Friday, May 15th, San Isidro in Nerja. Clear skies, sunny with a slight breeze, hot but not uncomfortably or unbearably so.
Having ridden on horseback a few times in the parade, sat on the back of a float once and walked the entire procession route on numerous occasions, time for something different. The bus.
Well, to be honest, it wasn’t exactly a choice, more a case of need. Running a little behind schedule, I didn’t fancy sprinting up the hill in the heat in an effort to catch the tail of the snake.
There seemed to be far more people ‘settled in’ along the route this year as opposed to people just standing and watching. Family gatherings, with tables full of food and drink and people taking their little chairs were the order of the day. The Nerja Club Hotel and Los Arcos put on barbecues and both were packed out.
This year was the first time that participants were handed a printed list of rules, regulations and guidelines. Recipe for disaster. By all accounts, after handing out these leaflets, the local police seemed to think their job was done and there were one or two minor snafu’s.
The ox carts were at the front of the procession this time, normally it is the horses. The oxen, although magnificent beasts, are not amongst the swiftest animals on the planet, probably just ahead of the snail, and, not being given a head start (like a day!), there were frequent stops and long periods of waiting.
On the subject of animals, there were a lot less horses and oxen this year, maybe fifty percent less than normal. Not that it had much effect, the procession still took about three hours to pass by. When the head of the snake arrived at the caves, the tail was still between the Parador and Burriana roundabouts.
Ironic, by the way, that on the day that the new safety regulations came into force for motorcyclists, regarding helmets, it was a day when the majority of drivers in the procession had one hand on the steering wheel and the other on their glass of beer or rum and coke.
Arriving at the caves, I waited for the first arrivals, and it didn’t take too long. A few horsemen had managed to get past the oxen and cantered up the hill, much to the delight of the waiting crowd. There’s always someone showing off.
And so the party got into full swing. There were barbecues and picnics all over the place, plenty of food stalls and, naturally, plenty of liquid refreshment available.
Both of the main political parties had their bars. The IU, you may remember, were allocated an unsuitable corner full of pine trees and, rather miffed by what they considered to be discrimination, didn’t participate.
Incidentally, if attendance in these bars was any sort of indication of voting preferences, I’d say the PP are in for another term, but without an overall majority, and the IU, as they were at the site, will be nowhere to be seen.
The dance floors were heaving (as were a few of the dancers on occasion!), the music was pumping out and everyone was having a great time. Just the way it should be.
There was quite a heavy police presence in the evening, keeping an eye on things, and succeeding in preventing any ‘over exuberance’. A couple of minor incidents, but nothing a stomach pump or a couple of stitches couldn’t cure so you would have to say it was trouble-free, which is not always the case elsewhere these days.
On the way back, by bus again, even the driver was into the full swing of ‘fiesta’, laughing and joking with passengers, babbling at thirty to the dozen and joining in the spirit when a Spanish guy took take to the aisle and performed the ‘airhostess routine’.
Must say, a great fiesta, one of the best on the calendar as usual….More Pictures….