Thursday, February 19, 2015

TRAVEL TUESDAY: Fat Tuesday at the Águilas Carnaval Parade


Tuesday, 17 February, 2015:


David Lassen once commented that he knows that I'm having a good day abroad if I don't take the time to blog for a day or two.

He was right yet again!

Late's take a belated look at this week's Travel Tuesday.

Up and at 'em at a reasonable hour for the one hour and 50 minute, 4.75 Euros train ride southwest of Murcia to the Mediterranean seaport village of Águilas



Why you ask?


CARNAVAL!!!

It was Mardi Gras

Literally French for Fat Tuesday, the last day to enjoy and cut loose before Ash Wednesday, the official start of the austere Lenten season.

As usual, the Tourist Information (TI) Center was nowhere near the train station but the Station Master gave good directions on how to get close to it in the center of this small town where signs would easily guide me the rest of the way.

Along the walk, I saw . . .

A Colorful Pharmacy

A nice beach

It was a chilly, overcast day with gusting winds, not a beach day at all.

And perhaps not a Carnaval day either if it were raining hard at the 6:00 p.m. start of the anticipated four to five hour Carnaval Parade. 

After all, Águilas IS
Spanish for Eagle

Hair Salon as Art

Locomotive

This is a model Mogul 1-3-0 built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1889. It was used on the rail lines of Águilas from 1890 to 1967. It weighs 82 tons and, in its day, could go 85 km/hour.

The Upper Crust's Meeting Hall

Casino Entrance Hall

Casino Entrance Ceiling

This should be a fun night

Moorish City Hall

Great Style

Love the blue accents

I got a lot of help from a nice woman at the TI about this small town.

How small is Águilas? It is so small that it does not even have an El Corte Inglés!

It was a long time until the start of the Parade, so I opted to walk along the beach front Malecon to check into my hotel.

Nice Circles

Beach Front Patterns

Beachcomber

Kids, I want you to all
follow the man with the pink hair

I like beaches in Winter

Joe Mollica was here?

After a 20 minute walk, I arrived

View from Room 419

Once I'd relaxed for a bit in this Four Star beach resort hotel, I opted to walk back to the town center for more exploring and, surprisingly, some food before the Parade started.

Cool Sun Dial

First stop . . .

A Snack of
Patatas Bravas and a Caña

The view from Section 2,
First Row, Seat 40

For a mere 10 Euros, I purchased a reserved seat for the Parade with one negative provision. If weather cancelled the Parade, I would not be refunded.

More exploring was necessary because nothing was open.

Only restaurants/bars and the ever-present, Chinese run, Mom and Pop markets were doing business as apparently most of the town just shuts down during Carnaval.

No Idea

This unmarked monument sits atop of a hill with commanding views of the city but it is not mentioned on the map that I received at the TI.

Beautiful Old Wind Mill

Lunch Stop

It had a good mix of food choices
and some interesting locals

All food and drink places
were into the Carnaval Spirit

THE adult beverage of Carnaval

I went with the more traditional caña.

Ancient Millstone

Churros and Chocolate?

When in Rome . . .

Donde esta la . . .
. . . never mind, there it is

Peacock?

Monumento al Carnaval

Got wings?

OLD building off of the
Plaza de España

Águilas City Crest

Candy Apple Red

It's not just a color for '57 T-Birds.

I did not eat any of them, I was strong!

About an hour before the start of the Parade, the intermittent drizzles changed into a steady downpour.

Would the Parade be cancelled? Would I lose my 10 Euros investment in a front row seat?

NO!

The rain abated at about 5:30 p.m. and the show would indeed go on!

I was entrenched in my Front Row seat, ready to be entertained.

The Carnaval Parade

So what was this Carnaval Parade like?

If you ask me, it was equal parts . . .

 Las Vegas Revue . . .

 Rose Parade . . .

Child Beauty Pageant . . .
  
Doo Dah Parade . . .

and Gay Rights Parade

video
Parade Action, Part I

 El Tangay Float

Blue Eagle

Medusa

One Man Float

 White Eagle

Queen for a Day

All ages were in the Parade,
the mature . . .

. . . the young . . .

. . . and the really young

video
Parade Action, Part II

Mom resting

Moms and Dads also volunteer to walk the Parade route with water bottles for the relief of the participants and to aid with any wardrobe malfunctions that may occur along the way with the elaborate costumes.

 Blue Man Group?

 Four Eyes

Not to worry, apparently they lose their upper eyes as they mature and their brains swell out of their proper craniums.

Colorful Hipsters

Graceful Doña

Laurie's new Husky game day outfit?

Peacock strutting

video
Parade Action. Part III

 Flamboyant

Yes, I have GREAT balance

These shoes were part of a
Freddie Mercury outfit

GUAPA!!!

The Mask

Now this group of dancing, interestingly costumed men appeared to be having the time of their collective lives in my opinion.

 WOW!!!

She's having fun too!

Feathers were everywhere!

video
Parade Action, Part IV

 Happy to be ALIVE!

 Chin Out

 Adjusting the Head Piece

Twirling

Aloof

Doo Dah time . . .

Ala the old Lloyd Thaxton TV show, these Mounties' "faces" were painted on the performers bellies.

 The Mounties had Indian maidens too!

So, it turns out that Águilas is where the old
Stanford Indian mascot was retired

video
Parade Action, Part V

 Another nice smile with . . .

Exotic moves

I LOVE A PARADE!

Me too!

The Closing Act was . . .
unusual shall we say

The Parade was over in a speedier than anticipated three hours. I do not know if they walked faster tonight or had groups opt out due to the wet streets and the potential for costume damaging rains.

Either way, I was cold and damp and while thoroughly entertained, I was ready for warmth so I walked back to the hotel to call it a fun filled night.

Of course, a snack and vino tinto at the hotel before bed was a good idea I thought.

To sum up, if you are in Spain during the Águilas Carnaval Season, it would be well worth your while to catch one of their Parades.

Reading Is FUNdamental


When done, I felt a bit mystical


More days . . .

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