Tuesday, August 23, 2016

¡Fiesta!

FRIDAY

The village fiesta traditionally starts on the 19th August with the Chorizada in the 
co-operativa yard where many small bonfires are lit for everyone to cook their sausages.


Wine, olives and chunks of bread are also provided...


...and everyone has a good time.


This is a wonderful start to the fiesta as every generation from young to old meet and eat with their friends.


Then, following the 'meal' groups go around the village with the band visiting each peña for a swift drink, usually a gin and tonic downed in one called a catacroc.


The only problem is that between the peñas people in their houses throw buckets of water, or even use hosepipes to drench the participants. We did this once but don't feel the need to do it anymore.


SATURDAY


The day starts with the midday mass in the ermita. This year at the end of the service San Ramón was carried around the building.


Once again it's a great opportunity to meet up with friends...


...and after to adjourn to the piscina for some cooling refreshment.


In the evening our friend Octavio gave a presentation on the book he has written about the village. It took him 2 years to write but it will take me considerably longer to read as it's in Spanish.


SUNDAY

There were 2 highlight events today. 



The first event was a performance of Jotas by the group "Aires del Matarraña" in the school yard and I was there with my video camera to record the proceedings.


 "Aires del Matarraña" are a remarkable group of musicians, singers and dancers.


 The dancers are excellent and even play along with their castanets.


The costumes of everyone in the group is authentic which must be quite exhausting for the dancers during the summer when it is so hot.


The singing numbers included solos from each of the 5 performers as well as duets, a group number as well as vocals during some of the dance routines.


The dance Jotas can be seen by clicking on the following numbers:

The singing Jotas can be seen by clicking on the following numbers:


The second event of the day was the Concurso de Disfraces, the Fancy Dress Competition, which was held later in the evening in the Plaza Mayor.


First up, an offering by peña Pacharan - I'm still not certain what it was meant to be about!
To see their performance, click HERE.


Next, Catacoc. To see their performance, click HERE.


Unfortunately, Lo Skaldat did not perform to the stage where the judges and I with my camera were seated. The judges moved in front of them so they could see the performance, I videoed their rears. 
To see their performance, click HERE.


Lo Carcas came 2nd with their version of a very traditional olive harvest scenario.
To see their performance, click HERE.


Lo Corral won with their version of how the people of Torre del Compte would compete in the Olympics - great ideas.
To see their performance, click HERE.


In 3rd place came Lo Topi although I'm still not sure what this performance was supposed to represent.
To see the performance, click HERE.



After the excitement of the Concurso de Disfraces, it was off to the piscina bar for refreshment under a beautiful starry night sky.



Overall, a very entertaining evening.


MONDAY

The main event was the cena de alforja in the Plaza Mayor in the evening.



Quite simply, this involved taking along a dish of food to eat with your group of friends.


Margaret made a lasagna which by now has built quite a reputation and is a firm favourite.


Others brought a dish of pork with pineapple, salads, empanadas and sweet dishes such as apple flan and melon.


You have to ask yourself where else could such an event take place? Once again, people spanning generations eating, drinking and having a great time together under a perfectly warm night sky. Wonderful.


Following the meal, entertainment in the form of a display of various types of ballroom dancing.


The activities went on throughout the night, as they have done each night of the fiesta, to the sounds of a dance group into the very early hours, often as "early" as 6.30 a.m. 
Now, when the fiesta is finally over, we can return to the "normal" world with regular routines and an eye on world events which have been put on hold for the last few days. 
Certainly a fiesta to remember for a long time. However, back to reality!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Friends stay for an extended birthday celebration.

Elena, Diego and their 2 daughters, Irene, 10, and Claudia, 6, came to my birthday meal on the 3rd August but as they came some distance, they are our neighbours at Vinaròs, they stayed with us for 3 nights so we could show them the local area.


On the Thursday morning we visited the ermita at La Fresneda...


...and then to Valderrobres...


...for a very good lunch at Fonda Angeleta.


After lunch a visit to the castle, museum and church then in the evening a walk around the village of Torre del Compte.


Friday we started by visiting the Torre Cremada, the Burning Tower, a local Iberian lookout post for the nearby settlement some 2,500 years old.


In the photo above we are standing on the site of the Torre Cremada so that you can see the village of Torre del Compte between us and the railway bridge, now part of the Via Verde, to the right of Elena, Diego and Irene.


Next up, a visit to the Iberican settlement at Calaceite with the ermita de San Cristobal in the background.


On the way to Alcañiz we crossed the Greenwich Meridian, another photo opportunity..


...with one foot on the line and the other in either the eastern or the western hemisphere.


Lunch in Luthiers, one of our favourite restaurants...


...followed by a walk up to the Parador for coffee.



Back to Torre del Compte for...


...games in the evening...


...and as you can see, there are...


...a couple of potential sports girls here!


Supper.


Saturday morning and we go to Morella.


You can't visit this region without coming here...


...and lunch at the Hotel Rey Don Jaime before exploring the village in the afternoon.

A thoroughly enjoyable stay and a great way to extend my birthday celebrations!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My birthday!

To celebrate my birthday we had our evening meal with friends.


The meal went down very well...


...as did the birthday cake. I must admit, we are getting used to Spanish birthday cakes now - sponge cakes with cream rather than rich fruit cakes which are traditional in England.



Our friends were very generous with their presents, (as always), especially with the bottles of wine and even a beer making kit - they certainly know what I like!


The hat I'm wearing is another story which I shall disclose at a later date maybe. 

A most enjoyable evening and a great way to spend a birthday.