Festa de Carme, Camarinas

Fri 20 Jul 2012 18:18
43:07.92N 09:10.44W

Another superb day sail brought us around the headland to Camarinas, and here we stayed, because....

Well, what would you want in a place? Good anchorage, shelter from the winds, beautiful beach, handy village for provisions and a beer, lovely scenery..... that about it? Camarinas has all that and more. 

I knew we should have left A Coruna sooner - it turns out we'd missed 3 days of a five day festival!

We tied up our dinghy in the marina, next to the fishing harbour, where all the boats were dressed with signal flags and greenery

and as soon as we got through the gate we were greeted by "Bob Esponga" 

we were in the middle of a fun fair - dodge-ums, chair-a-planes, hit the card with your darts.. the lot. Funfairs are funfairs the world over, with living vans and washing out, around the back, and big brothers watching little sisters and babes sat in prams out front, but as we walked through to the town the candy floss and chocolate nuts were replaced by stalls selling cocktails and Empanada (sort of Spanish pasty, the pastry's just flour, olive oil and white wine!). There were wood carving stalls, and little intricate models of fishing boats, beautifully made, along side local lace and jewellery stalls. Wondering past us were knights in chain mail, and their squires in hose and jerkins. There were birds of prey and ... yes... camels! Along with about 20 donkeys for the kids to ride.

We saw a poster which said some bands were going to be playing that night, and indeed, there had been a big events lorry seemingly stuck at one end of the street that runs the length of the sea front so it was clear preparations were in progress. I didn't realise the half of it though... four huge events trucks came to one end of the road, they parked one sideways across the street and used it for the basis (if you looked underneath you could see it was still in there somewhere) for a HUGE stage - about the size of the Jazz field stage (Oops, World Stage isn't it now?) at Glastonbury. It was huge, with massive screens all down each side and a big screen at the back of it, and platforms that rose up and swung out over the heads of the audience... and, at the other end of the street, another huge truck did the same thing. A second stage, facing the first, again with massive screens and rotating platforms etc...

It's only a small town, not as big as, say, Bridport, with no big town square, so they created one by blocking off each end of the street and clearing all the parked cars etc, using the width of the promenade as well.

The music didn't start until 11.30 and we were sleepy by then, sitting talking in the boat club with some cruising folk we had met in Gijon, but the wall of sound that hit us soon woke us up! It was the kind where, if you stand still, you can feel your clothes vibrate against you with each note of the bass. And it was great! Not just a band, I don't think I've seen people work so hard to entertain us for a long time - the set was 2 hours long and I swear they danced every minute of it, with a costume change every 10 or 15 minutes too - a real extravaganza!  Oh, and Ollie - the trumpet players! Not only did they play some mean trumpet but you should have seen the hip wriggling they had on them! They also came down (mostly they were perched on top of this big glass fronted box the drummer was inside) and joined in the fully choreographed dancing when they weren't required on trumpet duty!

It was such fun. We danced our hearts out and our legs sore. And the spanish did that lovely thing, where, whenever the music allowed it, they danced together, properly - you know, Señor with his hand on her waist, Señora with a hand on his shoulder. You could tell the long married couples by the way their bodies knew just where the other was about to move to, how their feet fell into the rhythm and moved synchrony. We joined in, not very good but loving every minute, and got some smiles from those around us when we reverted to our regular style of festival dancing. Everyone i the town was there, from toddlers perched on shoulders, self conscious teenagers, through to the old folks, sat nodding in time to the music on the benches. And when the set ended, everyone turned around, and the stage at the other end of the street fired into life, and my goodness, what a show! They had found an amazingly talented African trapeze artist who performed incredible feats along side the music. In fact, the music wasn't quite as good with this band, but the show was even more spectacular. One that sticks my mind was where a girl was singing on the stage below three men, who were doing trapeze on ribbons, forming a triangle above her head. It was beautiful. 

At about four am we found our way back to the dinghy (we'd been a bit worried that the marina would be closed and we'd not be able to get to it) and headed out in the darkness to our boat. Above there were breaks in the cloud that showed, far far above, snatches of stars. Our ears were still ringing from the music and our heads still filled with the fantastic spectacle we'd been seeing. That was when we realised we'd not been back since finding out there's be a show on and so the anchor light wasn't on... we were looking for a dark boat, somewhere in a dark bay, on a dark sea, under a moonless sky... but we found her - good job her hull is white!

The next day started a little late, and we felt the beach might be a good idea, so we headed there and found that, after dancing all night, the rest of the town agreed with us. They were all there, some with folding chairs and trestle tables for the family, most with just a couple of towels to sit on. And they were having a barbecue. For the whole town. For free. Great big racks of plump sardines, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and cooked over charcoal, served with a handful of potato and onion and a chunk of local bread and an earthenware mug of local white wine- delicious!  The youngsters put on traditional dress, mums tying ribbons, brushing hair, and danced to superb Celtic music - bagpipes and drums and accordion. Everyone simply relaxed in the sunshine with the good food, good wine, good music and good company. They know how to have a festival! Imagine what the three days we missed were like...