A balanced schedule is a fiesta in each hand

Medieval festival, Alcalá de Henares

Ringing in the school year has been eventful, a story for another post. Strikes chopped up our days, leaving little to report from actual teaching (what’s that, again?).  When I finally received a semblance of a schedule, I was met with unfamiliar faces. All of the students I’m working with are new to me this year. We exchanged introductions. I fear I will now be known as That-Girl-Who-Mispronounced-Kike’s-Name, unintentionally twisting it into a slang word for “vagina” (sorry Kike).

Welcome, fall.

As I penciled new strikes dates into my planner, I noticed that October 12th was surrounded by a golden hoop. Gold? Cha-ching! It turned out that, after only six days of work, I was off for a national holiday (Note: I was starting late this year, school had officially commenced in September). After catching wind of a medieval fair in a nearby town, I knew how I would spend the day.

Hark! A fair!

Any proper list of day trips from Madrid includes Alcalá de Henares, a city with multiple claims to fame. Of particular note are a famous university, a cathedral, and Cervantes’s first casa. A half-hour hop from Madrid, the city was painlessly easy to reach; our grupito simply showed up at the Atocha cercanías station and caught the next train out. After purchasing our tickets, we waited approximately 7 minutes for the next train to whisk us eastward. In convenience, cost, and ease of transport, Alcalá checks all the boxes.

Upon arrival, the group and I proceeded to visit a whopping zero of the sites I just mentioned. Instead, we spent our time mingling with the other fair-goers by people-watching, cheese-nibbling, and booth-browsing. I’ll let the photos explain the rest:

Heck, I’d name-drop too if I shared a town with a famous author or literary figure

The scent of spices, tea, and barbecued meats filled the air

Artisan crafts such as soap and pottery were also for sale

A mid-day lull fell around 4 as the merry-makers paused for lunch

Even the side streets were dressed with medieval flare

Retraction: I did glimpse half of Cervantes’s house.

(As in, the half not dipped in honey and feathered with tourists.)

Hawking roasted chestnuts–fall is here!

From one end to the other, the town was engulfed in temporary medieval madness. No matter–we’ll just have to return to check the town’s pulse once the fever subsides.

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