Is it just me, or do you sometimes feel more connected with your national roots as an expat than you ever did in your homeland? As an American, this sensation manifests itself in weird ways too: celebrating holidays like Flag Day (seriously), coloring Easter eggs, carving pumpkins, and line dancing.
Yes, you read that correctly. Country line dancing. Here in Madrid.
Not too long ago, I discovered a country western festival happening out at a ranch called El Encuentro near San Sebastián de los Reyes (about 20km north of the city of Madrid).
I went, I saw, and I was utterly amazed.
I also found out that the ranch hosts line dancing and dinner on weekends. I filed the experience under the category “I can’t believe this happens in Spain” and vowed to return.
A couple of weekends ago, I made that inevitable trip back to El Encuentro, where every Friday and Saturday night a crowd of dedicated country-lovers gathers. Friday, a little more beginner-friendly, Saturday, slightly more advanced. With my group of American friends, we went on Saturday, certain our cultural connection with country would elevate us to advanced status (haha!).
Decorated with Native American paraphernalia and American flags (some more appropriate than others), the ranch-style house fit the part. Then, the “authentic American” dinner menu almost hit the mark with its long list of hamburgers, Grand Canyon nachos, and ribs. Never mind the random mention of croquetas and jamón (I can hardly go a day without them, how can I expect the Spaniards to either?).
After filling up on hamburgers that tasted more like meatloaf than anything else, the line dancing began. Spaniards – dressed in cowboy hats, belt buckles, flannel t-shirts and of course cowboy boots – took to the dance floor like professionals. We Americans just watched in awe, clearly lacking both the commitment and skills.
A few notes of Achy Breaky Heart, though, and our love of cheesy country tunes overcame us. Mostly, we had no idea what we were doing, and just hoped that our American-ness would compensate. Truthfully, though, looking like fools never felt so good. Still can’t believe what you’re reading? Head over to my blog where I’ve got video proof of all the country line dancing awesomeness (apart from me dancing – please!).
Hitchhike, horseback ride or make friends with someone with a car – do whatever it takes to get your booty out to this joint to experience the American tradition at its finest…in Spain. You won’t regret it.
Honky Tonky at El Encuentro
Camino viejo de Barajas s/n.
Ctra. N-I km. 23- salida Algete
28700 San Sebastián de los Reyes
Tel.: 91 623 68 82
Mov.: 600 428 945