Having watched the football match earlier in the evening, in which Spain beat France 2-0, our menfolk were far too exhausted to join Romy and I, so we two set off up the steep hill, in temperatures still over 30 degrees to see what fun we might find. We had heard tales of witch burning and couldn't possibly miss seeing it.
At first, the streets seemed very quiet and we wondered whether we'd got it wrong - it happens! However, as we staggered up the last, almost vertical, hill, we were hit by a real blast of heat and crowds of people moving into the Plazeta outside the church of San Juan.
With little subtlety, I followed Romy as she weaved her way to the front of the crowd - she was really keen to see a witch being burned...
This is the lovely little church. I have never been inside as yet but have been told that it has a little museum - must make sure we go to visit that one day.
However, it was from the bell tower that all the fun was to begin.
And even better than a front line view would be a view from the terrace of a house that overlooks the square.
And we were lucky enough to know some people who lived in such a house and we were able to escape from the crowds and get a bird's eye view - and a drink and some nibbles - from our friends' house! Good to have friends in high places...
|At the stroke of midnight, things started to happen...|
|And after a little teasing, the witch appeared on her broomstick. (She flew fast, so some of pictures are rather blurred...)|
|She flew around, teasing the crowd.|
|She started to fly dangerously close to the fire...|
|Very near though for a little while, we thought she might get safely to the other side.|
|Then her foot seemed to be alight...|
|But no, she had escaped again.|
|Oh no, this time she won't escape.|
And as she caught fire and started to burn, the moment was celebrated with an unexpected burst of fireworks and we were so close that the ashes and little bits were falling right on top of us.
(If you watch the video, suggest you turn down the volume a bit to avoid being deafened...I found out that it's quite loud the hard way.)
After the witch had disappeared, the tradition is for people to throw papers into the fire, on which should be written up to three 'wishes'. The wishes can be positive or negative - i.e. things you want or want to happen or vice versa. We duly wrote down our wishes and threw them into the fire. I noted that Romy didn't want any more ants.
Not sure that will be completely fulfilled, though we don't seem to have any at all in the house today...
My wishes... well, not wanting to be too specific, they all involved houses. I can't afford to miss any opportunity to ask for a little luck. Especially as the one we had our eye on is now OFF the list.