*Click HERE for a video of my San Mateo 2016*
It seems like every city in Spain has their own week of festivales, or holidays where they get the week off to celebrate. I live in the capital of La Rioja, where they produce so much wine that it’s cheaper than water. San Mateo is the week-long wine harvest festival celebrated here in Logroño every September. If you recall from my last post, I got an apartment in the center of the city the day before San Mateo started. I woke up after my first night in the new apartment to the sound of banging drums and trumpets from the parades passing by my front door. This would be the theme (and alarm clock) for the entire week that followed.
During my first week in Logroño, I met a couple people skating -Daniel & Luis- in plaza Espolón across from my new place. We played a couple games of skate (similar to “Horse” in basketball) and swapped numbers so we could meet up to skate later. This was my first time meeting any locals, so I was hyped when Daniel invited me to party with him his friends for San Mateo.
One of my best friends and new roommate Ian was set to arrive to Logroño later on that Saturday. Time is important here, because I got to Daniel’s apartment to pregame at 10:30am and was expected to be sober enough at 7:00pm to meet Ian at the train station and show him the way home. We started drinking calimocho in the morning until I added my own twist of rum for my second refill before heading out for “El Chupinazo”. El Chupinzao translates to something like “The big gulp”, and is how they kick off the week at 12:00pm. The town hall was packed with people- many who were spraying red wine at each other. Each new stain on my shirt came with a new sense of pride. There were concerts or shows in every direction that we walked, and the streets were flooded with people drinking, hanging out, and watching the parades.
Time went by really fast that afternoon. After getting some pinchos to eat with new friends, I made my way to the train station to fetch Ian. I greeted him with a “Welcome to Spain” swig of calimocho from my bota and showed him the way to our new apartment. I introduced Ian to our new friends, and we went back to out to the madness. We didn’t get back in until 7:00am and there were still people out in the streets. There were tons of events for the rest of the week as las fiestas continued.
They even had a skate contest that Wednesday at the Ayuntamiento (Town hall). They had a mini ramp there and a bunch of ramps and ledges and other obstacles. I was able to enter the contest where I met a bunch of the same people I skate with regularly now. I won an Element hat for doing a wallie onto the hubba hahaha I’m on the way up out here.
Having moved to Logroño just that week, San Mateo was the best way to be welcomed into the new city. The best part of it all was being able to celebrate San Mateo with locals, who by now have become good friends. One week after El Chupinazo, everybody gathered at the town hall for a farewell ceremony and the symbolic burning of a wooden cask to signify the end of the fiesta. Back to work everybody- A trabajar! Once it was over, I had another two weeks until I was set to start work at my school on October 1st.