Summer’s officially here, and with it comes rising temperatures, afternoons spent sitting on shady terraces and a refusal to eat anything other than red summer fruits. The Spanish summer also means festival season. Here in Burgos the fiesta is in full swing and living in the city centre means we get a front row pass to all the activities happening en la calle (the sounds of a drumming competition in the Plaza Mayor has been drifting into our flat for hours!).
Burgos’ festivals of San Pedro and San Pablo are wound together to create one super festival; together they are collectively known as Sampedros and last just over a week. The festival was officially kick-offed yesterday evening with an inauguration concert, and the opening of both the Feria de Atracciones and the Feria de Tapas, however the city has been in fiesta mood since celebrating San Juan on Tuesday.
It may have only started yesterday, but I’ve already gotten a sense of what to expect. Sampedros is a festival with a jam-packed agenda, there is literally something for everyone to do. It’s family-friendly and fun for young people, imagine that!
What’s on the agenda?
Much more than I expected, that’s for sure! A few of the festival’s highlights are:
1) the Feria de Tapas
Casetas, or wooden food stalls, representing many of Burgos’ restaurants and bars have been set up in a handful of squares in the city centre. There’s a long list of tapas to pick from (last night we tried a mushroom spring roll and tomato-mozzarella-basil on a stick, both were delicious), and the cost, along with a drink, is a reasonable €2.20 (a guide to the tapas on offer found here).
2) Music, music and more music
What’s a festival without music? Well, there certainly won’t be any shortage of music this week! Ranging from free concerts in front of Burgos’ Museum of Human Evolution (we’re headed to see the Celtas Cortos tonight), to small performances held on stages set up around the city centre, to brass bands playing in the streets, the music never seems to die out.
The festival includes five nights of firework shows in the city centre (between the bridges San Pablo and Santa Maria). Each show lasts half an hour and begins at 11:30pm.
4) Traditional ceremonies
There are few Spanish festivals that aren’t based on or, at least, include traditional elements and Sampedros is no exception. Acts include religious ceremonies, singing the city anthem or, my personal favourite, the parading and dance of the gigantes.
5) Las bebidas
The final, and arguably the most important, part of any good fiesta is the bebida. While drinking isn’t exclusive to alcohol (shout out to mosto!) most of what’s poured during the festival is. Beer or wine come with your tapa at the food stalls and you’ll find young people drinking along the banks of the river Arlanzón at night. One of this morning’s activities included people gathering in a square to get free wine, the only trick being that a wineskin was required to participate!