Thursday, April 19, 2012

Semana Santa Recap

It was such, SUCH a joy to have Elizabeth here with me in Spain for two weeks. The time was special and my only complaint is that it went too quickly!

Easter Sunday (in front of the Cathedral, in Toledo):

I had to work the first week after she arrived. She came with me to school for one day of teaching and for a field trip. The kids loved her! They thought it was so, so funny that we look so similar. And yes, Dad, many people asked if we were twins. And yes, many also asked if she is older...When I am 45 I will appreciate that, right?!

We began our travels in Madrid. We stayed in a simple hotel in Plaza San Miguel. It was well situated (near the main sights) and is home to the Mercado San Miguel, which is well known for fresh foods and delicious tapas.

We toured the Royal Palace, the Prado Art Museum, the Cathedral, Sorolla's House and Art Museum, Parque del Buen Retiro, and only a few stores! We also took a day trip to nearby El Escorial to tour the impressive monastery (more like a palace!) there. It was a busy few days, but we had beautiful weather!

Churros con chocolate:

Parque del Buen Retiro:

Royal Palace:

Sorolla House/Museum:

Monastery, El Escorial:

From Madrid we traveled by bus to Cordoba. There we encountered our first Semana Santa procession! We also toured the incredible Mosque (which was turned into a Cathedral during the Reconquista). Our stay was short but sweet!

Processions (Cordoba):

La Mezquita:

From Cordoba we went to Sevilla. Sevilla is THE destination for Semana Santa processions. It was packed-absolutely packed; the crowds were exhausting and overwhelming. We did see some amazing floats, and I very grateful I experienced a Sevillana Semana Santa. We also toured the Cathedral (which holds a world record for size!). climbed the impressive bell tower, and took in the royal palace. And we saw a flamenco show!

Cathedral in Sevilla:

View from the top of the tower (which was how Muslims were called to prayer before the Reconquista; a horse carried the prayer leader all the way up!):


The beautiful gardens:

Plaza de España (my new favorite place!):

Unfortunately, as we left Cordoba the weather changed, and we had to deal with rain for the rest of our trip. We actually ended up taking a night bus home, because the most famous processions were canceled due to the rain (they take place from 11:00pm on Holy Thursday until the afternoon of Good Friday).

We then had a quiet Easter weekend together in Toledo. I think we were both grateful for a more relaxed pace. And, we watched more processions from my balcony! The processions were very different between Andalucia (Cordoba and Sevilla) and Toledo; in Sevilla it is more like a noisy parade, a spectacle, a party. In Toledo the processions are much more solemn (at least on Good Friday, fittingly) and have a more religious feel. I appreciated that.

Good Friday procession (Toledo):

I forgot! We spent our afternoons in Toledo touring all the sights and eating at my favorite spots.

Toledo Cathedral:

(At night, obviously)

(interior, also obvious, I suppose)

Isn't she a beauty?

As I said, it was a wonderful two weeks! I hope to soon have my pictures edited and uploaded to my Picasa page soon! In the morning I am heading to my beloved Salamanca in the morning! I am looking forward to showing my friends around my old stomping grounds!

My time here is going so quickly! It is hard to believe...but, in two weeks Jarrod will be here-I can't wait!

Un abrazo.