The festival of bonfires is at its height: We stumbled upon a wonderful tapas restaurant, with very creative tapas.
I very nice mostly English speaking waiter translated the components of each dish. I thought he was doing very well until he corrected himself by first saying it was "duck" and then "cod". I lost a little confidence in his skills at that point, but no matter! Both duck and cod were wonderful. The "creative" part was the unusual combination of foods. One was a cookie with a flat slice of apple, brie, and sugar glazed with a torch (I saw it being torched in the kitchen through the open door). Another was the smoked cod in a tortilla, with brie, raisins and nuts, some kind of sauce, and topped with a drizzle of sweet syrup.
There were hot tapas and cold, sweet and savory. We kept pointing and they kept coming.
Meanwhile, next to our table (on the street), there were chairs lining the street, and NO traffic. It was blocked off for the parade.
NO one was seated, and no one seemed to know when the parade was expected. One of the wait staff thought it would be around 10 PM, and since it was 8 PM when we were eating, our expectations weren't high. As we were paying the bill, I suddenly noticed a few people sitting down, and a band in the distance, and several blocks away, I could see the police motorcycle escort, and the parade had begun.
...in 1928 the fiestas of the Bonfires of San Juan were formally constituted. For several days, Alicante celebrates this great homage to fire, a relation of thein Valencia, where the main characters are genuine works of impermanent art: the bonfires and the enormous cardboard and wooden figures which go up in flames on the night of San Juan.
Every street corner had lanes blocked off for the "figures" that will be burned.
Pretty hair decorations watching the parade.
And all kinds. (The Simpsons were also featured.)
If you expected to see traditional dress and customs while in Spain, this was the perfect time.
I snapped lots of pictures and hoped that a few would work. Besides all the pretty Spanish dresses, and the men in knickers and jackets,
and banners, and cute young girls and boys dressed up...
there was a very interesting, unknown to me, instrument that was used instead of the normal band instruments.
There were a few bands but there were more often 3 to 6 horn players, playing from music, in parts, on what looked like a toy oboe.
They were short, looked like a double-reed, and sounded like one too. These instruments were accompanied by drums and percussion of some kind. I got a kick out of the coat rack with pieces of metal hanging on it,
and another band with tympani being pulled along!
This will undoubtedly be the most exciting thing we'll do while here. In a few nights I'm going to try to stay up until midnight to see if I can spot the bonfires and fireworks in Alicante from our roof patio.