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84th INTERNATIONAL F.I.C.C. RALLY to be held in Portugal from 29 July to 7 August 2016

Date: 17/05/2015
Source: FICC
Documents: 1 Picture4.jpg (34.6 KB)

Ponte de Lima hosts the 84th International F.I.C.C. Rally Portugal 2016

In a partnership with the International Federation of Camping, Caravanning and Motor Caravaning and the Portuguese Camping and Mountaineering Federation, F.I.C.C. and F.C.M.P., respectively, the Municipality of Ponte de Lima will be 2016’s host of the biggest Camping event that takes place every year in a member country of this international organisation.

Last year’s F.I.C.C’s International Rally was held in China early in June while Finland hosted a second one from June 27th to August 1st 2014. This year, two events are also to be held in Croatia and South Korea, respectively. However, only one International Rally will be taking place in 2016 and Portugal will be its host, so when it applied to organise this World Camping Rally, Portugal managed to become the centre of attention that year.

So far, Portugal has organised three International F.I.C.C. Rallies, namely in Lagoa de Santo André in 1975, in Ericeira in 1985 and in Aljezur in 1995. Now, it longs to host in a northern destination - the Alto Minho.

Ponte de Lima’s Rally counts with 750 units minimum, as well as some delegations that choose hotel accommodation due to its surroundings, which could help turning this in one the greatest events in the last few years – in case a number of 1000 units is reached it would represent 2500-3000 participants. As importantly, F.I.C.C.’s General Assembly will be also taking place during this rally. Most of the countries are expected to attend or to be represented, as is the case of Portugal, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Canada and Turkey.

Founded in 1933, F.I.C.C. is currently the only worldwide organisation devoted to Camping, Caravanning and Motorcaravanning with 75 associations represented by 38 countries.

It is to be noted that the word Rally means travelling to a certain meeting point, thus gathering like-minded people together and taking time to enjoy the region’s culture, sports and leisure activities. Here, all children, youngsters and adults from different countries are free to join and participate.

According to F.I.C.C.’s President “we should not forget that Camping, Caravanning and Motorcaravanning are the most ancient and traditional forms of tourism all over the world. This concept based in the spirit of Camping, Caravanning and Motorcaravanning is gaining ground in modern society, attracting an ever-growing number of tourists.

Whether they’re equipped with the minimum of luggage, a tent, a caravan or a motor caravan, everyone wants to devote as much leisure time as possible to exploring a particular region. As well as being very affordable, Camping and Caravanning is above all being in touch with nature and a rewarding human experience.

Although being away from everyday life constraints, campers, caravanners and motorcaravenners don’t forget civilised life as here they will find freedom, quality of life and safety - vital for their lifestyle.

At a time when so many are adversely affected by complex global economic problems, we believe that getting away from it all and enjoying the natural world in the company of family and friends are positive forces that refresh and energize us in readiness for our return to the workaday world. In addition to relaxing body and mind, this form of tourism brings people together, humanizes relationships and encourages sharing at all levels. And it does not cost a fortune either.”

Municipality of Ponte de Lima

The 2013 General Assembly in Slawa/Poland awarded the 84th International F.I.C.C. Rally to Portugal. Federacao de Campismo e Montanhismo de Portugal (FCMP) has already organised three successful and well-attended rallies: Santo Andre in 1975, Ericeira in 1985 and most recently Aljezur in 1995.

PONTE DE LIMA is the oldest town in Portugal and lies in the heart of the Lima valley. It was Teresa, Countess of Portugal, who in 1125, signed the town’s charter, calling it “Terra de Ponte“. Years later in the 14C, Pedro I, who realised the strategic importance of Ponte de Lima’s situation, ordered it to be walled. As a result Ponte de Lima became in a fine mediaeval walled burg with nine towers, two of which are still standing. Six doors or gates gave access to the town. The bridge, from which the town derives its name, has always been of importance for the whole Alto Minho region since it offered the only safe passage across the river Lima until the late Middle Ages. The original bridge was built by the Romans and a significant section of it can still be found on the right bank of the Lima. This mediaeval bridge was a feat of architecture, almost incomparable in its grandeur, beauty and balance.
Over the centuries, thousands of pilgrims travelling to Santiago de Compostela have crossed the bridge and they continue do so today.

The town began to grow in the 18C and as a consequence its walls began to be pulled down. Throughout the municipality of Ponte de Lima, opulent manorial houses were built by the nobility of the time and over the years the town added to its natural beauty magnificent gothic, mannerist,
baroque, neoclassical and 19C facades significantly increasing its historical, cultural and architectural heritage.

PONTE DE LIMA is the capital of the Vinho Verde region. It has had a wine cooperative since 1959 as well as many private wine producers. When it opened, the cooperative had 47 members
but today there are over 2,000. Production has therefore increased considerably but great care is always taken to ensure that the excellent quality is maintained. The grapes are painstakingly selected depending on the soil, climate and variety, loureira preferred for white wine and vinhao for red.
The secret of these wines also resides in the talent and dedication of the local growers. Quality vinho verde is distinguished by its colour and unique aroma – refreshing and fruity. The vinho verde wines of Ponte de Lima should be savoured with the traditional dishes and desserts of the region (the white wine well chilled).
The River Lima, also known as the Lethe (River of Forgetfulness) by the Romans (who believed that those who crossed it would lose their memory for ever) was the most important means of communication at that time until the royal roads were built. For centuries it has watered the land, supplied water to homes and allowed locals and visitors to bathe in it in the summer and practise watersports because it has fortunately not yet been affected by pollution.
Source: Town of Ponte de Lima

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