As I wrote this blog from my shared, six bedroom flat (or as I like to call it, ‘The Palace’), all I could hear was the loud bass of an old Volkswagen that’s livelier than me after several Red Bulls … It could mean only one thing … CARNIVAL!
I’m currently living in the Spanish city of Palencia in Castile and Leon … that's correct, Palencia with a ‘P’ … Needless to say, before coming here, I had never heard of the city. Whilst the city is small and at times a little quiet, the people are very friendly. Working at a language school means that I know the faces of hundreds of students. A trip to the supermarket therefore often involves numerous stops for conversations. Nevertheless when Carnival arrived I had my doubts. Would Carnival in a small city really be as fun as it would be in for example Madrid? The answer … YES!
The morning of Carnival I arranged to meet up with my friends to buy our costumes for the evening’s celebrations. The tradition of dressing up is typical across all the country during Carnival, with people of all ages putting in the effort to wear a costume. I witnessed crazy frogs, princesses, men dressed as women … the typical … My friends however, had chosen the theme of knights and warriors. Being the only Englishmen amongst a group of Spaniards however, I decided to go against the theme … I decided that I would fully immerse myself in Spanish culture … I would become … ‘The Matador’! A 'matador' in Spanish is a bull fighter.
Before meeting with my friends I put on my costume and felt slightly embarrassed, but excited … an Englishman dressed as a Matador … what could go wrong? The fun started when I met with my friends in our usual place. As my friends decided amongst themselves where we were going, I noticed that a few of them had suspicious smiles on their faces. It took me too long to realise that they were talking about me. Before I had time to escape they came for me and lifted me onto their shoulders. The rest is history. I was paraded down the High Street to shouts of ‘matador … matador … matador …’, struggling on the shoulders of my friends. Needless to say numerous students saw me. Despite being overwhelmed with embarrassment, I could not help but laugh … after all, I chose the costume …
Do you celebrate carnival? Do you like wearing fancy dress? What have you dressed up as?