Last Saturday marked the beginning of Logroño’s patron saint festival, San Bernabé. It celebrates the 15th century victory of los logroñeses after the city was put under siege by the French. According to the story, the people were able to survive on cellar wine and fish that were captured by sneaking out into the Ebro River. Over 500 years later, people are still filled with that Riojano pride.
From my students and fellow teachers, San Bernabé has been described to me as “the one that’s not as good as San Mateo.” However I’ve had a great time so far! Since I haven’t picked up a booklet listing the daily events, the majority I’ve experienced are what I’ve stumbled into. Logroño has such a lively, colorful atmosphere right now, and it’s been the perfect start to the summer. I hope these photos can convey that!
My favorite parts so far are the medieval market winding through casco viejo and into the Plaza del Mercado, watching Guinness’s confusion when he sees crowds of people dressed in 16th century costumes, and the free/cheap wine and food handouts at different gatherings, such as in front of the Revellín gate, a medieval gate built in honor of this battle. On Saturday, a group of auxiliares gathered to try out the newest winner of “The Best Tortilla in La Rioja” at Bar Ensenada (Marques de la Ensenada, 23). It was pretty excellent!
Parque del Ebro holds a set of pitched tents and a display of artifacts from the time, such as cannons and other items of war used in the siege. There’s a selection of live music concerts ranging from bagpipes to heavy rock, and multiple, daily parades that we usually get to watch right from our balcony! These include the procession of caballos and los gigantes, which I will write more about later.
If this is any indicator of how summer will play out, I know we won’t have a chance to get bored. I agree with people who argue that Logroño is small and poorly connected, but they could never argue that it’s without culture. What’s better than a culture centered around wine? These days filled with sun, crowded terazzas, and a relaxed atmosphere make me feel so lucky that we were randomly placed here.
There are two more events this month that I can’t wait for. On the twentieth we’ll be joining a group of other auxiliares to the Riojano, Joven y Fresco wine tasting, which is supposedly the best mass wine tasting in La Rioja for the younger crowd. Then, just one week later is the Batalla del Vino, which I think is pretty self explanatory. Have a fab Monday, everyone… I can assure you mine will be spent between Bar Soriano and sitting in the park!