Sunday, 20 September 2009

La Noche En Blanco

Last night was La Noche En Blanco (White Night). This is a thing that's been happening in Madrid for the last four years, but it's the first time we've actually been. It started in Paris in 2002, and now happens in Brussels, Riga, Bucharest, Valetta and Amsterdam and other places. It's basically an all-night arts festival. Traffic is banned from the centre and the streets are thronged with people. Galleries throw open their doors (and vast queues form). Places that are not normally open to the public host events. There's a beautiful garden on the corner of Cibeles; it's part of the Army's HQ, and normally you'd stand a good chance of being shot if you tried to get in.

MamaDuck arrived back from the UK yesterday afternoon and said she wanted to go. So we hadn't really planned an itinerary, and just spent a few hours wandering around. Lots of people had white balloons, and we finished up in Plaza Mayor where they were being inflated and handed out. There must have been about twenty inflation stations, but the queues to get balloons were lengthy. Being a bit geriatric, we were home by 1am, but the events continue until 6am. The Metro stays open till 3am, instead of closing a 1am as it normally does.

Good fun.


CafeMark said...

I understand that the expression "pasar la noche en blanco" means to have a sleepless night. So to call this event La Noche en Blanco has a more relevant meaning than the literal translation suggests. Funny thing is, I remember Thursday nights wherever I've been as having this potential. Too old and poor now to paint the town red - now there's another expression using a colour...

Anonymous said...

Hi Keefieboy, interesting to read about Madrid. I have yet to visit this city although I can tell you a mildly amusing story of my trip around Andalusia. On the bus returning from Granada to Malaga, eager to catch my flight back home to London, I started noticing it steadily clocking up miles towards Madrid. It didn't take a geographical expert to know that Malaga and Madrid were at opposite sides of the spectrum and I was hurtling in the wrong direction. I have travelled to many countries around the world, but never have I experienced a bus ticket inspector waving me on to a bus going in the completely wrong direction after examining my ticket!!! Needless to say I panicked, told the bus driver to let me out and found myself on the Spanish highway trying to hitch a ride to Malaga. This was after a long thirty minute internal debate with myself thinking 'surely, this bus is not going to Madrid, is it?' Thankfully I made my flight in the end. But I hope to return to Madrid one day under less auspicious circumstances.

nzm said...


Isn't it great to finally live in a country where you can actually overload on homegrown culture and tradition? It's bloody fantastic!

We're in the middle of La Mercè celebrations in Barcelona. Great fun! Seeing the castellers up close yesterday was a thrill.