Monday, 20 January 2020

Las Carontoñas de Acehuche on the fiesta of San Sebastian 2020

The fiesta of San Sebastian on January 20 is celebrated in a particularly bizarre fashion in the small village of Acehúche near Caceres. The carantoñas are wild creature characters, mixing paganism with Christianity as they prowl around the village dressed in grotesque costumes made from a patchwork of hides, horns and tusks from sheep, cows, goats and wild boar, the headdress is particularly gruesome with plenty of gore. They revere San Sebastian, an early Christian martyr, in remembrance of the legend that after he was tortured and killed by his fellow Roman soldiers his body was not devoured by the wild beasts of the forest. Arriving eventually at the village church, a procession takes place with the statue of the saint bound to a living orange tree, local twist. There are explosive rifle volleys, confetti and rosemary strewn in the streets. The carantoñas precede the saint performing a ritualistic dance and reverence along the route together with pipes and drums, the girls of the village are dressed in their best finery, some flirting goes on between the hideous beasts and the beauties.

This year it was really freezing cold even though the sun was shining in a blue sky, we did not linger but left with colourful memories and confetti in our clothes.

Here's a video I took in 2014, 6 years ago already, nothing has changed!

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Walk around Presa de Ayuela

Another lovely walk around this small lake near Casas de Don Antonio. Very easy and flat, good views of Montánchez in the near distance, lots of animal activity. Today it was a baby donkey and a perfect performance by two sheepdogs guarding and herding a flock of about 100 sheep around the lake. It was incredible, the care and discipline the dogs demonstrated, we passed the shepherd who was in his car going home for lunch, he left his flock in the sole care of the dogs who were gently herding them back to the village by themselves.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Walk along the Tamuja

The last time we did this walk it was in May, with lack of rain the cattle and sheep had eaten the sparse grass down to the earth, the scenery was dusty and brown with just a trickle in the river. 
Here in Extremadura the coming of the rain transforms the landscape almost within hours. With the sustained rainfall we have had spread over the last two months we knew the walk along the Tamuja would have been restored to a verdant paradise, a perfect example of the iconic Extremadura eco system at work.  And so it was, the river was brimming, lush green grass, Iberic pigs, cows and sheep grazing under the holm oaks, stunning.

 Our usual destination, an ancient watermill only added to the beauty of the environment, as usual it was all for us, not one other person in sight.At the mill we crossed the weir to walk back on the other bank to see different aspects of the scenery.

On our way home to the finca we stopped off, as usual, in Salvatierra de Santiago for lunch at the Bar Fé, our favourite place for many reasons.


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