It is also where our dear friends, Francisco (Paco) and Susi Serrano live.
|Statue of Cardinal Cisneros. Reputed to have been both an excellent administrator AND minister to the people|
|Entrance into inner courtyard of University, where the King of Spain comes each year to award the Cervantes prize in literature.|
|Inner Courtyard of the University|
Miguel Cervantes was born in Alcalá in 1547, although not a lot is known about the young Cervantas, and it's not likely that he spend a lot of time in Alcalá de Henares, he is honoured by this town, in a number of ways.
|Posing in front of the House of Cervantes with Don Quixote and his squire, Sancho Panza|
Semana CervantinaDuring the first two weeks of October, a huge outdoor medieval festival takes place in Alcalá. It coincides with Cervantes birthday, and also with the arrival of new students to the University. During the festivities, the historic center is turned into a medieval village, with parades, acrobats, jugglers, magicians, and artisans from all over Europe. The Serranos invited us to come visit them and stroll through the town on the first day of the festival, which was yesterday, October 8. Today is the big party because, not knowing the exact date of Cervantes' birth they actually celebrate the date of his baptism which IS known (October 9).
This festival is really spectacular; hopefully these few pictures will give you a flavor for the event, but trust me, they don't do it justice. In the states so many times these fairs are just over-commercialized gimmicks to sell cheap junk, trinkets, bad food and carnival rides. This was different. We loved it.
|One of the many street bakers|
|One of several outdoor grills of all kinds of meats. Michelle, this is a "real" outdoor barbecue|
|A medieval oriental restaurant|
|A craftsman of medieval musical instruments|
|One of several street spice vendors. Every kind of herb and spice. It smelled incredible|
|Lots of streets just like this one. The town looks like a Disney set, but it's real; the people actually live here as well|
|A little plaza of rides for children. The other rides, were all hand-made, non-electrical.|
|A display of falconry, or birds of prey, including among many magnificent birds, this beautiful eagle.|
|Another shot of the birds of prey. These are the owls, which made Vivienne think it was Hogwarts.|
|Notice the "automatic" timer at this children's ride.|
|Behind the baker's oven. This guy looked like he walked out of some history book, tattoos and all.|
|In front of the baker's oven. The smell of the breads......ah, it was mouth-watering.|
|Maybe my favorite booth. There were quite a few like this one.|