Being in Spain in October can mean one thing – we will go to the Mercadillo Cervantino in Alcalá de Henares, one of the biggest historical markets in both Spain and Europe.
A fair full of colours, lively music, sellers dressed up in clothes from 17th century and stands on which you can buy everything! From fresh olives to wooden games, from fancy soaps to clothes, from colourful candies to vegetable jams and honeys, from all types of jewellery to spices and teas, from wreaths to talismans. And almost all of it is hand-made!!!
Children can ride a donkey or a camel. Or have a photo with a bird of prey. Or ride on an old wooden carousel powered by a lever and a strong arm. You can meet Don Quichot and Sancho Panza riding through streets or a group of street musicians. You can see blacksmiths, carpenters, basket weavers at work. There are astronomers predicting your future, snake charmers, falconers wandering through the streets, street clowns and even a knight tournament!
Streets are full of people and of noise. Smells are incredible. Food is delicious. It’s like a huge fair of colourful joy! After all Spanish people know how to have fun and will use every opportunity to meet with friends and family.
Mercadillo started in the year 2000 and was such a big hit that it soon became a tradition, an event expected by everyone. It also spread among the whole Spain, even smaller towns have their own markets throughout the year. In Alcalá it’s a part of a Cervantes’ Week celebrating the anniversary of the baptism of this great Spanish novelist. He is assumed to be born in Alcalá and was baptised here on 9th of October. Besides the market there are several cultural events taking place.