Sunday, October 9, 2016

Stings Practice and Alcalá de Henares' Mercado Cervantino 2016


Saturday, 8 October, 2016:

The trek to Guadalajara this morning for a Stings practice would not be an easy one.

 While this is true . . .

I would come to like our new city a bit less this morning.

I had travel problems based on two issues. The first was the lack of an internet connection at La Casa Grande. This problem I am told will be resolved by next Friday.

While Jesús would be conducting two Weight Room testing sessions at the Altafit Gym in Rivas, I was going to take first a Metro ride to a train station to catch a Cercania train to Alcalá de Henares where one of the Stings players would then drive me to our Guadalupe training site.

No problem except that I had no idea of the details of this simple plan. I had been sent the directions, which were simple as it turned out, via e-mail late Friday night.

My second problem is that after ten days in España, I still had not received the promised Spanish cell phone to use while traveling about.

My third issue is that I the hour that I needed to travel all of my problems converged.

My go to answer was to go to the La Almazara Tapas Bar to use their wifi and have a quick breakfast before embarking.

La Almazara Tapas Bar was closed with no signs of opening any time soon.

OK then, I decided to walk into town to find a wifi spot at another watering hole.

Armanda del Rey sleeps in late on Saturdays, everything was closed.

With no wifi and no Spanish cell phone to use for communication, I was left with one last, costly option. Open my USA cell phone's Data Roaming feature to find the needed directions.

I'm sur that it will be a big blip on next month's phone bill.

Now armed with the needed directions, it was five stops on the Metro to the Vicalvaro train station and the 25 minute ride to Alcalá de Henares.

It all worked out and, hey, I'M LIVING IN SPAIN!

The people you meet at the
Alcalá de Henares train station

Actually, this is a monument to people killed at the bombing in Madrid's Atocha train station years ago.

Unfortunately, the cowards who planned the bombing boarded the train to Atocha at this train station.

We had a huge surprise waiting for us at the Stings practice which got everybody fired up . . .

Former NFL QB Donovan McNabb
has opted to join the Stings!

This should really help improve our offensive production!

The main theme of the day was tackling.

 Teaching the importance of 
arm wrap

Be VIOLENT with your arms!

 Good Hit Position

It was time to pair up the Stings by size and experience for our first contact tackles of the pre-season.

 Two Bull Elephants about
to fight for territorial dominance

 Accelerate your feet!

While we only had a dozen players today, they all were attentive and worked hard at improving their skills.

Some flag football fun for the last
15 minutes of the practice

YOUR Guadalajara Stings

Post practice with the two
Bull Elephants

 Coach Julian and his son Julian

I love the Stings too.

After practices, we usually eat somewhere for a couple of hours. Hector and Borja were up for it as was I but they said it would have to be a short one due to other commitments.

That is when Hector mentioned that this weekend Alcalá de Henares was hosting their big festival of the year . . .

. . . and a Medieval Festival at that,
I had to go

It should be noted that the old part of town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
1547-1616

Cervantes, who wrote Don Quixote, was born in Alcalá de Henares.

Hence the pride and the festival.

 Of course she's reading,
Cervantes was a great author indeed

Medieval Festivals
draw lots of people

I had attended three good Spanish Medieval Festivals in three different cities when I coached in Murcia in 2015.

By comparison, today's Festival was bigger than the other three combined.

Alcalá de Henares does things to a big scale it turns out.

The Moorish part of Spanish
medieval history was celebrated too

 A few locals were
in period costumes

The streets were crowded

 There were lots of things to buy

Moorish tea cups

Ceramics Heaven

Aromatic Spices

More Costumes

A Palm Reader is a
MUST!

Leather working tools

Laurie loves olives

Me, not so much.

Baking some . . .

. . . fresh bread

Nice cheese selection

I wonder if Mike needs any more
wooden utensils?

Colorful artisan cheeses

 Sancho Panza and Don Quixote
with some random mujeres

The Cervantes Museum is directly behind them but I opted out of entering as it was too crowded to get in today.

 The Jews, like the Moors, had
a tough time in Medieval Spain

 It is a colorful city

 Vineyard Cart

 More cowbell?

Yarn Production

Nothing says Spain more than
camels?

Aroma and Taste
of the Cervantino Festival . . .

WOW!

Paella anyone?

Carne, carne y carne con carne!

Croquettes!

The chocolate items were bigger
than my fist

BARBACOA!!!!!!!!

Enough of food (did I really just write that?), let's take a look at some of the structures that make this a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 Quiet plaza in the storm of people

Part of the University perhaps

Well kept apartments

 It looks official

A big church

But definitely not the only one in town.

A University of Alcalá building

The University of Alcalá is one of Spain's oldest and most prestigious.

Another Church with . . .

. . . a nice Cupola

A Museum with . . .

. . . a Moorish flavor

Senior's Center

I should have entered to see a few of my mates.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
GRACIAS!

I'm living in SPAIN!

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