Hello All. This is a photo heavy post so I will keep the chatter to a minimum.
This was, of course, Los Gallardos Fiesta week. It started on Friday and ran through until Tuesday.
We went over for the first time on Saturday afternoon when there was a new feature; The usual 'ribbons event' was run on horses for the older boys and men. Usually this happens over the four days, on little trikes, and push-and-ride toys for the tinies, bikes for the children and motor bikes for the oldest group, but it is more traditionally run on horses; It was just the first year horses have been used in our village. A rope is tied across the street at an appropriate height for the folk taking part, and round it there are rows of ribbons with a metal ring at the bottom. As they pass under the rope, the riders try to catch a ribbon by hooking the ring onto a stick. If it unfurls there is much clapping and cheering, and the successful rider takes it over to a row of girls in pretty dresses, who tie it round the boy like a sash, give him a kiss and a small gift. This is quite amusing as the young men obviously enjoy it all, but some of the youngest contestants refuse to kiss the little girl who is pursuing him. Obviously the ribbons were much higher for the horsemen, and when they managed to catch a ribbon they were given a carnation to give on to their girl, in exchange for the kiss! All good fun.
When we arrived the street had barriers each side and was filled with a good depth of sand for the horses to run on. Then the young ladies filed down and took their places to watch, and finally the horses arrived to take their turn. It was harder than you might expect and a couple of lads were very proud to capture more than one ribbon.
We stood watching for quite some time, but Chris caught me having a little sit down in the sun. Soon after that we went home as our youngest son Ben and his partner were arriving late evening and we wanted to be there ready for them.
They arrived around 10.30. Ben came bearing gifts including a selection box from a special tea company. He knows I love their tea and usually takes me to their shop when I am visiting him. We have tried most of them now and they are all very nice.
Sunday was very hot. Our thermometer was showing 37º in the shade, the hottest so far this year. My two golden fur babies, Foxy and Tango, were laid out in the coolest place they could find.
But we had a better way to cool down as Sunday afternoon was the now traditional foam party at a local bar. It was a new experience for Ben and Dave, and they didn't know what to expect, but they had a great time.
The street outside the bar was covered with big white parasols, but when the foam cannon appeared it came on quite gently, just covering the area at the end, so the children could have a good play in it. When they had had enough, the power was turned up and the man handling the machine started targeting those of us sitting around the edge. Dave was determined to stay in his seat, but eventually he was buried and had to admit defeat. By the end of the session the foam was billowing right through the covered area and over the bar, but we left to dip in the pool and rinse off the soap.
It feels really soft and cool, but it does sting your eyes a bit after while. I think it is a very mild soap solution. It soon disappears again and the street it hosed down and back to normal by the evening.
Before we left, Chris and Ben decided to have a father and son competition at drinking out of a porron. On this day they are filled with a mixture of white wine, beer and soda water - quite a heady mix that tends to get drunk very fast. But it is all part of the day's celebrations, and we didn't see anyone getting too silly!
We had a swim when we got home and a rest, and then set out again in the evening. Dad and Dave marched on ahead while Ben and I were taking photos.
The lights were pretty this year, especially as the sky darkened.
The plaza was heaving with families all out to have a fun evening. The plaza is set out with a big stage, lots of tables and chairs, and three temporary bars whose staff work endlessly serving everyone with drinks and tapas. They carry on until around 7.30 the next morning, so after four days they must all need a holiday!
The fair ground is in full swing all night as well, with a dragon roller coaster, a 'big ride' that goes high and fast, and a very big bumper car rink.
Before we went home to sleep, we each had a very good mojito. That is always my fiesta treat, but last year the staff were too busy to make them. This year there was a new stand only making mojitos, so we made sure we got one this time, and they were delicious.
I think in UK the Health and Safety officials might have a heart attack, and some things just would not be allowed. For example, the fairground rides were just standing on small concrete blocks set out on a hard mud pitch, and this was the wiring for the foam cannon. To announce each event as it starts and at the end, rockets are set off. They are very loud and not pretty at all. If you do see one go up there is just a quick, bright flash along with the bang. They start half the dogs in the village barking. Foxy spends most days in her bolt hole behind the sofa, but Kim toughs it out with just a whimper now and then. On the last day they set of volley after volley of them, from wire rings fixed to a street barrier, but the single ones are often let off from someone's hand!
Despite this rather worrying approach, no-one ever seems to get hurt.
Tuesday was the final day of the fiesta, when there is an open air mass for our patronal saint, Virgen del Carmen. An altar is set up in front of the stage and the village choir assemble there, always dressed in something pretty.
People from all over the village flock to the plaza and it is an occasion for many of them to dress up, regardless of their age. They look so pretty, though I sometimes wonder how they walk or sit in them.
Then the statue of the Virgin is carried down from the church and everyone offers flowers to her, stacking them up around her feet and on a trestle at the side.
After the mass, the altar is cleared away and the band and singers are back for one last night of music.
We had had enough by midnight and made our way home, stopping for my second treat, churros with thick hot chocolate to dip it in. The churros is a batter squeezed into hot oil in a spiral and then cut up. I love it and so did Dave. The other two had a piece each but we ate most of it.
So, with another fiesta under our belts, Ben and Dave have enjoyed a quieter few days, dipping in and out of the pool, reading and just chatting with us. On Wednesday night we went out for a Chinese meal which was lovely as usual, and last night we went round the corner to our local bar for the regular quiz night. We didn't do particularly well in the quiz though we didn't come last, but Ben won a prize in the raffle.
Then Chris won a half share in a round of playing card Bingo, pocketing enough to cover the cost of our games, and then I won a round of Bingo, another 47€ so it was a good night for us.
And finally here is my attempt to photograph the partial luna eclipse. Its not brilliant, but not too bad.
And on that note I had better link up with Rocking Your World and Annie's Friday Smiles, and get back to my visitors. We are off to a bar in the next village soon so Ben can sing some karaoke. I'll be back tomorrow to visit you all.