thanks - to all the teachers of the "Bandeirinha School" for providing with their small students these sweet moments...

Running through the narrow medieval streets of Porto...

...the last km of the first day - many more to come. Some teachers joined us on our way...

...a scenic view of the river Douro...

leaving Porto behind... and reaching the sea shore.

A fantastic team of a fantastic first day! Thank you Portugal for the outstanding opening!