lunes de agua

I wonder, would it be true and fair to describe Spain as the home of ‘fiestas’?

Each town, each community, often has more than one day set aside each year to celebrate one thing, or another.

Perhaps none has a celebration quite as distinctive as that held in Salamanca each year. Hot on the heels of the solemn processions and religous observance over Easter comes Lunes de Agua.

Literally ‘water Monday’, the (half) day fiesta which begins in the middle of the afternoon, on the Monday which follows Easter Monday, brings everyone in the family (young and old) together to celebrate the day on which, by long-standing tradition (dating back to the reign of Felipe II) the prostitutes of this ancient University city, banished during Semana Santa from its beautiful streets and plazas, were repatriated (with pomp and circumstance) from the far side of the river Tormes by boat. The option of simply walking back across the Roman bridge which lies in the shadow of the cathedrals apparently deemed inappropriate due to the nature and terms of their employment also described as ‘living in sin’.

The students of the city did not miss this opportunity to hold a wine soaked riverside party as they took to their oars to return the banished to their place of work.

To this day students of all ages are released from their studies to celebrate this liberation, friends and family across the city seize the moment to come together and celebrate.

A slightly less salacious aspect of the day is the tradition of eating hornazo, a delicious savoury pastry that (in my view at least) is best consumed after a long walk and accompanied by a decent bottle of red.

Which brings me to my photos, taken during a walk with friends at Ganadería Herederos Angel Sánchez Sánchez in the beautiful provincial countryside just a few km outside the city.

And yes, with thanks to our kind hosts and friends, hornazo and decent red were consumed.


*all photos shot with fujifilm x100f with fixed 23mm lens (35mm full frame equivalent) developed in lightroom cc with fujifilm ‘provia’ simulation applied*

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lloviendo

i woke to the sound of rain
― sylvia plath, the bell jar

see me

the face

in the rain

see me

the fingers

on the pane

see me

before

i am

wiped

away


*one of a series of shots made in salamanca with my ancient olympus om10, with zuiko 50mm f/1.8 lens, and loaded with ilford xp2 super ISO 400 film*

out in the midday sun | 2

The second of a series of weekly essays documenting life as an Englishman living in Spain.

andy townend

2016_05_14_13478

The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.

How could a weekly blog post about the life of an Englishman living in Spain not include a reference to those words spoken by Audrey Hepburn paying the part of Eliza Doolittle in the movie My Fair Lady which in turn was based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion?

Often misquoted as ‘the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain’, or is it just me that constantly misquotes it? Probably. So much for that expensive private education and my success in English Literature examinations which included, as it happens, studying Pygmalion. But, as I said in my opening essay, I like to think my education taught me to think, not to remember things. So there you are.

Anyway, I think it is a reasonably well established fact that English people, at home and abroad, like to talk about the weather. A…

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out in the midday sun | 1

Yesterday, on my personal blog, I kicked off the first of 52 weekly essays under the general heading ‘out in the midday sun’. Each week, I will write about my experiences as an Englishman living in Spain and I will repost them here.

andy townend

For the last 52 weeks, each Thursday, I’ve been publishing a chapter in a serial story which I called dark | side | thursday. Each chapter comprised exactly 500 words (and yes, I’ve checked), usually accompanied by a photograph. Well, that story reached its climax today, although actually there was little climactic about it. At various times my story was referred to as Dickensian in scale and even, to my utter delight, a brief comparison was made to the frankly incomparable, in my view at least, Stephen King. I was also variously accused of going round in endless circles and irritating my readers with too much ambiguity, and a scantily clad plot.

The reality is that when I kicked off the project I doubted that it would last a month, never mind be completed and on time to boot. And yes, it was, both. Despite, well, despite a…

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