Once I had decided to buy a house in Spain it was time to fly over, meet the estate agent and view some properties. The full story is told in my book “A Tale of Two Villages”, but today I wish to tell you about a wonderful experience I had on that first trip.
I arrived in Cáceres late on Friday afternoon and, after settling in to my hotel, the estate agent took me to dinner, explaining that he was very sorry, but I would have to fend for myself that weekend.
Saturday dawned and I drove into the centre of Cáceres and parked. Finding the Plaza Mayor, I had some breakfast at a cafe. The rest of the day was spent looking at the modern shops in the new part of the city and exploring the old walled city, which was a maze of narrow cobbled streets and beautiful old buildings.
As my breakfast had been late I missed lunch completely so, beginning to feel hungry in the late afternoon, I returned to the Plaza Mayor, and chose a restaurant that was up on the road leading to the old town. They explained that they weren’t doing food that evening, so I ordered a drink and sat looking over the square, soaking up the atmosphere, thinking that I would go and find a restaurant soon.
However, I soon became aware that the square was filling up with people, so I asked someone on the next table, what was happening. They explained that San Jorge (Saint George) was the patron saint of Cáceres and that there was going to be a spectacle in the square that night.
My hunger forgotten I settled down to await the spectacle, and it truly was worth the wait!
The procession includes people dressed as Moors and Christians and commemorates the defeat of the Moors, using San Jorge killing the dragon as a symbol of that defeat.
A 14 meter long, 2.5 meter wide and 4-meter-high dragon made from wood, cardboard and cloth is paraded through the streets of Cáceres until it reaches the Plaza Mayor. There a Moor attacks it, but he is killed. Then a Christian attacks, but he fails too.
Then San Jorge rides into the square on a white horse and attacks the dragon, with a sword and a lit torch, defeating him, resulting in the dragon going up in flames. What an incredible spectacle, one I shall never forget.
Discovering these beautiful traditions, without planning it, and experiencing them firsthand, is definitely priceless. After all, life can be like that sometimes, you get the best experiences, in an unexpected way.