Cartagena has been celebrating its annual Carthaginians and Romans festival over the past week. There have been various re-enactments of key events in the story including weddings, seaborne landings, a pitch battle and lots of parades.
Yesterday evening we saw the parade of thousands of people from the various troops dressed in their outfits and we also went on to the big camp where each of the groups sets up a bar cum restaurant to raise money for the next year's event.
It's all pretty impressive but, at the same time, it's also old hat; we've seen it before. Alongside the camp there is a market. The traders who spend most of the year selling their overpriced sweets, jewellery and cakes dressed in medieval costume, at medieval markets, don togas for this one. We wandered around, we drank spiced "Roman wine" we ate garum but the stall that impressed me most was one selling a microbrewery beer called Icue.
There's a little statue in one of the main streets here that is called Icue and the locals all call the place he stands Icue Square even though there is no street name to back them up.The statue is of a young lad, one of the ragamuffins whose playground was the sea. The idea is that Icue embodies the Cartagena spirit, the links with the sea. A local sports pundit goes by the same name. The two minibus routes that run through the centre of town are called Icuebus.
The leaflet the beer sellers gave me stresses the quality of the Cartagena water, the quality of the barley and the hops and the American yeast that they use without frothing agents, preservatives, flavour additives, stabilizers etc. 100% natural. Better than the leaflet though was the taste. A really nice change from the usual lagers available here.
There may be microbreweries all over Spain for all I know. There were lots in the UK and I always did my best to help the profits of those enterprises but I don't remember ever seeing anything similar in Spain before.
I will be doing my best to support this particular local enterprise.