Dos de Mayo

At our new favourite bar. We don’t actually wear matching sunglasses – my expensive 10 Euro Ray-Bins broke so Gill wanted to try my 5 Euro replacements!

No – the post title above doesn’t refer to a tasty condiment to serve with your chips – it’s Spanish for the 2nd of May. Let me tell you a story…

Back in the 1800’s there was a very famous French shorta*se called Napoleon, who – like many short people – had ideas above his station and decided to expand the French Empire. As part of that expansion his troops rode into Spain, swaggering around, smoking their smelly Gauloises and getting grumpy because there were no runny cheeses.

When the army reached Andalucia they encountered little resistance until they arrived here – Algodonales, where I now sit composing this nonsense. The farmers and the families of what was a tiny village back then, armed themselves and held off 7000 trained soldiers for days before eventually succumbing to the superior forces. Over 300 villagers died and 70 homes were burned to the ground.

The townspeople here are very proud of their history and look down on the residents of other towns in the locality – seeing them as weaker, and collaborators with the enemy; funnily enough in much the same way as we think of the French.

What all this is leading up to, is that every year the town commemorates the date with a re-enactment of the battle. The main street is closed, temporary stockades are built, the road surface is covered with a layer of sand and at various times skirmishes between the heroic Spaniards and the dastardly onion-selling beret-wearers break out. All this can handily be observed from the numerous pop-up bars and restaurants lining the square.

We were in town yesterday evening watching the preparations; the stall-builders, the pizza oven installers, the gardeners; the civil police just standing around… The highlight for us was the pack of screaming schoolchildren rehearsing their own re-enactment, charging around with their fake muskets, staffs and cudgels. Good luck to the teachers who have to keep that lot under control! The lowlight – if there is such a thing – was the guy testing the PA on the main stage. To get a feel for it, turn your heating full up, pour a beer and try to have a conversation with your partner while somebody repeats the following 43 times in your left ear:

Hah! They may look innocent now but wait ’til you see them coming at you with fixed bayonets eek!

Hola. Hola. Hola.
HolaHolaHola
Hola. Hola. Hola.
Uno dos tres
Si. Si. Si.
SiSiSi
Hola. Hola. Hola.
HolaHolaHola
Hola. Hola. Hola.

It was driving us nuts!

It all kicks off at five o’clock this evening and continues until Sunday night so I’ll leave you with some pics of the preparations as the excitement builds up, then we’ll come back on Monday with a full report if we aren’t mistaken for French tourists and cudgeled to death. I’ve been avoiding garlic just in case.

As we’ve been sitting doing nothing for days in a free motorhome stop in the sunshine, with free services (including electricity!), a cynic might read this and think we don’t have much travel-related malarkey to write about. But you’re not a cynic, are you? ‘Course you’re not.

See you in a few days 🙂

Even white van man is welcome at the preparations
How many chairs do you need guv..?
…stacks!
Temporary stalls. Or possibly field hospitals for injured bystanders.
The main stage. Testing…testing… Uno dos tres.
We can’t wait for the big reveal – hopefully it’s a pile of pitchforks & staffs so we can join in with the brutality.

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