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

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…and people in fancy dress paraded round the town.

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There were lots of stalls, of course…

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… some medieval fairground rides…

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…artwork….

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…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!

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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…

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

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

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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…!

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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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