Sunday, April 07, 2013

Spanish Vaqueros at The Feast of Quasimodo

April 7, 2013
Kathy and I are staying in a castle in the town of Zafra, which is in the Extremadura region of Spain. It dates from the 1400s and was converted into a hotel in the 1920s. It's a big sucker and, yes, that is me standing in the shadows at bottom:

We awoke to the sounds of a drum corp marching past our window and later, over cafe con leche (coffee with milk) a man told us today is the feast of Domingo de Quasimodo. He drew us a crude map of the town and a road leading out of it to the south and we set out after breakfast on foot. At the edge of town we saw several people walking up a dirt road and followed along.

After a mile or so, we started hearing the music and the sounds of the festival. As we came up the hill to a church we saw many locals tailgating with tents and barbeques.

As we came into the festival area we saw many vaqueros including these two from Columbia.

Note the botas (leggings) which he calls polainas. If you want to see them up close I am buying a pair tomorrow on the plaza at Equitation Gala (I made the vaquero in the picture write it down). I believe the young girl is his daughter.

Here is a photo of one of the local vaqueros:

And here is an example of female vaqueros standing at the edge of the festival. The town of Zafla is in the distance, high on the hill:

The chica closest to the horse is wearing a snap cap which is typical of the gauchos of South America. The saddle has square, metal stirrups and a cloth seat (it has a name but I didn't write it down).

"A horse is a horse of course unless it's on the plains of Spain where it becomes a caballo."
—Old Vaquero Saying