¡Cumple en el campo!

So last Saturday was my 23rd birthday-wahoo mid-twenties here I come! This was actually my second birthday I would celebrate in Spain; I turned 20 in Salamanca, which I thought would be hard to top in terms of awesome bdays, but man was I wrong! This year DEFINITELY takes the cake for the best birthday ever, and it had to do with the fact that the 14th was also romería in Espejo, the pueblo where I work.

IMG_5907Espejo, the pueblo where I work outside Córdoba

Now romería means making small pilgrimage in honor of the patron saint of the town, and it’s mostly celebrated in Andalucía. The romería in Espejo was for San Isidro, the patron saint of the worker (olive farmers). It basically consists of people going out to the countryside for the day and eating and drinking ton. What is really cool is that lots of people dress up in traditional gypsy or olive worker costumes and ride out on horseback or in big wagons pulled by tractors. These wagons (carrozas) are big open truck beds normally used to transport olives, but for romería people decorate them for a competition and ride in them out into the countryside, usually with a roof of tarp to give some shade. Ours was pretty simple: a bench, a big table, speakers blasting house and flamenco music, a giant cooler filled with booze, and a stove hooked up to a gas tank to cook chorizo and sardines. Amen.

IMG_5887Everyone gathering in the main square in Espejo before heading out to the campo

IMG_5890My friend’s carroza, depicting traditional olive harvesting

IMG_5886Another carroza with guys dressed up as abuelas making chorizo

IMG_5891 (1)My favorite carroza of the day, with boys dressed up as the crazy Duquesa de Alba. What is with crossdressing in Spain?!?!

My incredible friend Cristina invited me to spend the weekend with her and her family. All the carrozas left from the main square in Espejo flanked by tons of people walking or on horseback. We headed out to the campo in a long parade around 10am, which coincidentally is when the booze started flowing. It was also about 90 degrees. I was dying!

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Cristina’s carroza headed out to the campo

IMG_5897Journey to the campo

IMG_5905Riding out on horseback, two men to a horse, booze in hand at 10am? Why not!

IMG_5896Me inside our carroza, already dying from the heat!

It took a few hours before we finally got out to the big camp ground/park area where everyone would spend the day. There were picnic tables everywhere and people had already come out and set up tons of food to prepare for a long day of fiesta. Kids were running around with water guns, girls dancing sevillanas in their gypsy dresses, drunk old men hitting on everyone, people on horseback riding around, and people passed out under the olive trees. It was so much fun and absolute chaos!

IMG_5915Me and Cristina

IMG_5917Some of my other friends

IMG_5913Glassy-eyed at 2pm but super happy!

It was one giant party, and it was really great because all of the teachers and my students were there, so they kept running up to me all day wishing me happy birthday and wanting to introduce me to their families. So adorable! Only in Spain are you allowed to walk around with a drink in one hand meeting your students’ parents. In fact if my hand was empty, they would immediately give me another rebujito and some food! I love it! I ran into one of the teachers later on and she had her horses with her and insisted I go for a ride. I told her that I’ve only ever been on a horse twice in my life, once for pony pictures when I was in 3rd grade and once in Salamanca on a riding excursion, but she wasn’t fazed. So I hobbled up on a big horse, one hand on the rains, the other holding a beer given to me by one of the men, and off we went!

We walked among the olive trees for a while before coming up to a rural house (a lot of people have second small houses in the countryside). We parked the horses and went inside and hung out with another group of teachers, parents, and kids before heading back to the campsite. (This is where my memory starts to get fuzzy) later in the afternoon our group started to make a giant paella rice (arroz) in one of the big frying pans, which is a very traditional thing to do when in the campo. I just watched haha. It was delicious and we all just ate it straight out of the pan. It finally got cooler as the sun set, which is when the party really began. They turned the big pavilion into a discoteca where we danced for hours! I was a grandma and had my forehead on the picnic table almost asleep by the time 3am rolled around (if you know Spain, this is early), but after 15 hours of straight partying, I was done, and I mean done! But man, what a day! Best. Birthday. Ever.

IMG_5925Las chicas making rice

IMG_3410Friends

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Being ridiculous at 3am

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4 Comments on “¡Cumple en el campo!

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  1. People will do stupid stuff just to get a dumb picture of their fat asses on the poor horse. Overload for sure, by about 200 pounds!! Poor animal has to put up with idiots. Most Mexicans who ride Andalusions and Friesians are very backwards about how they board, feed, train and ride their horses. It’s their “culture” Well guess what it isn’t the 20th Century anymore. Start to change your IDIOTIC Mexican culture and don’t repeat your Dad’s, Grandpa’s and Uncle’s stupidity. You should never keep a horse locked in a stall 24 hours or more. (this is how most Mexicans do it. Lock their poor horses in 10×12 stalls. WHy? Because they can’t afford to put them on pasture and are too lazy to go get them out of the pasture anyway. They want the horse to be handy. Like a shovel in a shed.That is what Mexicans view their animals as. . . machines or tools. Then, when they finally let them out of the stall they scream at them to run ….that is if the horse is lucky enough to get to run at all, and have any freedom. Most the time they just take them out of the stall and tie them up. Then proceed to
    “train ” the horse, much like a machine or “thing” not like a beloved animal. You CAN TRAIN a horse with kind , light hands. Mexicans also make the horses. . (usually some Spanish breed or a Friesian) to “dance”” on the pavement or other hard surface. Not caring if if screws up the horses feet and joints. Because they typically either sell them or just breed them after they are all “used up” lame and in pain. They will use them then sell or breed them. When they do breed them it is again, time to be locked in a stall. OR a VERY small corral or some other enclosure. Not caring about the horses mental or even physical health in the long run. Because a mentally abused and lame mare can still produce a baby. Then when that horse is unable to be ridden or bred anymore they kill them. Usually just sell them on the cheap, or take them to an auction where people buy them for slaughter. OR sell them to some little kid or person who does’nt know enough about horses and will believe them when the stupid Mexican tells them that the horse is sound and healthy. Then they raise the foal the same why, with abuse and misuse and cruelty. Stupid backwards heartless, creepy people.

  2. […] Spain I have experienced some marathon fiestas, most memorably for my 23rd birthday and my village’s Romería in Córdoba and again this summer for San Fermín and the running of the bulls in Pamplona. I really had to […]

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