Relentless Celebrations!

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One would think the ‘Thirty Year War’ with France had ended this weekend, rather than in 1638!! I am of course, totally jealous of this national enthusiasm and positive energy and savoring every moment. The Basque people are well known for their strong independent streak within Spain and in fact, regard themselves as Basque, not Spanish! That explains the fervor of this week’s celebrations! …. And how they love a good celebration! …. The streets were full to brimming all day yesterday … much of the pomp and circumstance portion was in the town square outside my parador window, allowing for good views of the square below ….. Politicians and beauty queens (yes, there is a festival queen for this celebration together with all her princesses) in full military regalia, astride very calm horses, postured for posterity, drummers drummed, flutists fluted, marchers marched, children laughed and played, drinkers drank, pipers piped, street buskers busked …. red and white were the colors of the day so, what the heck, I joined in, buying myself a rather dapper basque red cap, beads, scarf and espadrilles from a street vendor …. good fun day! …. Wish we had more of this patriotic kind of stuff in Canada instead of our rather somber, staid televised Ottawa celebrations on Canada Day for instance (although Stampede in Calgary qualifies to some degree, I suppose, but hmmmm, on reflection, not even a close candidate …. or even in the same ball park …. ) …. we lack the history for starters, being such a mishmash of cultures and heritage ….. tending more towards apology for our Canadian heritage than we are braggingly (gasp!) patriotic about it …. in all honesty, celebrating the victory of a war almost 400 years ago had probably less to do with winning that war, than it did with the Basque sense of pride and independence in general, and the love of ritual, tradition and a great party week with family and friends ….. happy little musings as I sit at my favorite outdoor town square cafe, peace and quiet once again restored, enjoying a glass of a local favorite drink, txakoli (a type of green/white wine that I have grown quite fond of) accompanied by a bowl of unbelievably delicious green olives…. and what is that?? …… a French croissant??? Lol … I scarfed the croissant before I took the picture 🙂 All in all, a great week here in northern Spain, as I nurse my sore little feet ….. barefoot runners and the Camino … like oil and water …. still, oh so glad I did put feet to trail …. I figure, at 10 km a day …. I will generously allow myself lots of time, stretched out over this decade to complete the pilgrimage …. works for me 🙂

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