Spanish villages or "pueblos" represent a lot more here than just a speck on the Spanish map. Spending the weekend in the "pueblo" is an integral piece of the Spanish way of life. Nearly every Spaniard I know has a pueblo or two, which are the little villages that their parents or grandparents originally came from. 50+ years ago the pueblos, although small, were full of families who lived their year-round. A lot has changed in the last half of a century or so and most of those families have moved into bigger cities for job opportunities, better education and convenience factors. However, Spanish people still make a means to stick to their roots, and many Spanish families spend nearly every weekend and a large portion of their summer vacation in the pueblos where they originally came from.
Although the word "pueblo" is used loosely here in Spain, in general it means a small town with anywhere from a 10 to a couple hundred houses in an isolated area of Spain. Pueblos are in every region in every corner or Spain. Because Spain is an older country, the concept of "suburbs" never fully developed here. Although now the suburb equivalent of "urbanizaciónes" are sprouting here and there, the majority of Spain is either big city or pueblos. Every weekend, Spanish families pack up and head out to their pueblo for a couple days. Some families have a short 30 minute drive to their pueblo, and others make 4+ hour journeys, it all depends about how far you've strayed from your family roots. This idea of heading to the pueblo for the weekend is something I would compare to Minnesotan cabin culture, except for the fact that pueblos usually aren't on lakes.
I was lucky enough to be invited by my Spanish friend, Isabel, to spend the weekend in the pueblo with her family. I was extra lucky because she invited me to come on a special weekend for her pueblo, to celebrate the patron saint "San Pedro" of Burgos, the region where her pueblo is. In this case, the "pueblo" is her father's village, and he and his family of 10 lived there until he was 14 years old. Although he and his eight brothers and sisters have spread out a bit now, many of them reunite for weekends in the pueblo.
|La Pineda de la Sierra|
After breakfast on Saturday morning, we went to mass with the rest of the village. Usually the mass on "San Pedro" weekend is held out doors but unfortunately it was raining. I have to say, it's the first time I've ever seen a church packed with people for a mass, but I think it was because it's really more of a social event for the people of the village. After mass, everyone is given a GIANT sandwich filled with tuna, anchovies and roasted red pepper on olive oil bread, which is traditional to eat on San Pedro. We took the sandwiches back to the chamizo and ate them with the rest of Isabel's friends. Soon after, the drinking festivities began. Isabel recommended that we save the drinking for later considering the party would last until morning hours, and it was only 2pm at this point. We spent the afternoon in the chamizo playing games and watching some of the younger kids (15, 16, 17 year-olds) drink lots of alcohol, which apparently in the village is totally acceptable. Later in the afternoon, we went up to a bar that's a short 5 minute drive away and further up the mountain. At this point, the younger kids were all sufficiently drunk and finally got the courage to talk to me in English, which was pretty funny because up until this point it was all Spanish. Their English was a little rough, but I was glad they tried. After a drink at that bar, we headed back into the village to go to the two bars there. I met some of the adults of the village who were very friendly to me. Isabel told me it's not common to have an outsider in the village, let alone an American, so naturally I attracted attention wherever I went.
Around 10 o'clock we went back to Isabel's house and prepared dinner. In typical Spanish fashion, dinner was served at around 11 at the aunt and uncles house with about 15 family members. After a delicious dinner of mussels, wild mushrooms, rabbit and cured ham, everyone headed back to the main plaza of the village for the "disco mobil" which is basically a truck that converts into a stage for two live DJs. Luckily the rain had stopped by then, but the weather was still freezing so everyone had their winter jackets on. The whole town was there (children included, even though it was after midnight) to dance to the music. The type of music is what I would imagine Spanish wedding reception music is like considering they were songs every generation seemed to know and most of them had specific dance moves that coordinated with the song (including doing the "electric slide" to a translated version of "Achey-Breaky Heart" haha). They played music from 12-3am, then there was an hour-long break, and more music again from 4-6am. I'll admit, there was a point around 4am that I thought about calling it a night, but I was determined to stay awake with the rest of the Spaniards! Most of the adults and young children didn't come back for round two of the disco mobil, but the jóvenes were going strong! After the disco mobil ended, the party continued in the chamizo with lights, music and dancing. Finally, around 7am, the sun was up and Isabel and I called it a night. Others stayed out to 9am. I don't know how they do it! The way Spaniards celebrate and party here is inhuman to me. Although it was fun to do it for a night, I much prefer the American party schedule.
|Dancing at the Disco Mobil|
P.S. I'm very behind on my blog entries! Coming soon: Basque Country, Champions League Final and Top Chef BBQ