I’m not even sure how to begin this blog post because I don’t think I can provide a…suitable? accurate? fitting? description of what I experienced this Saturday. All I know is that I haven’t had that much fun…possibly ever. But here’s my best attempt at the impossible.
This Saturday we traveled to Cañete de las Torres, a pueblo about an hour outside of Córdoba, to take part in La Romería. And I’ll be honest; a lot of what happened is a bit of a blur because we started drinking at 9 o’clock… in the morning.
The bus ride there was exhilarating. We had all woken up disgustingly early to do our hair and makeup (if you were a girl), to get into the outfits we borrowed from PRESHCO specifically for this occasion and Feria (which begins next weekend), and to get to the bus stop at 8 AM (what an ungodly hour!). No one could stop smiling. No one could wait to get there. And no one really knew what they were getting themselves into.
Once on the bus, we started to realize what was coming when Encarni began handing out packages of wet napkins. My roommate, upon receiving hers, asked, “Wait…they don’t have bathrooms there?” Encarni just looked at her and laughed saying, “No, cariña, there are no bathrooms during el camino (the walk).” My roommate and I looked at each other, half amused half terrified, and decided that it would just be best to not worry about it until we had to.
Once we finally arrived in Cañete, the camino began as we (and everyone else dressed for the occasion) paraded through the streets of the pueblo, boasting outfits that well, as you can see from the pictures below, were based around the following themes: bright colors, polka dots, ruffles, flowers and pretty much anything else loud that screamed “Hey! Look at me!”
Then, after every person in town had his or her fair share of flaunting such attire, our journey through the campo (the countryside) began.
Now picture this:
Over 700 hundred people, following a statue of San Isidro down a deserted country road, wearing such attire as shown below, stopping every so often to pee on an olive tree, passing tapas and (more) beer through the street every hour or so, continuously drinking and smoking and laughing.
All of this merriment then went on for about…2 hours or so I would say, and until finally, just at the bottom of the final hill, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
As we approached the casetas (which were pretty much tents set up for each family/group that attended La Romería), we all drunkenly staggered to our respective tent. The PRESHCO caseta was lined with green paper lanterns. Three long tables filled with various tapas stood waiting just under the white tarp, and yes, our very own full-service bar was included in this wonderful, festive package. From that point on, we drank sangria, beer and this white wine drink (phenomenal) while eating tapas, laughing at each other’s clothing and dancing sevillanas somewhat successfully for a good part of the afternoon.
At one hilarious point during all of this, my friends and I decided we had to go to the bathroom. Now, while there were civilization’s porta-potties at the event, we opted for the more natural of choices and chose to do as the Spanish do. We walked out of the caseta and instead of making the first right that led to the plastic, toilet death traps, we proudly pranced towards the campo. Laughing hysterically, we ran through the olive trees, a roll of toilet paper in hand (yes, we come prepared) and yes, Mom, there in the middle of the Spanish campo, we squatted down and let loose. And no, we weren’t alone in doing so because about 10 trees down, about 7 other people had had the same idea we did.
Overall (and after our group field trip to the natural toilets of the campo), the rest of the day was just filled with yes, more drinking, paella, visiting other casetas, dancing and taking absolutely ridiculous photos that most of us today don’t even remember taking. All in all, I think it was a very successful cultural experience because yesterday, we definitely did as the Spanish do (aka drank copious amounts of alcohol, ate so much jamón iberico that I’m surprised I’m not a ham at this very moment, danced sevillanas, wore the get ups, and yes, peed in the campo).
And no, we didn’t have to walk the 4 miles back to Cañete, thank God. A bus came to pick us up, and we returned to Córdoba by 4 pm. Then, I napped, got up to eat dinner, went back to sleep and now, here I am, happy as a clam ☺.
Thank God Spanish fiestas.