The Many Colours of Jerez

Trip Start Apr 30, 2004
Trip End May 22, 2004

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Andalusia,
Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Woke up to what so far appeared to be a beautiful day. After a mediocre breakfast in the huge classroom-like dining room, I walked towards the city centre.
I left the hostel at the same time as an Italian guy, Paulo. We didn't walk together at first, but he apparently soon realized that I had no idea where I was headed, so he offered his help and company. His English was quite scarce and my Spanish quite limited, so keeping a conversation going, wasn't easy but sign language and short sentences can get you quite far.

I wanted to go to Jerez to see the equestrian School of Art. I had no idea that I had chosen to come here at the time of their celebration of the horse at a huge, and internationally known, festival. They truly appreciate horses here so much that they actually celebrate them with a festival each and every year.

Paulo and I took the guided tour around the riding school. It has a huge indoor riding arena, which from the outside looks like a historic building. The stables for their 170 horses is attached to the arena, and looks just as impressive.
A genuine Spanish horse is signified by its long mane and tail, and it has to be a stallion. They hardly ever show off their mares, they are mostly kept for breeding purposes! It wasn't just Paulo and I who had been attracted by the horses to come here. We started talking with a British girl who had come to Jerez with one of her friends just for the festival. How lucky was I to accidentally stumble upon this special event! J
Once I entered the festival grounds, I realized soon enough how big of a deal this festival really is. Besides the fancy parades with colourful horses and dressed up (drunken) people, there was also a show ground with competitions and sale stands with horses from all over the World.

It ended up turning into a long, but very entertaining and colourful day with a lot of new expressions. The photos I took that day definitely say more than words. Especially how colourful the festival was, is hard to describe. Wow, should sum up the day pretty well...
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