Marking the changing seasons and celebrating as a community is a timeless tradition, often carried out through communal festivals. For students participating in Proctor's off-campus program in Segovia, Spain, these festivals offer a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the Castilian language and local culture. One such event is the celebration of the patron saint, San Frutos, which takes place on October 25th in Segovia.
The first event we attended as a group was the 'tapas' contest amongst several restaurants. People went from one restaurant to another and tried the restaurant's tapa. Other events were:
- a pasacalles where there is some traditional dance with dancers wearing folkloric dresses.
- a pipe organ concert at the cathedral
- a concert in the Playa Mayor on October 24th
- a video mapping of San Frutos' door at the cathedral and others.
Students were asked to attend events, write a summary, and record a video narration of the event. Here are what some of the students wrote:
The Tapas Contest
Sophie M. '25
Yataki-Latapa- #11 @ La Taberna del Fogón Sefardí Restaurant:
This was my favorite tapa out of the two! It was essentially a veal kebab and had rice and onions on the side. This restaurant had a wonderful atmosphere, and we were able to all sit together to try the food which made it even more special. La Taberna del Fogon Sefardi had entered food into the competition in years past, and they were also advertising that as well, which was impressive to me.
Tronquito de Leña de Segovia @ the Cochifrito restaurant:
Although I loved this dish, it had less elements than the Yataki-Latapa. I appreciated the crunch of this pork roll and was impressed by the flavor, but the other restaurant was superior in my opinion. There was no where for the group to sit, which in terms of competition might be a good thing because it means the restaurant was popular, but it made it less optimal for a group tasting.
Last Friday, October 12th, our group "bar-hopped." Going from restaurant to restaurant, we tried different types of "tapas," a class of Spanish appetizers. These tapas were always available, but the festivals celebrating San Frutos invited restaurants to create a list of tapas for people to try throughout the week. The first restaurant we ventured to had steak kebabs. Not only was the steak cooked perfectly, but the kebab had a mixture of cheese, mushrooms, and spices. Rice was also included, which added to the overall palette of the meal. Overall, I would rate this tapa a nine out of ten.
The second restaurant we visited had beef wrapped in something. I do not remember too much about this one, only that it was worse than the first. I would rate this one a seven out of ten. I think this event was a great introduction to the many fun activities that take place during the celebrations, and I would recommend it to anyone."
The group and I first set off to one restaurant behind the Plaza Mayor. As we entered the restaurant and sat down at one long table that fit all 12 of us, voices and smells swarmed my head. I could hear the happy voices of friends, couples, and families enjoying their dinner and time together. I also could smell the aroma of different savory flavors. Not long after we sat down, 12 of the same plates came out from the busy kitchen. One plate was placed in front of me, and I first observed and appreciated the thoughtful placement of food on this plate. There were two pieces of perfectly cooked lamb doused in sauce on a wooden skewer. Then a rosy, red, round, tomato was carefully placed at the point of the skewer. Beside this was a small pile of colored white and brown soft rice. The pile was supporting a thin slice of apple with two red sauces piped on top of it. As I dug into the plate, juices and flavors filled my mouth. Serotonin filled my head as all the flavors complemented each other.
As I scraped my plate clean, I wanted more of it, but there was no time because we then all stood up and raced to our second restaurant. With the lamb juices still lingering on my tongue we entered another restaurant in the center of the Plaza Mayor. This was a narrow restaurant, and every table and chair was already filled with someone. Instead of sitting we stood in the gaps between each table, trying to stay out of the way. The food came even faster here. It felt like within minutes after ordering we all had square ceramic plates in our hands. Once again, I admired the plate of carefully placed food. This time, there was flavorful pork wrapped like a baby in some kind of thin, dry, flaky bread. One small decorative leaf was placed on top of the roll, and a red sauce dripped off it. As I sliced into the roll with the edge of my fork the bread began to crumble and flake. I stabbed my fork into the piece and as I brought it to my mouth my nose was filled with the most wonderful flavors. As I chewed the savory flavor squeezed into my mouth. I finished the plate in less than a minute. As I placed my place on other plates that were also scraped clean, and left the restaurant my stomach was full and satisfied. I enjoyed both tapas equally.
Majos y Majas
Liam '24 writes about the dancers and the Pasacalles
I'm a bit confused about the name of this event because it translates to "nice and nice," but the event was a continuation of this morning's parade of folklore dancing and music. It was hosted in front of the town hall in Plaza Mayor. It featured the folkloric dancers of Catalonia, which I have seen before at the aqueduct. Their outfits consisted of the colors black, white, and red, with the women wearing large skirts that swirled out in a cool effect when they spun. My favorite part was seeing the young kids do the traditional dance and seeing them continue the tradition for their generation to preserve the culture.
Evening Concert in the Plaza
Sophie M. '25
Out of all the activities we've attended so far, this one was by far my favorite. Although I wasn't sure what to expect, upon arriving in the Plaza, a large crowd had formed. People were dancing, and at first, I was self-conscious and stayed put, but once I heard their cover of the famous "Let It Be" by the Beatles, I couldn't help but join in. I somehow got myself into a kickstep line with some other teenagers, and laughing and dancing ensued. I sometimes forget how much I love to dance. Not only was the atmosphere invigorating, but the performers were charismatic and incredible. I could've stayed for hours watching the lead singer signal to the crowd. Although it's unlikely that I will see the Grupo de Troupe de Merced again, it's an experience I will never forget.
At 11 pm our whole group left the school and walked out to a herd of people in the center of Plaza Mayor. In the center of the plaza, there is a tall and wide gazebo. In the gazebo, a band was set up. A drummer sat behind two guitarists and one singer. As I joined the crowd of people and gazed up at the band, I noticed how the drummer's eyes were closed and how his head bobbed up and down with his beat. He was in his own world and letting his muscle memory do all the work. The two men in front of him were both tall and skinny and swaying with the music as they strummed their guitars. One was looking out at the crowd of people; he looked happy and proud. The other's eyes were locked on the ground below him and I could see the focus in his face. In the center of all of them was one short woman. She had a furry black jacket on, keeping her warm as she sang her heart out into a small microphone. The top of her head lined up with the guitarist's shoulders, and my eyes were glued to her. As her red lips pressed up on the metal microphone, she sang with so much passion and emotion. As she got louder and hit the higher notes, her eyes shut tight, in focus. Then, as she breathed out and dropped down to lower notes, her wide eyes reopened and she gazed out on a crowd of people cheering her on. Red, blue, green, and white lights shone on their faces and the gazebo behind them. All the songs were in Spanish, but while I couldn't understand them, I could still enjoy and appreciate the talent in the music. Friends and strangers danced around me; others stood with smiles on their faces, lots of people had their phones out capturing the memories, and some even sang along. The vibe was chaotic and exciting.
Puerta de San Frutos
On October 24th, our group went to the "Plaza Mayor" to experience the main events of the San Frutos celebration. The most crowded one, by far, was in front of the cathedral by the statue of San Frutos. Here, a projection was played on the door, showing cool visuals. After doing some research, I could not find the projection's significance, so I bet it is just about attracting guests. Overall, I thought it was pretty interesting, but would definitely have liked a more high-quality recording [of the video mapping for the San Frutos' door at the cathedral].
- Off-Campus Program
- Proctor en Segovia