Monday, May 24, 2010

My 21st Birthday and Feria!

My birthday weekend just so happened to fall on the same weekend as Córdoba’s Feria this year, and I must say, Córdoba knows how to throw one hell of a party. On midnight the 22nd, we all gathered to watch as the Feria structure (shown below) and the fireworks over the river lit up the night sky. And yes, I’ll admit, I secretly pretended all of this was in celebration of my 21st birthday (a girl can dream).

Feria in Córdoba lasts from the 21st until next Sunday, and it’s essentially Romería on steroids. All of the major city groups, such as political parties, social organizations, the policemen, the firemen, etc., all host their own casetas. These casetas span at least a mile in diameter, and of course, heavy drinking is involved. However, it isn’t aggressive drinking; most people will start at dinnertime and slowly drink towards drunkenness until about 5 or 6 in the morning. And the adults aren’t the only people that stay out late. The first night of Feria, we walked home at 3:30 in the morning, and small children were still on the street, walking hand-in-hand with parents or siblings or being carted around half-dead in strollers. Partying hard isn’t an option during Feria: it’s an obligation.

Still, drinking in the casetas isn’t the only thing you can do. That same night, two of my friends and I decided we wanted to ride the Ferris wheel (yes, a full carnival is included at the Feria celebration). We walked right up to the round, neon structure, bought tickets and hopped on, waiting for the view of the city that was sure to come. However, this Ferris wheel was not your typical Ferris wheel. No, this was the FASTEST Ferris wheel in the WORLD (I’m almost positive of it). While the view from the top was absolutely gorgeous, the ride was a little unnerving. I don’t know how many times I almost barfed because every single time we came to the rounding at the top of the wheel, it felt like my stomach was about to fall out of my butt. Still, it was such a great way to start off my birthday celebrations, along with, well, the late-night chocolate con churros and chicken kebab that came after to end the night.

And the following night, the celebration continued. My wonderful friends took me out for a tapas dinner where I’m pretty sure we consumed all ordered food within 7 minutes of the plates reaching the table. We then made our way to Feria for a few drinks and some dancing, and we ended the night in Sojo, a very chic club that overlooks Feria from the opposite side of the river. It was all very low-keyed, and I came away a little drunk with a henna tattoo and a big block of chocolate rice krispies (which were meant to serve as my birthday cake). All in all, I’d say Spain in the spring was a pretty great birthday venue.

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