Castillo San Marcos

Castillo San Marcos
13th-century castle, El Puerto de Santa Maria. That WAS our house to the left and behind the tree!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Bad Feriante

A strong start at the Sevilla feria (it went downhill from there)

What I WANTED to do this feria season!  Oh well, there's always next year...

This year I definitively lost my feriante crown, lured by the excitement of a Spanish-American wedding on the East Coast (our friends Ignacio and Mati have a bicultural son, Alejandro, who was an U.S. Army Ranger and is now a offensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers, for his story see this link!). 

The happy couple (for comparison's sake, Maddy the bride is over 6 ft. tall)
Set, as many weddings are, in the spring month of May, it overlapped perfectly with the Puerto feria, my favorite.   Decisions, decisions!  Friendship trumped showing off to the music of bulerias, and we also had the added bonus of meeting Suzi and Ethan in D.C. for this most memorable of wedding events—the meshing of American and Spanish cultures and families!

What I missed: The portada or entrance gate of the Puerto feria.   ¡Óle Toro!

Nevertheless, we had a smashingly successful pre-feria fiesta in our palace, complete with farolillos that turned our interior patio into a mini-caseta.  Thanks to the skill of Enrique (the cantaor) and Jesule (the guitarrista), our courtyard became a swirl of dancing and clapping for several hours. 

A caseta inside our courtyard!

Spooling up for feria

Dancing the sevillanas

A whirl of dancing and fun

Jesule and Enrique with some buenas feriantes

Tia takes center stage

And before flying off to D.C. we did hit the Rota feria with my cousins Stephan and Kristen, who had come to visit during the month of May.  Perfect timing for them, too!  

Feigning a fight in the sevillanas

And the best was dancing the sevillanas with the 15 or so people I’d taught over the last few months—teaching is in my blood, I guess, and I got an extra kick out of sharing this wonderful dance with first-time feria goers as well as those who’d always wanted to learn the sevillanas (Brent and Lynn!!).

Lynn dancing the sevillanas!!  

¡Óle tu, Brent!

Bouquet of beauties
The wedding was an all-weekend event; we were very courteously invited to the rehearsal dinner at bride Maddy’s parents’ house, a gorgeous place alongside the Chesapeake Bay.  

Fun on the Chesapeake

Post-party ops at the hotel
The main event was celebrated at a lovely church, American-style with bridesmaids and Spanish-style with selected readings in Spanish.  The reception rocked the house in a nearby winery, the newlyweds cutting the rug on their first dance that initiated a non-stop, beautifully organized party for the next 5 hours.  

With the bride, Paloma and Carmen (sisters of the groom), and the ever-present Angeline

Fun with my sister

I of course had to make up for lost feria time by organizing a special bulerias routine with the Spanish contingent at the reception.  It got a little lost in the shuffle, but hey, ¡buen intento!

Bulerias in America

Back in Puerto, we were in time to catch the Jerez feria, although the heat kept me out of the feria dresses.   Tia and Sasha were big hits with the Jerezanos!

Click here to see Tia and Sasha dance

Jerez is the best

Family selfie

Stephan and Kristen were the ultimate perfect houseguests—super easy, extra enthusiastic, great fun to share this beautiful country with, and game for just about anything.  

Riding around in Jerez

Cousin Stephan and Kristen take in the feria

Kristen makes a beautiful feriante!

We traveled to Algodonales to see the re-enactment of the 2 de mayo battle in Algodonales, an event in which our friend Alberto is dressed up, as are many of the Algodonales villagers, as either French soldiers or 19th-century village rebels. 

My friend Alberto as a Frenchie

Ready to fight

Here comes the French army!!
Click here to see the battle!

And we also took them north to the countryside of Alburquerque, to our familiar hotel rural with its chozos and a horsebackride around the lake, and then off to the spa at Alange outside of Merida, where the radioactive waters have been recognized for decades as a healing source.  My greatest regret is a lack of battery power for my camera as Todd and Stephan got facials, complete with shower caps! 

The old Roman wall of the Alange balneario

We ended up the feria season in Sanlúcar as usual, dancing the night away in this center-of-the-city feria.  Next year will be my last feria season for a while, and I’m determined to regain my crown!

Ignacio and Mati in full feria mode

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