Let the weekend of travel begin!
This morning we were up early to head off to Camuñas for Corpus Christi, and then to Consuegra to see Don Quijote's windmills.
Corpus Christi is a Catholic holiday celebrated all over the world, but it has it's roots here in Camuñas, a quaint little town in Castilla de la Mancha. When we pulled in at 10 AM, the place was dead. No one was out in the streets, and they all looked like this:
Finally we made it to the main square where Mass was going on in a church, and people were beginning to gather for the dancing. It was so cool to be in this city, because I am pretty sure we were the only tourist really around. Everyone else were residents of the city. Here are some of my favorite residents.
Yes, yes that is underwear on these childrens' heads, and the lady behind them was adamant that they keep it on! One thing I have learned about the Spaniards is that while they could care less about lung cancer from smoking, skin cancer is one thing they will not put up with, especially when it comes to their children. Strollers have built in umbrellas, and children wear hats, or in this case, anything that will semi cover their heads. Oh boy... this sight definitely made my day!
We had no idea when the procession would start, so we just waited around sweating profusely in the sun, our nostrils filled with the strong scent of dried rosemary which was sprinkled all around the street until the drums began to beat. I am not exactly sure of the whole significance of the day, but I know it is a festival to celebrate Christ's life, but not really any particular event in it. The festival started out with men wearing devil masks dancing around for about half an hour, doing a symbolic jig about overcoming sin. It was pretty catchy... I wanted to get right in there and dance around with them! After the dancing there was a processional through the streets, where the dancing continued, a Christ relic was carried through the streets for about 2 hours, little kids dressed up sprinkled flower pedals all along the colorful streets, and the procession stopped at every church on the way and fired guns. Yeah, I don't know for sure what was going on, but it was really interesting and really fun!
The only downside of it being Corpus Christi is the fact that everything was closed, so free time was cut short. We only stayed in Camuñas until 1:30, and then it was all aboard and to the next destination. Don Quixote's windmills.
So basically everyone here is in love with Don Quixote and Miguel de Cervantes, who is the author of the classic. Everywhere you go in Spain they've got statues, pins, landmarks, etc all claiming that Cervantes lived here, or studied here, or died here, or whatnot. Alcalá boasts to be his birthplace, and even has his "house" which is now a museum. However, our tour guide told us he wasn't even born there. Love it. Anyways, I've always wanted to see the windmills that inspired Cervantes to write about crazy Don Quixote, and today was my chance!
All I've got to say is that they're called "WIND"mills for a reason. It was pretty blustery up there, and my outfit choice was not conducive to gusts of wind. Basically I walked around like a toy solider trying to keep myself from having another wardrobe malfunction the whole time we were walking around. In the end things went just fine with only a few minor close calls. Anyways, those windmills are very neat, but the sky and the scenery were even better. The clouds didn't even look real, and the scenery looked so much like Eastern Idaho that I had a spot of deja vu. I now understand why Don Quixote mistook the mills for giants, though.. those babies were huge! My favorite part was that there was that one of the "molinas" was converted into a store owned by a Spaniard who called everyone "bootiful". It was great. Oh, and I bought some Castilla de la Mancha saffron, so when I make my paella or Indian food at home I can put a little bit of Authentic Spain in there, too. I'm pretty excited!
Our trip was short and sweet. After seeing the molinas we headed back to Alcalá, played a little soccer, and now it is off to eat dinner and hit the sack. Pili told me we're having crepes tonight! The other day we told her we liked chocolate, and what do you know... today we came home to find about 9 Lindt chocolate bars in the fridge, the bowl on the table full of mini candy bars, and crepes filled with chocolate. Oh, and I can't forget that there were 2 huge bottles of chocolate syrup and caramel syrup on the counter. Pili and Fernando aim to please... and I like it.
Tomorrow it's off to Burgos! Hasta ahora