Photographer's Note

With limited knowledge of Spanish and no introduction whatsoever, I plunged into the Fiesta de San Juan upon arrival in Arenas de Cabrales around midnight. The procession of participants started, I think, at one of the churches and crossed most of the little town, being cheered on by onlookers and encouraged with generous use of firecrackers. Banda de Gaitas L'Alloru, a bagpipe band, led the procession over Rio Cares on a bridge decorated with torches for the occasion. Chanting women and girls followed men caring a contraption resembling a house, which was deposition on the river bed, doused with gasoline and set ablaze on a background of fireworks. It seems that Fiesta de San Juan is associated with bond fires in most parts of the world. The party continued with sidra (apple cider) and live music, but by that time I remembered that the 1800 m elevation gain that I had planned for the following day required me to get some sleep.
In this instance I was presently impressed with the performance of the built-in flash that I rarely use.
Arenas de Cabrales is a little town that seems to survive on tourism and a solid reputation in the manufacturing of a specific variety of blue cheese, the queso de Cabrales. In the summer months, tourists make up most of its population. It does nevertheless preserve a reasonable dose of authenticity and I would recommend it for a visit, especially since it constitutes a convenient entry into the Picos de Europa.

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Additional Photos by Roland Roesler (Roly) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 546 W: 9 N: 436] (2024)
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