*Please note: This post was first published on the blog I kept in 2011 while studying abroad*
Carnaval is the five days leading up to lent where all Europe lets loose. Guys become girls, girls become guys, bankers dress up as pirates, and families of chickens and characters from Toy Story roam the street. Pretty much it’s the State Fair meets Halloween and it’s a blast! Everyone of all age groups dresses up in costume and just has fun.
The nice thing is Carnaval is completely free unless you buy something or go on a ride. A friend and I split a giant cotton candy and several people in our group went on the Octopus ride. Later there was a parade that included mini-marching bands, live music on a few of the floats, and bankers dressed up as pirates sword fighting with the little kids who were watching the parade.
After the parade was done we stumbled across a street of several live music performances and listened for awhile before heading to dinner. There was even an Abba cover band! That night (Saturday) there was a dance at 11:00pm but since I was sick, I decided it was best not to go. I’m happy with what I saw and had a great time!