Saturday, 17 May 2008

Dia de la Reconquista

On the 28th - 29th of March Vigo celebrated its annual fiesta of liberation from Napoleonic forces (to read more about the history of this event, see previous post).

The day begins with a re-enactment of the arrival of the French, followed by life under occupation, we then were treated to the beginning of the rebellion, that eventually leads to a city wide uprising against the hapless invaders and Vigo's "Reconquest".

In the afternoon, the market stalls are in full swing, selling all manner of local produce; bread baked in log fired ovens, bocadillos (sandwich rolls) de chorizo, sweets, lollies, honey, jamon, wine, orujo (a type of liqueur), wicker baskets, lace. There was traditional dancers, music and much more.

Nowadays, the French have invaded once again, only this time not to the sound of guns, but to the sound of business. Citroen and Peugeot have a large car manufacturing plant here and employ thousands, whilst also injecting millions of Euros into the local economy. The largest supermarkets (of which there are four); Al Campo and Carrefour are both French owned. Needless to say that there are a lot of French people who live here and throughout the day, many a Frenchman would be seen to run out of a bar or pub and shout "Viva la France", before dashing back inside, rather than waiting for a response.

All in all it's a great day out and seeing Vigo's historic quarter come alive, makes a pleasant change, from it's otherwise neglected status. Wandering the cobblestone streets was a real pleasure, as you never knew what was going to be around the next corner.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Festa in Bouzas

Sunday in Bouzas is market day, with stalls mainly selling clothes, there is the odd food stall but it's really about finding cheap clothes or a D&G belt, it's not the most exciting market but the kids love it.

Bouzas lies in the south west of Vigo, situated within a small bay with moorings for private boats. It use to be an independent authority when Vigo was a smaller neighbour. It has a very quaint if small old town with bars and restaurants, many of which have been sympathetically restored in keeping with their surroundings. Citroen built a huge car holding area and port for their operations, fortunately this can't be seen whilst supping on a cold Estrella.

This day though we were in for a pleasant surprise, as the annual Festa Brincadeira was being held. Hidden behind the market day, down narrow cobblestone streets lined with straw, galician music filled the air and market stalls selling home-made wares from honey liqueur to hand made wicker baskets lined the street.

It was an assault on the senses, freshly cooked mussels from the bay, chorizo barbecued on an open fire, a traditional bread oven stoked with small logs churned out deliciously fresh bread all day, there was callos a kind of bean and bits of pig stew, (doesn't sound appetising but tastes great!) empanada of meat and tuna and with the stall vendors in period dress, the scene was set. Not to forget the wine drunk from small bowls and which flowed all to easily!