a wandering woman writes

Saturday, September 09, 2006

¡Estamos en fiestas!

It's my favorite time of year in Salamanca. Again.

Salamanca's annual fiestas y ferias kicked off Thursday with the procession carrying offers of flowers to the the city's patron, la Virgen de la Vega.

The flowers are now on display at the Puerta de Ramos of the New Cathedral, the streets are economical if throroughly packed outdoor bars (1.50 euros for a wine, beer, mosto (grape juice) or water and a tasty pincho), and we're all lost in concerts, street performances, a Columbus-era market and a full schedule of bullfights.

Thursday's procession snaked over the Roman Bridge, up Calle Tentenecio and through Salamanca's historic center to Plaza Anaya, where the Virgin's flower offerings are now on display.

Somehow I always arrive home to find I've snapped just as many pictures of the charros (these folks in traditional Salmantino dress) from behind, as I have straight on. Exquisite, isn't it?

The jota is a traditional dance in 3/4 time performed with castanets held over the dancer's head. The jota broke out regularly Thursday afternoon. I love to watch the enjoyment on the dancers' faces.

We'll be at it til the 15th. Don't worry if you don't see me here for a few days. I'm just walking the streets, spending my money 1.50 at a time.



  • Umm, I like the first photo.
    What camera do you use?

    By Blogger Alfacharly, at 10:03 AM  

  • Thanks, Alex. I'm trying to improve the photos on the blog! I use a Canon 350D EOS (called Rebel in the US). Thing is I haven't gotten to know the camera well yet. The day of the procession, eg, I accidentally set things I didn't want to and couldn't figure out how to unset them, and all of the photos suffered. I was happy to see my eye was good; some were good shots, just techically messed up. I left the book I was reading about the camera at the other w-w's house....and will have to dig out the manual til it gets home to Spain, I think.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 10:20 AM  

  • Arggh ... catholic guilt immediately kicks in.

    Good news though, the book in question is on the dining table waiting to be posted out to you :)

    Loved the post ...!!

    By Blogger woman wandering, at 1:15 PM  

  • Good stuff. Spain festivals are the best! Do you know if the jota is danced in Ávila as well? Probably, since they are neighbors & from what I can see, the traditional dress is the same. What about a dance around a bottle? Have you seen that? I loved it when I was in Ávila last year... as you can tell, I hit a festival there :)

    By Blogger Robert, at 8:15 PM  

  • Oh what fun! Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos and a glimpse into the celebration! One of the joys of living in Spain.

    By Blogger paris parfait, at 9:59 PM  

  • w-w, callate. Shhh. No guilt required. Who left the book there? Oh, yeh, me. :) I do have a manual I should find around here somewhere....

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 11:34 PM  

  • Robert, I haven't seen the dance around the bottle. That sounds intriguing; I'm going to ask some friends about it.

    The jota, as best I can tell, is fairly Spain-wide. (Yes, Spaniards?) Each region has its own version. The jota of Aragon is quite dramatic and intricate, so I've heard, while the jota they do here in Salamanca is relatively hmm, shall we say subtle, and elegant -- as Salmantinos can be.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 11:39 PM  

  • Hmmm... interesting. We didn't have any kind of jota in Andalucía... lots of sevillanas but that's about it. If you email me, I can send you a couple videos that I took last year. I've been all over Spain but that's the first time I'd seen the bottle dance.

    It's basically dancing around a bottle, trying not to knock it over. Men, women, kids, whoever do it. Needless to say, I didn't volunteer :)

    By Blogger Robert, at 12:07 AM  

  • Robert, I gave in and wiki'd jota:
    La jota es una danza española extendida prácticamente por toda su geografía. Varía según las regiones, aunque la jota de Aragón, la de Castilla, la de Navarra, la montañesa de Cantabria, la de Asturias, la de Galicia y la de Murcia son quizás las más conocidas y populares. Entendida como representación escénica, la jota se canta y se baila acompañándose de castañuelas y los intérpretes suelen ir vestidos con trajes regionales. En Valencia, antiguamente, se bailaba la jota en la ceremonia de los entierros.

    Oh! How I want to learn to do sevillanas. I went to an incredible wedding in Seville, the most incredible celebration I´ve ever been to, and oh, how I wanted to do more than fake the sevillanas (which went on for hours, before the disco beat kicked in...)

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 11:20 AM  

  • I can't believe I'm missing that!
    You photos make me feel like I'm there though. :)

    By Anonymous Anni, at 2:14 PM  

  • Thank you so much for taking us all through a photo-journey of Salamanca...lovely pics!

    By Anonymous abhay, at 10:02 AM  

  • Welcome, Ahbay, and thank you! I was pleased with these pics.

    It is a shame you missed this Anni - Salamanca at her best, every September. :) You'll see us back to normal; festivities end tonight. Travel safe.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 11:01 PM  

  • Glad to hear you enjoyed the festivities! I loved experiencing the carefree atmosphere, and it was great to see entire families out together until 2 in the morning!

    I've got a typically American question for you: Is there any place where I can get a cup of black coffee that is a little more than an espresso shot? Seems like cafe con leche is the only option, but I could do without the leche, lol. No Starbucks around, huh? hehe

    By Anonymous Michelle, at 1:48 PM  

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