Ezcaray has just finished its annual Santa Bárbara celebrations – four days of fiesta that left plenty of parents bleary-eyed as they dropped off children at school the morning after the final onslaught. “I wish it was only every other year,” one told my wife.
The festival traditionally marked Pentecost – and it still includes a hike up the hill to the Santa Barbara chapel which overlooks Ezcaray. But somewhere along the line, someone had the bright idea of dancing round the bandstand as the musicians played the tune of “Ay, mamá, cuánto me quiere mi novio!” (Oh mum, how much my boyfriend loves me!)
And round and round and round they go until, one assumes, the muscles in one leg are considerably stronger than those of the other. And, strange though it may seem, going round in circles for four days is a perfect recipe for a superb atmosphere – a beautiful mix of bonhomie, booze and fun by people of all generations.