Semana Santa pt2

Finally! Semana Santa pt 2! I have had so much trouble trying to upload these photos. After all that trouble this is what came out, so I’m gonna stick with it.  The problem is that the photos remind me of the events that happened, so I know what to talk about.  If there’s any pictures missing, I’m likely to forget something. So here’s the rest of semana santa, as I remember it……

After a few days in Pais Vasco, I was ready to move on.  I had a flight to catch in Santander, the capital city of Cantabria.  I really wanted the time to visit them both; Both cities have their own unique characteristics, and what’s more is that the countryside in Cantabria is very interesting to me.  It is very mountainous and  seems like it has a lot of character and culture.  However, after spending most of my time in Bilbao, I had no time left to really explore Cantabria, I had a flight to catch out of Santander at 2:30 (I remember!)

I headed to the bus station in Bilbao in the morning just to buy my ticket since the station was so close to the hostel, and to my surprise all the tickets that went to the airport that morning had been sold out.  So my only other option was to buy a bus ticket to Santander city center and then catch another bus to the airport.  At this point I was thinking, what luck, maybe I will actually get to see some of the city that I was hoping to see.  The only problem was that the bus would get me into the city center at 1, and my plane took off at 2:30.  I crossed my fingers and bought the ticket.

A little after 1PM I was here………….

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In Santander

From there, I had to figure out how to get to the airport.  Luckily for me, I sat next to the nicest woman on the bus, and she helped me navigate my way to where I needed to go. She found the bus that I needed to take and I went on my way to the airport.  It was the easiest airport I’ve ever been to.  I went through security twice and still made my plane.  I had to go through security twice because I didn’t stop to get my pass stamped at the Ryanair kiosk, but it was no trouble I made it with plenty of time to waste. It’s moments like these that remind me of my American preoccupation with time. I worried all morning that I wouldn’t make the plane and after going through security twice and rushing myself around, I got myself on-line to board the plane calmly 30 minutes later.

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This has to be a good sign right?

It literally must have taken 10 minutes to board, and we took off.  The flight was not only calm, but also punctual. We made it to Sevilla at 3:30, right on time.  Upon arrival in Sevilla I was, again, completely lost and without a plan.  I asked some dude for directions who turned out to be a real nice, native sevillano.  I talked with him and is wife for a little.  When I knew where was going, I headed to the bus stop and just missed my bus twice.  I was upset and in a hurry like any good American should be.  I didn’t have to say a word before an airport worker stepped up to help me out. He sat me down and said he’d wait with me, so that I wouldn’t miss the bus again.  He was a nice guy, and we chatted for a while.  He showed me some pictures of a race that he and his wife had just run and I shared some of my photos of Bilbao.  I was finally in Sevilla, the heart of semana santa, and glad to have finally made it.

The thing about Sevilla is that it’s got to be the most famous destination for semana santa processions, and as the most famous destination, it has the most people, all packed in the city center for the whole week.  Coincidentally, the hostel that I had booked was also in the city center, right next to the cathedral.  The city center of Sevilla is a mace of alley-like streets, going every way, and all the people just make it harder to navigate during semana santa.  Lucky for me, the woman on the bus who I asked directions from was also a native sevillana and she worked in a tourist office.  What’s more is that she had the same stop as me on the bus.  She marked my map up with directions and we got off the bus.  After that it was all cake and I made to the hostel peacefully.  Well as peaceful as one can be in Sevilla during semana santa.

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There were tons of people in all the procession locations, but we took the time to leave the center a little and explore some other parts of the city.  I got to see some of Sevilla’s landmarks for the second time, but they never get old, it’s a great city.

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A Tower at “Plaza de España”

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Guadalquivir River

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The river there is so cool because it’s big, as far as Spanish rivers go.  There’s some pretty big boats that go down it and it’s cool to see.  Actually it’s the river that the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria took; they departed from the port of Sevilla, to discover the new world.

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Sevilla’s “Plaza de Toros”

The yellow is Sevilla’s characteristic type of yellow, it has a name I just can’t remember it. Yellow and red are the two colors that represent Sevilla.

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City of Color y Calor

Sevilla is maybe my favorite city in Spain for its climate, the color and above all the people.  The Spanish say that the Cádiz is the nicest place, but I’ve met some pretty good people in Sevilla too.  The Spanish are generally good people and every place is special to me.  I think the hardest part of traveling here is deciding to not go back to somewhere you’ve already grown to like, but instead exploring somewhere new. In whichever case, vale la pena. I hated to say goodbye, but as they say there’s no place like home. Even though Granada’s not really home, it is more familiar, and it felt good to go back and have that comfort of familiarity.  I was comfortable, but semana santa was not over yet, it was only Holy Wednesday.

I missed most of the silent processions of Wednesday, which I heard were awesome because the silence allows you to hear the chains jangle that the penitentes (holy week participants) wear.  I also missed Maundy Thursday’s procession of the gypsies, which was also amazing I heard; bystanders would chant a flamenco song whenever they felt inspired, but still totally unchoreographed.  However….I did make it to Good Friday and Holy Saturday, check it out!

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A “Cofradia” that Wears Black

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A “Cofradia” that Wears Purple

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Paso of Jesucristo on The Cross

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Check out the detail on these pasos, they’re made with a wood frame!

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Mantillas

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My host brother “Lucas” snuck into most of these photos

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Here comes another paso

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I caught only a little bit of this procesión that night

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This is only kind of rare in Spain, so I took the opportunity….

The next day (Holy Saturday) was one big procession.  It was literally one procession that made its way around town all day, and it was really cool.

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A Cofradia that Wears Blue

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Mantillas

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$1,000,000 View

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Niños piden Cera

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Some other outfits…

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They look like they’re ready to conquer a new land

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Mantillas

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It’s common for kids to bring their “bolas de cera” or wax balls to every procession. They do this every year and every year their wax balls grow.

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Depiction of Lifeless Body of Jesus

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In case you didn’t see the feet under the pasos, here’s proof that they are carried by men on their heads

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That night I went back to see the procession again, it was the same procession all day but yet way different at night.  This one was particularly different because instead of standing on the side of the road, all the spectators followed the pasos up to the Alhambra, where the procession ended.  It was way cool to follow the pasos up the hill for about an hour was hard enough, but I can’t imagine how the participants felt.  Those in the band had to carry up their heavy instruments and what’s worse is those who had the job of bearing the weight of that heavy paso.

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Here is the door to the Alhambra.  This is where the procession ended.

The week was a great experience to travel, see and feel.  The processions of semana santa remind you that it’s all really about sacrifice.  I said it all week, and I’ll say it again, “I wish all year was semana santa!”

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After all those festivities, some cleaning was in order. (Spain is the cleanest place I’ve ever seen)

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