5th January 2017. Roquetas de Mar, Spain.

Today was Dia de los Reyes Magos, 3 Kings Day.  It is the Spanish equivalent to Christmas Eve in the UK and my friend Beki had told us that there was likely to be a parade where sweets are thrown to the children lining the streets.  We’d tried to find out whether there was a parade in Roquetas but had no reply from Tourist Information and hadn’t found any posters advertising it so we assumed we’d miss it.

Thursdays were also market day here so we wandered over, assuming it would be relatively small.  Wrong!  The market stretched right the way up a very long road and was full to bursting with people.  We had a wander round and then went back to a cafe for coffee.  While we were in there we heard a German lady ask about the Fiesta.  I couldn’t hear the answer so I asked the waitress whether there was going to be a parade and she gave us a rough idea of where it was going to begin and that it started at around 7.30 p.m.  What good luck!

In the evening we got our bikes out and cycled along the promenade and across the Rambla (dried river bed) where I got the front wheel of my bike stuck in a hole!  Darren had warned me that the path dropped away at that point and I’d seen it but at the same time I had turned my head to check that the man walking down the path that joined us wasn’t about to get squished and turned the wheel too soon!  That was rather embarrassing, I spent a minute trying to keep my balance and at the same time try to hoik the wheel back onto the path without falling off, I succeeded but not before I’d entertained my audience with my ineptitude (all I can say is that I’m glad it was dark!).

We cycled along towards the marina until we saw part of the road barriered off and some people standing behind the barriers.  We found a space next to the barrier beside the bins which was perfect, it meant we could lean our bikes against them and we had no one on the left hand side of us which was the direction the parade came from.

The road had been relatively empty when we arrived but by the time the parade started it was heaving with people. We noticed that the children in the crowd were all holding large carrier bags which intrigued us, we soon found out WHY they were so large.

Standing next to us we had a family with a cute and very excited little boy of around 3 years old who was held by his Dad so he’d have a good view and then a while later a lady appeared with a little girl of around 8.  From the moment the parade started the participants showered sweets on the crowd.  It appeared to be raining boiled sweets in many guises including some in tubes, it was rather uncomfortable to say the least when they bounced off your head and the poor little mite next to us started crying uncontrollably when he got bonked on the head by one.  It took his Dad quite a while to calm him down.   The little girl next to us was in her element though (as were all the older children) she was the only older child round by us so she had tons of sweets to hoover up off the floor.  We picked up the sweets that were on the road beside us and gave those to her as well so she was very happy.  The floor was carpeted with multicoloured sweets and every so often the people in the parade would kick them over to the barriers so that the children could reach through and grab those too.

The parade was great fun, at one point there were enormous inflatable insects being pulled along the street and the top of one of them brushed the lights draped across the road as it passed underneath.  Interspersed with the other carnival floats were the 3 Kings sitting on huge camels who also threw vast amounts of sweets into the crowd.

The thing that gave Darren the most joy was spotting the road sweeper who’d been given the job of following the flock of sheep that ran along in front of one of the Kings camels!  I can’t imagine why they wanted him there!!

When the procession had moved on it was amazing the speed at which people dispersed so we wandered down to a bar that we’d been to a couple of times at the marina.  There were only 3 other people in there, the other bars appeared to be more popular but the waitress had been very friendly the couple of times we’d been there previously and she was just as happy and friendly this time.  We  had a mouth watering tapa with a small beer, in fact it was so good when we ordered our second tapa I ordered the same type again.  While we were sitting looking out at the lit up harbour Darren popped out to get my coat from the basket before the dew made it damp.  He was gone for ages, I could see him standing next to a man who was chatting animatedly and pointing here there and everywhere.  He examined the bikes and it looked like he was pointing at the stars (I assumed he was giving Darren a lesson in astrology at that point) and eventually they both came in and the man stumbled off into the bar.

Apparently, by his own admission, the man was extremely drunk having been drinking since he came off his boat earlier in the day.  He conversation had begun with the bikes, moved on to how gorgeous the waitress was in the bar next door (Darren wondered why, if he was that enamoured with her he was in a different bar, we wondered whether he’d been barred from her bar) and he wasn’t pointing to the stars he was pointing to the light on top of the mast of a boat moored in the marina, it was annoying him that they hadn’t turned it off.  Quite a character, I hope he made it safely back to his boat and I’m sure he slept very well when he did.

When we’d finished our drinks we cycled back along the promenade (I managed to avoid the hole in the pavement this time) although half way back Darren suddenly remembered his camera A.K.A the Mandycam.  He checked his pockets and his bag numerous times but couldn’t find it anywhere, we hoped that we’d left it at the bar but had a slight niggle that it might have been taken out of his pocket at the carnival so we were a little subdued the rest of the way home.

As soon as we got back to the van Darren emptied the bag out and there nestling amongst the detritus at the bottom of the rucksack was the Mandycam!  Woo! Hoo!  All’s good with the world again!

We celebrated by going down to the beach and star gazing.  What a wonderful day.

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