This weekend’s our first “PUENTE” or BREAK and tomorrow is the officially a day dubbed La Fiesta de Andalucia. A break much needed to have some time to explore our home town! Since I typically don’t have class on Fridays this has been more than an extended weekend for me. Thursday evening-Sunday free is a typical weekend but because of Puente we were given 2 more full days to disfrutar! Classes resume on Wednesday and continue through Thursday, and Friday, like most weeks we have classes off again:)

To fully take advantage (aprovechar) the time we’ve been given 6 of us made plans to attend Carnaval 2012 in the Andalusian city of Cadiz, por supuesto. Our bus was scheduled to leave Granada at 11:30h in the afternoon at a nearby hotspot for young Spaniards, called the Botellon, and arrive approximately 4 hours later in Cadiz after a 30 minute rest stop half way through the trip. On Sunday our bus was scheduled to leave Cadiz at 6h exactamente por la madrugada to return to Granada, ida y vuelta por solamente 17 euros. And yes, you are thinking logically now that you’re asking yourself, so…when do you sleep? It is exactly what you’re thinking. You don’t! If you choose to rent a room in a hostel or hotel for the evening you’re making a mistake in more ways than one. 1) You’re wasting your money. 2) You’ll be missing the party! Hundreds of buses are organized for each weekend of the Carnaval festival to bring people to enjoy the day and into the early morning hours. The masses are literally outside all day long and all night long! The party does not stop and if you’re not prepared for it, it’s a little hard to keep it!

Let’s just say, Carnaval was an experience! For many it’s an experience already forgotten, but for me one it’s definitely the opposite. So much transpired that it’s hard to literally document every single detail, a task that I am not trying to take on today. I have decided instead to go the route where I give you some educational and historical background on the event, very beneficial to know the origin and understand WHY this happens annually! Basically every PARTY in Spain has a purpose, which always make the get together all the more fun. I knew that I would literally want to document every moment of an experience like this but unfortunately about a week and a half ago my Coolpix handheld camera dropped off of the table while I was eating lunch at home and is suffering an irreparable lens error. -_-. Entonces, when I wanted to take a picture and capture a sight in the city, I took complete control of my friend Anna Marie's camera. Lucky for me, I was in charge of it and I held onto it virtually the netire time. Sometimes I don't know what to do with myself if I don't have a camera in hand!

CARNAVAL:

Carnival is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.
Carnival is a festival traditionally held in Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox societies.

Andalusia
 In Cádiz the costumes worn are often related to recent news, such as the bird flu epidemic in 2006, during which many people were disguised as chickens. The feeling of this Carnival is the sharp criticism, the funny play on words and the imagination in the costumes, more than the glamorous dressings. It is traditional to paint the face with lipstick as a humble substitute of a mask.
The most famous groups are the chirigotas, choirs and comparsas. The chirigotas are well known witty, satiric popular groups who sing about politics, new times and household topics, wearing the same costume, which they train for the whole year. The Choirs (coros) are wider groups that go on open carts through the streets singing with a little orchestra of guitars and lutes. Their characteristic composition is the "Carnival Tango", and they alternate comical and serious repertory. The comparsas are the serious counterpart of the chirigota in Cádiz, and the poetical lyrics and the criticism are their main ingredients. They have a more elaborated polyphony, being easily recognizable by the typical countertenorvoice.


----THANK YOU WIKIPEDIA, FOR MAKING THAT SO EASY ;P

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Honest, ours/everyones costumes say a lot! If there was one word that I would without a doubt use to describe this festival it would be CREATIVITY. What surprised me the most was the creativity of the Spaniards and of course the Europeans, Americans, and people from all over the world too. There were elaborate costumes in every corner. People with disfraces of American series and television shows that I haven’t even seen costumes of in the United States at costume parties! (Chris aka Spiderman, not pictured! And with Tracey a new friend from France also studying in Granada.)


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The people are all incredibly friendly and since everyone’s congregated in general areas to fully experience the masses of Carnaval, typically Plaza San Antonio y the Plaza with the enormous Catedral. I have been informed that Cadiz is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. Because of all of the chaos and mischievenous that takes place during this week long celebration of Carnaval, I was advised not to go, so as to not have to see the streets of Cadiz in this state! In hindsight one thing that I don’t understand is why people would party and essentially trash the area surrounding and leading into a Catedral. There were so many people around and there was so much constantly going on. Once we found the center of the Carnaval party, we were most content! (Me pictured facing the cathedral. Not even 1/3 of the madness in this specific location in front of the Catedral OR 1/8 or 10th possibly of the madness that is Carnaval!)


I  also located a Ceverceria 100 Montaditos, conveniently located at the corner of the plaza of the Catedral. When I saw it out of the corner of my eye I was so ecstatic. My pointer finger practically shot out of my arm pointing in the direction of the restaurant as I shouted the name outloud! I’ve been looking to reunite with one of these amazingly cheap and delicious restaurants since returning to Spain! (There are none in Granada and I only happened to see one in passing in Sevilla.) In the end, Carnaval really wasn’t what I expected it to be. It started off nowhere near desirable for the activities we wanted to engage in. Since we had to take care of some people right when we got there it did put a little damper on things to start but I’ll admit it did get better. Fortunately, we got to meet, converse, laugh, dance, take pictures with, take as much advantage of the night and day as we could possibly handle, and be crazy with many Spaniards from all over, Americans, and some French people too! A great portion of the viaje borato a Cadiz, was the view of the beach in the moonlight. The stars were spread across the sky. We made a point to get as close to the water as possible and feel the sand on our shoes and toes; some people waded in! By the end of the trip we had made many friends with more students studying abroad in Granada, some Erasmus students, and others local Granadinas. This means now we have more connections in this beautiful city!

 My rating or final thoughts on Carnaval 2012 in Cadiz? Longest. Night. Ever. (We may or may not have been counting down the hours…and we started as soon as we arrived in the coastal city. When we got back onto the bus we were pretty exhausted, cold, and sleepy!)
 


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