Posts by Country

Sunday, February 7, 2016


On Thursday, February 4th, I went to Madrid to pick up my British friend Anthony who was visiting for the weekend. That evening we spent the night at Preston's and, the next day, we bought Anthony a helmet for the journey back to my pueblo. After finding Anthony a restaurant that met his particular dietary preferences... and then waiting half an hour for him to figure out a way to position his headphones within his helmet (he's afraid of motorbikes and needed the distraction), we made our way back down to the heart of Castilla La Mancha.

Before arriving in Belmonte, we made a stop near Saelices to see an old structure that had caught my eye a few times before. The next day we spent the morning grabbing stuff from the shop for breakfast, and visiting the Palacio Infante Don Juan Manuel, before heading over to the castle of Belmonte.

We had a look around inside and then made our way up to the tops of the castle walls for some views of the pueblo. After walking around the castle a bit more, and visiting the dark, forbidding dungeon below, we headed back so that we could make our way over to the other pueblos and take in the festivities of carnaval.

The next day we went to La Almarcha to catch a ride to the airport using Blablacar (ridesharing service) so that Anthony wouldn't have to endure another ride on the motorbike. On the way up to Madrid we enjoyed the company of a particularly cheerful Spaniard and, after a couple hours of traveling with him and his buddies, we managed to secure a ride back for me with another blablacar. So, Anthony finished his journey to the airport while I hurried over to meet the last car going back home.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

La Endiablada

On Wednesday, February 3rd, I caught a ride with Julio to "La Endiablada" in Almonacid del Marquesado. Over the last month I had mostly been working and had even found a new teaching gig at an academy in Las Pedroneras. I also rebuilt the motor on the bike and opened an account with a new bank. Caja Rural CLM was seriously letting me down - almost four months and still no debit card or "keys" for checking my account online. They were also blocking my account each month so I had to call in for access to my monthly salary. Instead of continuing to play that game, I went and paid 20 euros to open an account with Liberbank and had all my stuff within a week!

Anyway, La Endiablada turned out to be a very interesting cultural experience (way better than dealing with Spanish banks!) and, apparently, it is the oldest tradition of any pueblo in Spain. Referred to as Los Diablos or "the Devils", the participants (all locals of the small pueblo of Almonacid del Marquesado) dress in colorful pajamas, tall hats and harnesses with giant cowbells and walk the streets making as much noise as physically possible. From what I understand, the tradition is based on a fear of demons and the concept that noisy marches around town will ward them off... a bit spooky, no? Certainly must be for those concerned about demons.