Monday, March 16, 2015

CARNAVAL IN SPAIN, CADIZ & CÓRDOBA
























RICH:

Carnaval in Spain OLE'!  We  have missed  Carnaval in Rio and Venezia and we have not been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, so we were not going to miss Carnaval in Spain.  We were made aware that Spain, (at least in Cadiz and Cordoba) does not do Carnaval like the other places.  Oh sure, there are costumes, parades and big crowds of drinkers etc. But in Spain they like to SING!!!  Cadiz and Cordoba spend two weeks singing all over their towns.  They sing in large groups, small groups, with musicians and A Cappella.  They practice all year and then beginning in January the Cadiz people start having competitions.  Cadiz will even televise the preliminaries, quarter and semi-finals, and the BIG GALA FINALS, (with tickets to attend starting at over 100 euro going into the 1000's).  Much like  "Whose got Talent" but with costumes.  They write original funny songs and use current pop songs or Old Standards that everybody knows, (Except Us).  I will admit here that "nuestra comprension del espanol es limitado" and our limitations prevented us from enjoying the satire and "Jokes" as much as the locals.  However, that did not stop us from thoroughly enjoying the music, costumes and merriment. What a Party!



This is the line for the singing semi-finals, tickets start at 60 euro.  The Gran Teatro Falla is a beautiful Theater where the competition is held with more than 100 singing groups participating.  We didn't have tickets, so we walked in the door just to check it out - we were escorted out



 The musical groups are Comparas, Chirigotas, and Choirs.  The Comparas are the witty satiric groups, The Chirigotas are like the Comparas except they sing happier songs like the group above, and the Choirs are larger groups.






This isn't a great picture, but this is one of the Comparas groups - the streets are very narrow - and they will squeeze in a doorstop and start their satiric singing.  Everyone is laughing and somehow we just laugh along with them.




WANDA:


Cadiz's history goes back to 1100 BC, making it one of the oldest (continuously inhabited) cities in the world and the oldest city in Spain.  It is a narrow strip of land on the Atlantic located in southwestern Spain.


We were in Cadiz the week before Carnival, just to visit the city before the madness.  We couldn't find an affordable hotel in Cadiz during the 2 weeks of Carnival, so we had to travel into the Cadiz by ferry from Valdelagrana, across the bay... We were not by ourselves on the boat...




...They were all so darn cute!



I have never seen a bridge being made - thought it was cool to see as we were heading into Cadiz...






Stepping off the ferry, we landed in Old Town or Casco Antiguo of Cadiz and headed into the party!...






The left are pictures before Carnaval in Cadiz (we were there a few days before) and the right are the same squares filled to the max!   The streets of Cadiz are very narrow and they are connected to amazing Plazas -  above Top left is the Plaza de San Juan de Dios, middle is the Plaza de la Cathedral 
and the bottom is Plaza San Antonio.  There are 8 Plazas in the old city and something was going on in each one of them - not to mention the happenings in the crowded narrow streets...





Most popular costume of the evening was the bull fighter.......it was late and these guys were more than a little borracho.




Taverns were smart - they set up makeshift bars and had cheap beers to go - no one is allowed inside...






...unless of course you are invited to all the private parties throughout the city  (somehow we didn't get our invites)




CORDOBA:


Cordoba was founded by the Romans in 206 BC - and this historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site



We followed the crowds across the Roman Bridge or the "El Puento Romano" into the Old Town of Cordoba....




Crossing the bridge is a beautiful sight of the Mezquita-Cathedral de Cordoba (A World Heritage Site)....once across the bridge is another story...




We were in Cordoba during one of the days of their Carnaval and the Chirgotas and Comparsas were having comical sing-offs with each other...

 ...Like in Cadiz, we didn't understand too much, but we were thoroughly entertained.



Back to the World Heritage Site:

A break from the festivities outside is walking through the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba or Mezquita-Cathedral ... 




You are awed by the beauty of this Moorish Architecture and when you step inside it is even more amazing... where Gothic/Renaissance and Moorish Architecture meet...



....The history of this site started with the Romans - a temple to Janus, then the Visagoths built a Christian church.  The Muslims conquered Spain in 711 and divided the church into halves until the Christian half was sold -  it was then demolished and the Grand Mosque of Cordoba was built in 784.  When the Christians reconquered Spain in 1236, the Mosque was so beautiful, the Christians built their Cathedral in the Mosque.  The pictures above show  existing Moorish architecture juxtaposed with the Gothic/Renaissance architecture the Christians added to the Mosque...



Too short a visit here, we will be back in the summer so ADIOS for now!!   

Next, Granada or Sevilla??...


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