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Published: April 6th 2012
Before and After the rain......
I've done Semana Santa in Sevilla back in 2002. So I actually planned on spending the Holy Week based in Madrid this time around, perhaps doing day trips to Toledo, Avila, Segovia or Valladolid and heading back to the city where I have been based for 6 weeks now. Back In Andalusia
Well, guess what. My itchy feet led me back to Andalusia. The Madrid procession last Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) must have whetted my appetite to see more of those Nazarenos with their pointed hoods, costaleros swaying in rhythm bearing the "Pasos" on their shoulders. Truly, Semana Santa is at its best in this corner of the world.
It was easy to buy an AVE ticket for that fast train ride to Cordoba. No hotel reservations were made as my niece and I were not exactly decided where best to stay the night in Andalusian country. The weather decided for us. It was raining in Cordoba when we arrived. So we hopped back on the train and proceeded to Sevilla. There we looked for lodgings around the Giralda where a grand procession was about to start. Well, guess what
Procession cancelled. Lone Nazareno on his way to a tasca?
again. The sky opened up and poured like there's no tomorrow. The procession, with all those hooded Nazarenos waiting for their cue, those chairs neatly arranged around the Giralda, was cancelled at the last minute. The avenida -- once strewn with so many pedestrians -- was instantly deserted as the crowds trooped to the nearest tapas bar and tascas. We did what we thought was the next best thing. We hopped on the red turistico bus. With the downpour, it was the only way we can "keep on moving" while trying to view some sites through a windshield blurred by raindrops. We hopped on......never hopped off until our butts grew tired while Sevilla's streets nearly flooded. Gosh, what are we doing here?
The driver of the tourist bus kept saying "It's raining very well in Sevilla". Very well, indeed! He was kind enough to give us back our hop on, hop off ticket to use again the next day. So back to the Giralda area where we found a tapas bar. The Nazarenos have discarded their hoods and robes, ready to pile up plates of tapas and down some bebidos. I stuck to my sangria,
All Preparations Wasted?
Seats arranged neatly around the Cathedral. Then it poured.....
Quezo Manchego, Jamon iberico, chupitos and croquetas. Slept early ..... so un-Spanish. So frustrating. The Morning After
We did our morning round of the Maria Luisa Park first hour in the morning. Had the place nearly to ourselves until bus loads of other tourists descended upon the lovely park. Rounded up the corner to hop on the same red tourist bus, in better weather this time. By that, I mean "no rain... dry" but chilly. We survived the chill, struggling with the light jackets we had on.
Back in the cathedral, we lined up to enter the world's biggest Gothic Cathedral, and the third largest in the world. Hardly known by its official title -- Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See -- this 16th century church is also the resting place of Christopher Columbus. Armed with an audio guide which egged us on to reach the top of the Giralda Tower, we shared the same breathing space along the ramps with so many other tourists. My knees held, and I was rewarded with a splendid view of the cathedral roofs and skyline of this beautiful city, once a major
Maria Luisa Park
Best to go there early.....before bus loads and bus loads of tourists descend upon the park.
trading center --- read: wealthy --- after the Reconquista. The grandeur of this cathedral is a testament to how Sevilla thrived during those years. Back to Cordoba
By the time we trained back to Cordoba, the clouds lifted. From the train station, we didn't waste time and taxied towards the Mesquita, a World Heritage Site.
Originally a pagan temple, then a Christian Church, then a Mosque, and finally a Catholic Church after the Spanish Reconquista. I just love the red and white double arches and the richly-gilded prayer niches. I'm glad these were preserved while alterations or additions were introduced to convert the Mosque into a Catholic church. Like Seville's Giralda Tower, the minaret in Cordoba's Mesquita was transformed into a bell tower of the Cathedral.
To this day, Spanish Muslims have been lobbying to be allowed to worship in the Mesquita. The Vatican refused to permit this. Finally, the Passion Procession
The streets outside the Mesquita drew crowds eager to watch the procession. Finally! There were 8 on this night we were in Cordoba, each with one or 2
Hop On. Hop Off, NOT!
We sat it out on this bus turistico during the downpour. We just wanted to be sure we're moving..... :-(
pasos or religious statues.
Though a bit "unruly" with breaks in the procession, locals weaving right through the procession itself, participants like the "Judios" and "Nazarenos" busily interacting with their friends among the crowd, I'd have to say the procession has not lost its charm. Helped along by the band's music, there is a rhythm about this activity that is evident when costaleros or bearers of the pasos sway especially as they round up the corners and narrow alleys within Cordoba's old town.
I found quite a number of chiquillos y chiquillas donned in Nazareno outfits. How charming. There was even one whose grandfather was lugging a stroller as the toddler insisted to walk! And girl Nazarenos? Most charming, indeed.
By the time the procession was over, the Synagoga was already closed and the Alley of Flowers brimming with a thick crowd of tourists. We found a tasca aptly named 101 Tapas. The old man there welcomed us with a list of the 101 tapas where we simply had to check out which we like. Nice. And easy on the pocket too at €2 per tapa. All that plus an old man's toothy
Tomb of Columbus
Inside the Seville Cathedral lies Cristopher Columbus
smile, complete with a smacking "Buen Provecho". HAPPY EASTER, everyone!
More photos here ..... http://marilil.wordpress.com/category/spain/
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