Three weeks ago, it was our local romeria, the Romeria de Torrijos.
We missed it this year, thanks to an impressive hangover, but today we made it to its little brother, Torrijos Chico. The destination for both events is the Hacienda de Torrijos, which dates back to Moorish times.
Whereas the main event largely consists of women dressed up in their frilly gitana frocks, astride snorting, prancing Arab steeds, at this one the fashion is more informal and country-ish (although there were a few dresses too, especially as worn by little girls – can you blame them?): long, dark-coloured skirts, Cordoban hats (flat crown, wide brim) and brown leather riding boots. Even the men had leather on their legs, in the form of chaps. Tweed, Barbours – think English horse-racing event crossed with fox-hunting meet.
The action consists of groups of friends, the same ones who dressed up in their finery for the romeria a few weeks ago, having a picnic in the same place where they celebrated in early October. Except this time it’s more casual, apparently. For which, read another excuse for another party. This is Andalucia, after all.
They obviously can’t bear the fact that after the main romeria, they have to wait a whole year for another major shindig, so they just do it all again, on a slightly less grand scale, a few weeks later.
I’m not sure if I’m impressed by their stamina or surprised by their extravagance. But then, I guess hard times call for desperate measures – everyone needs to forget their dire economic situation and have an afternoon of eating, drinking and dancing in the autumn sunshine with their friends and family. Or two. Sounds fair enough to me.
In addition to a couple of the achingly pretty carretas (arched Wild-West style caravans which dominate big Torrijos), we saw carriages (carruajes), ranging from one made from the rear end of a car, to mini carts (carros), to a grand hansom-and-four. Mules, oxen, tiny ponies and gleaming throughbreds made appearances. As always, all ages were represented, with lots of children driving, and riding in, the carts and wagons.
It’s not an Andalucian fiesta without some dancing – these little girls kept the side up. ¡Hasta la proxima!