After resting most of the day :P I packed for out trip to J's grandparent's house in Cebolla (a village about an hour north of Madrid). Wow, it's incredible how different one place can be from another only a short drive away. This was definitely a low-key type of place. Even C and J were doing their best to not hype it up saying "you really don't even have to come, it's not special at all." But, in all honesty when else am I going to have the chance to visit a real Spanish village with a big Spanish family? Not in my near future, so I said why not?! I'm glad I did.
If you could imagine a typical "old Spanish house", this place would come to mind. Picture large doors that are opened by a key that resembles that of an ancient castle. (I snuck a pic and attached it below). I was greeted by J's whole family, the siblings I met in Murcia plus his parents and another sister. C refers to J's mom as the "mother hen". She prepared the entire dinner by herself and after the children ate, we set a new table for us adults and began to eat. First was a small serving of vegetables with oil, followed by a salad made up of tuna, tomatoes, olives, onions, etc., which is a typical "country Spanish dish." We all talked and laughed, I tried my best to speak in Spanish, which I am improving day by day, but once they get going speaking amongst each other I get pretty lost.
After dinner, they asked me if I wanted to accompany them to the village festival. Apparently every village in Spain holds a festival one weekend (usually in the summer). Cebolla's festival was not until September, and so it is common for people to hop around to their neighboring town's "fiesta" throughout the summer. Anyway I said most definitely and got changed and we were on our way. C was the designated driver but she wasn't too bummed. She's the type to dance like nobody's watching-even without alcohol.
I didn't really know what to expect, and it was definitely a new experience. There were vendors selling everything from jewelry to handbags to children's toys. Food trucks also filled the street. There were go karts and a carousel. There was a deli with a large group of teens hanging out outside. The fam informed me that the kids all get alcohol from here, get drunk, and then wander to the stage area later on. Everyone (especially the teenage girls) were dressed to the nines, some even rockin stilettos. It's interesting because here it is sooooo different from what I'm used to back home. We can go out anytime and options are endless, plus we have the greatest city in the world at our fingertips. Here, it is a village! A small town with 1 supermarket, 1 bar, 1 post office.... You get the idea. So this festival is actually the highlight of the summer for its residents.
We walked to the main square, which has a bar and tables set up, as well as a large stage for the night's performances. We walked through the crowd and made our way to the bar. Here, I was introduced to more of J's family members. When J asked me what I wanted to drink I paused to consider my response. I wasn't really in the mood for beer and I wasn't about to ask for a mojito or a margarita (it was a pub for cryin out loud) so I said I'll have a vodka tonic. J seemed very confused. Not as confused as the bartender. Apparently "gin and tonic" is quite common here, and "vodka orange" too, but vodka con tonica??? I'm not sure what he said but he had to clarify a few times. Anyway.... I got my vodka tonic and was then ready to enjoy the festival. Spanish singers graced the stage, first beginning with some 70's American music, followed by today's popular Spanish tunes. I continued to practice my Spanish with the fam and enjoyed listening to the entertainment. At about 4/4:30 a.m we decided to call it a night. We went to a French fry vendor and ordered some patatas fritas before heading to the car.
The place was still packed when we were leaving, and there were actually some people just arriving. I was told that most people stay at the festival all night and the most daring (a.k.a most intoxicated ) run with the bulls at about 7 a.m. J told me him and his friends have done that a few times in their younger days haha. Is it crazy that the thought of trying this "real Spanish experience" actually entered my mind? Well, I quickly came to my senses. :D I read the news way too much and have read about way too many horror stories to be involved in that. Though it still sounds really damn exciting!