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A buzz in the air

Carnaval, the festival leading up to the beginning of Lent, is a really big do in Ciudad Rodrigo. The main focus is the bull running, where bulls are released in the street so that lads, of all ages and sexes, can show how brave and skilful they are. But it's also a big do for lots of other reasons. It's a fiesta, a time for friends to visit, the opportunity for the youngsters to hang around the fun fair, the chance to stroll the stalls run by Gypsies and Peruvians, an opportunity to eat food in the street, to drink too much and generally to have a good time.

The Carnaval de Toros, begins on the 20th February and lasts through till Shrove Tuesday so preparations have been under way for a while. The rails that guide the bulls and steers into the town's main square were the first things to appear, then a few of the fairground attractions and food stalls began to park up. Yesterday workmen started to put up the wooden fences that will form the bull ring in the  square and the shutters went up in the Plaza del Buen Alcalde to turn each of the arches into a temporary home for each of the official "peñas."

Peña just means a group really and lots of groups of friends rent a flat or a garage for their peña, so that they can have a place to drink, eat and meet closer to the main action. The longer established, official, ones have some sort of involvement in the running of the event and they all rent a space and, I think, build a part of the wooden stands, that make up the seating for the bull ring. On the two or three days that there are proper bull fights it costs money to get into the stands so the members of the peñas are able to recoup their investment by collecting the entrance fees to their chunk of the stands. I should say that the bull fights are actually called Capeas (from cape I suppose) and they differ from the big, professional fights in that there are none of the mounted picadores, no squads of expensively dressed bull fighters and, most importantly, the bulls walk away unhurt.

There are posters all over advertising this and that to do with Carnaval and there have been lots more people just idling around the town centre. Quite infectious really.


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Combining my blogs

This blog is now dormant. It records our time in the beautiful city of Ciudad Rodrigo but it's a while since we've lived there. We now spend part of our time in Cartagena, Murcia and a part in Culebrón, Alicante.

If you would like to gave a look at what we're up to now just click on one of the tabs at the top of the page.

That's it

Done. Finished. I'm just about to disconnect the computer and that will be it. We managed to get everything in the cars, tomorrow morning we'll dope up Edu and then all we have to do is to drive across Spain. The Culebrón link below will be in use for the next few weeks before we move on to Cartagena in September. Click on the links below.
So this blog is dead. Ciudad Rodrigo is history. Culebrón for the summer and then Cartagena.
The story continues .......

Missed something else

This morning, as I cleaned my teeth, I heard hooves in the street. I didn't bother to rush out. I took my time, I put on my boots and strolled out to buy fags and a paper. There were signs of horses or mules or donkeys having passed down the street. When I came out of the fag shop I noticed a fair sized crowd by the Fat Tree but the fun was over, the crowd was drifting away and I didn't have my camera anyway.
I've just checked the town web site and it says that The Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Peña de Francia, having been blessed by a local chaplain, set out on a Romeria (a sort of pilgrimage) from the town today heading for one of the highest peaks in the area - the Peña de Francia. They won't get there till Sunday as it's some 50km from here.