A medieval weekend

This weekend was a long weekend, or a puente (bridge) as they call it here. Friday was a national holiday because it was Spain’s constitution day, and today (Monday) is the day of the Immaculate Conception which for some reason constitutes a day off too (see what I did there!). It’s been nice to have an extra day off work but since everything closes on public holidays, it’s been like a weekend of Sundays (thank goodness not a month), and as everyone who’s been following my blog will know, I don’t love Sundays here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCKqubV7j9s

Four days is just too long to spend in Logroño without getting cabin fever …especially with all the shops shut and noone around;  the place feels post apocalyptic! On Saturday I and a few friends escaped to Santa Domingo de la Calzada (Saint Dominic of the Road …if you’re starting to think Spain is very religious, you’re right!), a little town about half an hour away, which was hosting a medieval market. I’d expected that I might have a nice mooch around a few stalls selling old looking stuff, but the town had put a huge amount of effort into it and gone all out!

The buildings were decorated with flags and flowers…Image



…and people in fancy dress paraded round the town.


There were lots of stalls, of course…



… some medieval fairground rides…




…and a very morbid makeshift playground; a noose and a guillotine for children (and Anna) to play in … we had to laugh that health and safety wouldn’t let this happen in England!



We also went to look round Santa Domingo’s cathedral, and stumbled upon a nativity fayre. Here a nativity scene is called a Belén, aka a Bethlehem! You’re about to see a real variety of, quite often bizarre, nativities. I’m not sure if it was a very festive experience or a very creepy one!

I wasn’t previously aware that Bethlehem was on an enormous blue lake…


And here is an enormous model of every part of the Christmas story.


This one’s more like the Nativity scene as I know it.


Apparently, shortly after his birth a Riojan man and his donkey bought baby Jesus some grapes!Image

And, last but not least, here is my favourite: a knitted nativity! I wasn’t aware the Easter bunny was present at the birth of Jesus either…!


And finally, a week in La Rioja wouldn’t be complete without me embarrassing myself is some way; here is this week’s Faux-Pas Of The Week: The butcher looked at me a bit strangely when I asked for two pechos. It turns out that I hadn’t asked him for two chicken breasts (pechuga) as I’d intended to, but two human breasts!


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