Festivals, Bear Attacks, and Spanish Lessons

Where should I even begin?

I’ve said before that fiestas and festivals are a dime a dozen around here. Somewhere in Spain, someone is celebrating something all the time. It’s been my experience that these festivals generally share the following commonalities: there are costumes (usually animal representations and others, well, others that I just don’t understand, with lots of colors and sometimes some random baby dolls…), there is always some sort of procession or parade, there is always a bar somewhere nearby, there always seems to be music (normally bagpipes and tambourines), and there is always a lot of waiting around (schedules mean very little in this country).

This past Saturday we went to a festival with all these things in the town of Piasca, which is a super duper (like population 2000) small town situated near the Picos mountains and not far at all from Potes (the scene of the Orujo festival). It was a festival much like one we had gone to in a different town last year when I was here, of which I didn’t have such fantastic  memories – it was like 40 degrees and raining and there were thousands of people so you had to fight to see what was going on, AND the next day I got on a plane back to the states and fell deathly ill for a week. So I was a little scarred.

It only takes a little over an hour to get there from here, so we were there at the start of everything at about 10:30 in the morning. It was a beautiful day and with the backdrop of the snow capped mountains, and notably fewer people (I actually thought it was only going to be me and C…but eventually more folks turned up), it was already more promising.

Part of one of the groups gearing up to get started.

The bagpipe group from Corrales was playing there (another reason C wanted to go). Maybe next year, he'll suit up and play with them.

Anyhoo. You should check this out to learn more about La Viajanera (which is the larger version of this that we went to last  year) and the symbolism of all the characters and what happens. I could write it all out here, but let’s be honest, I’m generally more interested in people watching and just taking in all the things that are unusual (like, all of it), and not to mention I’d probably just copy and paste what he wrote anyway. Plus the video in that post is really well done. I digress.

I’ll highlight my favorite moments.

1) There’s this group that walks with these big bells on their back, and with tall ribbony hats. They have to walk with sort of a bouncy stop to make them ring all at the same time.

These are the guys with the bells. They are LOUD, but I find them rather intriguing. And this group is almost all like 20 year old Galician boys who wear big hoop earrings in both ears and have long floppy hair. They are like clones of each other.

And there is a guy dresses in a big bear costume in the group. At least I would assume it was a guy? I dunno, but I’d like a few words with him. SO, periodically the bear will find some unsuspecting person looking the other way or not paying attention and attack them, scaring the beJEEZUS out of them. Apparently I’m not only unsuspecting enough to get attacked once (in the morning) but it happened AGAIN later in the day. TWICE. C was videoing the first time and caught it on the sidelines. Hilarious.

2) These guys were making paella for all 200 of us. First of all, I want pans like these. SO FUN. And second of all, it was good.

I mean, we could fit one of these would fit in our yard?

3) There was a big tent and a ton of people, and I had to pee. So, we asked one of the guys who was dressed in part of his costume (not the whole thing, but was obviously part of the festivities) and carrying plates of paella where I could go. Well, turns out there wasn’t anyplace, so this guy was like “oh, come with me” and walked me around back to his HOUSE. Like, come on in and use our bathroom. Who does that??? And there was a big group of people sitting in the kitchen who were telling me to come in and have coffee with them. I can’t tell you how that made me giggle.

Here are some more pics.

The President of Cantabria even made an appearance. He's the left one of the two guys. He smiles a lot. Very politician like.

This is the bagpipe group from Corrales. VERY Sound-of-Music-y in this shot, no?? I wanted to spin around and sing. But it was cold and I could only spare one hand out of my pocket at a time.

An impromptu jam session. I gotta say - and yes, this highlights my judginess - that I saw that girl earlier in the day and had no IDEA she'd be able to play a bagpipe like that. It was like an American Idol audition moment. Completely surprising.

So the picture quality is stink-o, but I loved these guys. I could spend days taking pictures of faces, if only I were invisible. Cause it can get a little awkward when they catch you. Who's the FREAK SHOW taking my picture?? Teeheehee...

I hit a funny button on my camera that changed the color of the shot to only include greens. But I think it's sort of funky.

Virginia, Eva and C back in Potes where the festival continued later in the day.

This made me giggle. Shoot, everything makes me giggle. But look at the kinds of sandwishes they have...hehehehe...

And that was that. It was a really fun day and erased the bad memories I had from the one the previous year that made me sick.

OH, and for your Spanish lessons for the day.

1. I had to go to the bathroom really badly on the way home, so I asked C how to say something similar to “I have to pee like a racehorse.” So he told me “Me meo por las patas abajo.” Which means more like I’m gonna pee down my leg. So I got all geared up to use my new phrase with some friends and spit out “me meo por las patas arriba” because I get arriba (up) and abajo (down) mixed up. So I think I basically said I was gonna pee up my arms, which everyone thought would have been really interesting. Snort. If nothing else, I am good for a few laughs.

2. And for the record “estrechar” is Spanglish for stretch in the Book of Lynne, but in fact in means to shrink. C was a little surprised when I asked him if he had “stretched” after going to the gym. 🙂

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1 Response to Festivals, Bear Attacks, and Spanish Lessons

  1. Big Yister says:

    #1. After seeing all of the pictures, Mike said “F@&* carbs, that Paella is mine. What’s everyone else gonna eat.

    #2. I think I’m gonna “Me meo por las patas abajo” after hearing that story. Some things just never get old with a Flavell girl.

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