Every year the Canterbury Club celebrates the great tradition of bullfighting in Spain with the annual Capea de Toros. The Club goes to the ranch, Las Palmeras (twenty minutes outside of Madrid) of the famous bullfighter on horseback (rejoneador), José Miguel Callejón. Last year the Club met on a Saturday at 12:30pm in the Plaza España in the center of Madrid. We arrived at the ranch to set up the tables and chairs on the outdoor grass, fire up the barbecue and put on flamenco music while enjoying the warm sunshine of a beautiful weekend afternoon in Spain. The lunch consisted of traditional Spanish barbecue favorites comprised of grilled chorizo, morcilla and panceta among more “western” fare. Naturally, there was also an unlimited supply of sangria to help get your courage up for the capea later on!
After lunch, there was a tour of the ranch encompassing the bullring, barns, horse stables and bull pens. Later the club played various games in the bullring including the three-legged races, a tug of war and the egg toss. Finally it was on to the main event! The vaquilla was released into the bullring and now was the time to try out your “bullfighting” skills. The people, who preferred to watch, were up in the grandstand, watching the action whilst drinking sangria and placing bets.
Oh course, it’s difficult to amaze your friends back home or have stories to tell your grandchildren from the grandstand…
On a cold Friday night in January, the Canterbury Club shifts its focus indoors to the warmth of the La Ermita Bowling Center to try its hand at bowling. This is the one time of the year to dust off those black and white bowling shoes that are buried at the bottom of your closet, and to be ready for an unforgettable Friday night change from crawling from one pub to another around the Plaza Santa Ana or Calle Huertas. Of course, for those keglers who need a pre-game warm up, in typical Spanish style, there is a huge bar next to the shoe rental counter! This is a great time to meet up with old friends who have arrived back from the holidays, or with all the new people who have just arrived in January in a fun, relaxed environment. Last year, Nick Smetana from NYC threw the high game of 165. Who will dethrone him in 2007…
Every Spring (after the Oscars) the Canterbury Club celebrates the annual TEFL graduation party. There are guest speakers and awards given out for outstanding merit including trophies for the bronze, silver and gold TEFL students of the year, on stage at El Leon de Oro (The Golden Lion). Afterwards, of course there is a party with free pizza, assorted drinks and live music!
Last year the group “Arrivederci Lola” played they version of “Acústico en plan allegro” mixing various Spanish songs of their own with American and British favorites such as “Wish You Were Here”, “Like A Rolling Stone”, “Come Together” and “With or Without You.” Award winners included Jari Lynn Laymac (University of Georgia graduate), Nicole Beckum (Stanford University graduate), Clayton Lillye (from Melbourne, Australia), Claire Walsh and Nigel Akehurst (both from London, England), Madelene Olsson (from Sweden) and Cara Sherman and Emily Nugent (both University of California at Berkeley graduates).
This year promises to be another fun-filled event with plenty of smiles and laughter throughout the night. The Spanish champagne will be flowing again, por supuesto! And the winner is… May I have the envelope please…
Every October the Canterbury Club goes to the Grape Harvest and private annual party of Antonio Olivares and his famous restaurant “Las Cuevas de El Molar!” This year forty Canterbury professors went to El Molar (42km from Madrid) on Tuesday, October 5th at 10 o’clock in the morning. After breakfast in Casa Olivares, we left for the vineyards at 10:30am and picked grapes in the fields in teams of two or three people until 1:30pm.
We returned to the caves at 2:00pm for lunch that consisted of the traditional Spanish white bean, chorizo and morcilla soup, roasted suckling pig, various Olivares salads and dessert. Of course, this was accompanied by all the wine and chupitos that one could drink to their heart’s content! After an hour siesta, the grapes were poured onto the floor of the caves and everyone tromped and danced on them barefoot, while listening to live Spanish and Salsa music played by the local band.
After a bit of rest and a change of clothes, dinner was served outside of the caves under the moon at 9:00pm. This was followed by dancing and drinking into the “night” that is truly the heart of Spain.
The history of Christmas dates back over 4000 years. Many of our Christmas traditions were celebrated centuries before the Christ child was born. The 12 days of Christmas, the bright fires, the yule log, the giving of gifts, carnivals (parades) with floats, carolers who sing while going from house to house, the holiday feasts, and the church processions can all be traced back to the early Mesopotamians.
Early Europeans believed in evil spirits, witches, ghosts and trolls. As the Winter Solstice approached, with its long cold nights and short days, many people feared the sun would not return. Special rituals and celebrations were held to welcome back the sun.
The Roman’s celebrated their god Saturn. Their festival was called Saturnalia which began in the middle of December and ended January 1st. With cries of “Jo Saturnalia!” the celebration would include masquerades in the streets, big festive meals, visiting friends, and the exchange of good-luck gifts called Strenae (lucky fruits).
In keeping with tradition then, on a cold Friday night in early December, the Canterbury Club always prides itself on finding as many spirited hearts as it can and officially begins the festive, unforgettable Spanish Christmas season that continues for a hearty month with celebrations up through Reyes on January 6. Missile toe, anyone?
3- Pablo shows how to pour a little olive oil from arms length onto a chorizo sándwich
4- View of the olive groves of this Cortijo (farm) Andaluz
5- This is how we harvest olives, the traditional way
7- Our kind host, José, raking the olives onto the net
8- Belen gathers the black olives in a traditional woven basket
9- Cleaning the dirt and leaves from the olives
10- Wow, Noa!
13- The Canterbury Olive Harvesters!
14- Arrival at the coop’s local olive mill
15- A truck full of the olives that we’ve harvested, dumps its load at the coop
16- Pepe smiles as the olives go up the conveyer belt
18- ‘We’re looking!’
19- Richard watching our recently picked olives flow out of a spout as oil inside the mill
20- Look how high these things are. That’s enough olive oil to swim from here to Jersey!
21- Group shot between the huge vats of oil
24- After the morning’s harvest, we head to the provincial capital of Jaén, to see its superb Cathedral
25- Time for lunch in an Andalusian restaurant
26- Look what the waiters have just served for appetizers!
27- What luck! A medieval fair is taking place after lunch.
28- All kinds of interesting things for sale
29- Sshh, this stall keeper is having an after-lunch medieval snooze!
30- A sunset evening visit to the imposing castle of Jaén perched on a cliff
31- Private evening Flamenco party for Canterbury at the NA cultural center
1- Goodies for Sale Before Wild Horse Roundup
2- Cooking Pot & Galician Octupus, Pre-Fiesta in Sabucedo
3- Next Morning, Fireworks Announce Beginning
4- Galician Villager
5- Canterbury Round Up Team Heads for the Hills
6- Searching for Wild Horses, Indian File
7- First Sighting of Wild Horses
8- First Herd Captured
9- Taking a Break at the Top
10- Second Herd Captured
11- Chaparoning Horses from Hills to Village
12- Canterbury Director, Richard
13- Riders Against the Sky
14- Spectators at First Hill Camp
15- Relaxing with over 600 captured horeses before leaving base camp for the village
16- Sitting Easy at Base Camp
17- In the Horse Stadium, Sabucedo, Galicia
18- Separating Fillies from Mothers
19- The Band Strikes Up
20- Teams Chose a Horse, Jump, Ride & Capture It
21- Preparing the Horse for Shearing
22- Shearing the Tail
23- Which Way?
24- Running for a Capture
25- Caught and Ready for a Haircut
26- A Tail Trim
27- Shearing on the Ground
28- I’m On!
30- Brothers in Arms
31- Pablo’s Yawning, Teresa’s Wants to Ride
32- She’s Going For It!
24- Nice Cut, Ready to Head Back to the Hills
35- See Ya Next Year!