Calahorra Pepper Festival and Long Walks

On Friday I went to Arnedo to visit one of my schools and check out the pueblo. But in fact, I don’t think it’s incredibly small. In my mind based on how everyone talked about it, I thought it would be, well, tiny.

I met one of the teachers I will be working with and she is so kind! I went on a tour of the school, which is only a year old, and then we went and met about fifteen of the other teachers for pinchos around the corner. There are two English teachers at the school, and just over 30 in total.

Arnedo is closed this entire week for Festivals, this one just called the Fiestas de los Santos. It’s where they celebrate the patron saint of the town. I don’t think this one is going to be quite as big as San Mateo, though.

This weekend there is a Pepper Festival going on in Calahorra. All the pincho bars have specials featuring the red pepper of Calahorra in different styles. They prepare the peppers by burning the skins over a charcoal or wood fire, and then peeling off the burnt skin to reveal the meat inside.

In preparation for this feasting of peppers, my roommate and a friend in the program decided to take a walk/hike out to the nearest bodega (winery) just under three miles away. It was a gorgeous day, and felt like summer actually. There was a perfect wind cutting through the heat and a nice path we could walk the entire way. It was nice just to get out of the city and see a bit of the countryside. Especially the grapes. I’m not sure why there are still grapes on the vines, as San Mateo was the celebration of the great harvest, but then again I’m no winemaker.

So we walk, and walk (I’m terribly out of shape #noexerciseforamonth) and finally get there, and the winery is under construction. The man who greets us in confusion advises us to come back next year.

The best laid plans, huh.

And along our walk we were almost hit by a multitude of bikers, all wearing professional biking gear. It was the strangest thing. Almost every biker out there was dressed to the nines.

So to celebrate one of our great failures thus far, we ate and drank through the afternoon. I took a two hour nap, and then we woke up and did it all again till eleven at night.

It was seriously delicious.

I had peppers stuffed with a kind of spinach dip and soaked in different sauces, peppers with lamb and a mint sauce, peppers on toast with cheese, peppers on top of grilled fish, the list goes on.

All the peppers.