So this past weekend was a festival in Autol. There are several festivals in each of the Spanish cities and towns; in fact Autol, a village of 4,000, has 3 annually. Being used to a festival scene like Mardi Gras, I really wasn’t sure what to expect at first.
Friday night I figured I would take it easy. My friends Kelly, Martyna and Tom (from Canada, Canada and England, respectively) were planning on coming to Autol on Saturday, so I thought I ought to save my energy. My plan backfired.
I ended up going to a local bar around 10 to have a few drinks, however when I arrived and went to hang my coat up, someone in between me and the hanger offered to hang it for me. He looked like someone I knew, so I asked him what he was drinking, as to order him something when I went to the bar. Almost as soon as I realized that I had mistaken him for someone else, he thanked me and bought my drink, saying he had heard of the American who was living in his town. I soon noticed that his friends were friends of mine from Autol and they all invited me to their “Casa Blanca” for dinner. Although I had already eaten, I decided I shouldn’t pass the invitation up and told them I was down.
So they took me to this old mushroom factory on a hill on the outside of town, which provided a great view of Autol from above. Next to the factory is a house that about 15 friends have renovated and converted into somewhat of a ‘Rent House’, like Eddie’s. We bbq'd and drank til about 5 am, when someone that had to go back to Autol to work at a bar (because bars during festivals don’t close til about 9am) offered to give me a lift back.
The next morning I slept through the encierro (bull run) at noon, only to wake up at 3:30 and go to a bar for a coffee at 4:20 before the run at 5:00. I happened to run into a local who I know and he invited me to his home for the encierro because his house is actually situated in the main street of the run and the view is great. I wasn’t about to say no to the offer, however it made me feel obligated not to say no to the gin and beer he offered me to drink before and during the encierro, out of politeness, of course. It was very entertaining; I’ll post pics and vids soon.
So after the run, around 6:00, my friends from Calahorra arrived. And then the real party began. After a couple of bars we went back to my place and I treated them to burgers before heading out on the town. It was a fun night, ranging from chatting amongst ourselves at quiet pubs to being swarmed in bars (being the only foreigners in town) to dancing to horn bands in the street at 5am with my students and adults ranging from 30 to 70. We didn’t go to sleep til about 6:30. It was a blast.
However, the next night was the Superbowl, so I pulled another all-nighter in order to watch the game (which didn’t start til 1am in Spain) even though I had to go to school at 8am Monday morning. Needless to say, it wasn’t hard to stay awake. Congrats to the Saints, their fans, and LA. I wish I could have been there in person, but I was there in spirit.
Anyway, I have no plans of slowing down. This weekend is Carnival in Spain, just like it is Carnival in LA next week. So tomorrow I am going to Calahorra to find a costume and prepare myself for another weekend of mayhem.