travel back in time

Sunday 12th September, Madrid, Spain

Man do these crazy Spanish know how to party! I'd read a book recently, written by an English couple who had moved to Spain. "That the Spanish love to party was something we'd already discovered... There are so many fiestas in Spain that the coloured lights and bunting have barely come down from one when preparations start for the next. Every new area had its own variety of local festivals to add to national and regional days. If we'd mapped out our journey carefully, we could have crossed Spain without alighting anywhere that wasn't enjoying a day off!" Well last week I had the chance to see this for myself, not that it was really my first fiesta, but it was my biggest! On Wednesday night Maria's Uncle's partner Juan drove us to his home town of Andorra, in the north of Spain, for the town's annual fiesta. We arrived at ten o'clock at night, just in time for dinner and to join in the festivities, which at that early hour were just firing up... literally! Men carrying frameworks covered in firecrackers chased the crowd from one end of town to the other.

.

Not bad enough that these maniacs roam the streets showering everyone with sparks, but they also drop deadly fireworks onto the street as they pass. These little bombs whizz around at the speed of light, leaping up to twenty feet in the air, them unpredicatably hurtling towards the nearest group of bystanders. The red cross was waiting at the end of the street to treat the inevitable injuries.

Maria watched the mayhem from the safety of a streetside bar, bar policy was that when one of these pyromaniacs was in the vicinity, noone entered or left the bar, for fear that a white hot missile would find its way through the open door and into the densely crowded room. This happened once, I was told, and the outcome wasn't pretty. I wanted to get some good photos, so took my chances outside. Across the street a young woman shrieked as a firecracker seared through the leg of her trousers and into her flesh. Moments later, the guy next to me burst into flame as an invisible cracker embedded itself into his sweatshirt. Luckily a few of his mates put him out before any real damage was done.

.

After the insanity subsided, Maria and Juan and I, along with a group of newfound friends, wandered the sidestreets of Andorra. Everywhere we went, there was music and partying as residents had converted their garages into makeshift little backstreet bars. The beer was free for all, which was great, but the night took a sudden swerve when we discovered a bar that was also happily dishing out free tequila slammers.....

.

There was actually some running with the bulls, but it didn't start till six in the morning, and the morning light was too dim for me to get any clear photos. *That's my excuse* We retired to a bar and saw the new day in by dipping fried churros into a cup of melted chocolate.