2008 June 28 - Fiesta de San Juan

The actual day for San Juan (Saint John) is 24 June. However, this year we celebrated it on 28 June.

The fiesta starts out with a mass in the San Juan ermita (chapel) across the street from Colin and Margaret's house.

Following the mass, the people from our Peña (club, group) assembled at Colin and Margaret's to use their "Peña Room" and cook a seafood paella. A paella (pie-
ā-ya) is similar to the cajun's jambalaya in Louisiana (where I came from). You cook whatever you happen to have on hand, in a pot with rice - sausage, beef, pork, chicken, or seafood. You can either combine the various foods together or make it with just one type of food - this year it was just seafood (my favorite!).

(Every time I have a paella or jambalaya, I think I've died and gone to heaven!)

The cooking started around 2:pm - after the people had time to go home and change into some comfortable clothes.

This year, Rosi and Maribel were in charge of cooking the paella.

We are getting ready to eat.

Colin is opening the wine.

Everybody is ready to eat!

The meal started out with a salad, olives, pickles, boiled shrimp, wine and soft drinks.

Then came the paella!!
There was plenty and there were only 12 of us.

Rosi and Maribel serving the paella.

Jordi and Manolo

Francisco, Joaquín and Rosa Marie
(Francisco is the son of Joaquín and Rosa Marie)

Lola, Pablo, Rosi and Maribel (standing)

Maribel and Rosi - our two chefs today.
They did an excellent job - the paella was fantastic!

Colin, Margaret and Lola

Then came the cava (Spanish champagne), the dessert (a pastry) and an after-dinner drink (usually scotch), followed by coffee.

It was a leisurely lunch. It started around 3:pm and lasted until almost 8:pm.

Hona (o-na) is Colin and Margaret's doberman. She was very well behaved today. When there is something going on in the yard, Hona is kept on the balcony that wraps around 3 sides of the house. Most of the times, she barks a lot because she wants to come down and be part of what ever is going on. But today, the only time she barked was when there were strangers in the street in front of the house.

Floyd and Lola in Colin and Margaret's yard.

The band started playing around 8:pm and ended near 11:pm.

The band plays on the street in front of Colin and Margaret's house.

Everybody in the village is invited to come and dance in the street.

For all who come to the festivities - whether to participate or just listen to the band - in the back of the van, there is cava, soft drinks and pastries - provided by the Ayuntamiento (town hall).

Antonio, the Mayor, serving the cava, and his wife Nieves serving the pastries.

This is Ferran, the baby son of Carlos and Elena

Lola and her friend, Joaquina.

"Pep" and Maria Antonia

Mercedes and Carlos

Everybody - of all ages - has a good time!

But eventually...... "All good things must end."

(Lo siento [I'm sorry] for the quality of this last picture. I will try to get a better one. But I thought the church tower looked really nice from the ermita.)

~•~ The End ~•~

2008 May 1 - La Pobleta d'Alcolea

My Spanish teacher, Beatriz, and her husband, Miguel, invited Colin, Margaret, Jordi and me to the fiesta in La Pobleta d'Alcolea, a small village where Beatriz and Miguel sell bread once a week.

This was the village's annual fiesta. The village was about 30 minutes away from our village. So, we anxiously accepted their invitation.

When we arrived, we saw the small, pretty village perched on top of a small mountain, 1000 meters (3280 feet) above sea level. This is almost twice as high as our village. The scenery was magnificent! (However, I can imagine the winters must be very cold and windy.)

The festival started off with a mass in the village church.

The inside of the church was in much better condition than the one in our village.

I believe this is a statue of San Roque.

When mass was finished, the church bells rang....

....and the procession began.

We walked from the church to the top of a hill overlooking the village, where there is a tiny cross. (Fortunately, the walk was slow!)

The scenery was breathtaking and well worth walk.

Up....up....up we go. Destination - tiny cross.

When we got to the top, the view was fantastic!

On top of the hill, the priest blessed the cross and prayed for rain....

....then blessed boxes of flat, round, hard pieces of bread - which were then given to each of the people. The flat, round, pieces of bread were made by 25 women - by hand, and from what I could see, each one was different. These were made in Miguel's bakery, and then he baked them.

Miguel is stooping on the ground handing out the bread.

Beatriz is in the red sweater handing out the bead.

This is what the bread looked like.
Like I said, each was handmade and different, some just slightly different.

We hung around on top of this little mountain admiring the view (and me catching my breath) for awhile. I hated to leave it was so beautiful.

The walk back was just as pretty as it was going up.

We then walked back down to the village where snacks were waiting on several tables for the 200+ people that came for the mass and blessing of the cross on top of the little mountain overlooking the village.

When the doors to the building were opened, the people attacked the tables of snacks like a swarm of locust! (I was glad I got my pictures of the tables when I did!)

After most of the people left, Miguel and a few other men started a fire in the bar-b-que pits and prepared to cook a lamb that had been slaughtered and cut up.

When the bar-b-que pits were lit, they were near a pen where a bunch of sheep were penned up and they started getting restless - like they knew what was about to happen and were afraid one of them would soon be roasting on the fire.

Miguel and me checking the meat.

This meal was for the 40+ "invited" guests, which we were happy to be a part of.

Miguel tending the bar.

Beatriz and her friend.

Beatriz and her mother

Miguel's mother

It didn't take long and the meat was cooked and being handed out to the hungry people.

Tables of happy people.

Sauce for your lamb?

Mother and father of Beatriz

Beatriz's father and friends

Floyd, Jordi, Colin, Margaret

Happy and full!

~•~ The End ~•~