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Monday, July 19th "Velá de Santa Catalina; Summer break for El Rinconcillo"

Having been so far away in the last weeks makes me want to think small, as in my neighborhood of Santa Catalina. So today I mull over two recent events. The first being the Velá de Santa Catalina, which happens every year, whether in June or July depending on the image of the virgin they want to drag around. This year it was the Virgen del Carmen from Iglesia Santa Catalina. Because of the recent renovation work the actual procession left from Iglesia San Pedro, close to Rayas, our favorite ice cream place.

What exactly is a velá? It's a neighborhood or block party of sorts, where a bar is set up in a plaza or square and the neighborhood folks and anyone else who wanders by stops for a drink or two, maybe a tapa and a little music. While we didn't manage to see any live acts I think we caught the best show which was he neighborhood children dancing on stage. Most were 9 years-old or younger and most had little shame in doing their dances. One small fellow, maybe 5 years of age, had the crowd cheering as he danced to several songs. He was a master of footwork with a little showmanship. We enjoyed several drinks and I returned later for a late night tapa and few beers as things wound down.

Around 1am we headed to El Rinconcillo for their last night before the summer vacation. We enjoyed a media of jamón and a beer as we caught a glimpse of the procession from the window. The closing marks the true end to life in the center, or at least in Santa Catalina. Most bars and restaurants are now closed on Sunday and some, like El Rinconcillo, are closed until August 9th or more. This means our little corner of the neighborhood is now a little sadder. It also means it's time to go on vacation again.