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Published: March 17th 2011
Thursday 10th February 2010
Up today and moving on to El Rocio a rather bizarre town near the Portugese border.
On the way however as we pass back near Seville and make a detour to ‘Italica’ a roman city of some importance being the birth place of Roman emperor Trajan.
Most impressive is Italica’s amphitheater which seated 25,000 spectators and was the third largest in the Roman Empire. The well-preserved city of ruins seen today were laid out under Hadrian's patronage and known as Hispania Baetica, cobbled Roman streets are visible, and mosaic floors are still in situ.
On arrival at El Rocio we make contact with the Camping and Caravanning Club steward who invites us to join in with the quiz night.
Friday 11th February
Day today for schoolwork and pre weekend food shopping in El Rocio.
El Rocio is situated in the heart of the Doñana park national park. The town of is a sprawling, pretty Wild-West-style place ( you tie your horse to a wooden rail with a sign saying "Reservado Caballos" - reserved for horses - while you have a drink or a meal), with sandy, unpaved roads.
For a few
days in late May or early June, Catholic hermandades (brotherhoods) and countless others flock from all over Andalucia, and beyond, to the town, to pay tribute to the Virgin del Roció, housed in her own church in the town. Each of the 106 brotherhoods has its own house with stables, as well as its own chapel, with its name displayed at the front. Its members and their friends and families, and their horses, eat and sleep here during the pilgrimage weekend and other select weekends during the year.
Today the town is almost deserted, reminiscent of the wild west town with tumble weed blowing down the main street little did we know that that would change dramatically over the weekend.
Saturday 12th February 2010
We take a walk into town where horses and / or carts are the preferred mode of transport.
Four brotherhoods are in town bringing a livelier feel to the place. On the lake flamingos search for food with other waders. In the church candles are lit in memory of the dear departed.
We sit at a café and watch the world go by mostly on horseback.
Sunday 13th February 2010
The brotherhoods parade separately to the church, the place is packed. Supporters arrive by the coach load, a total contrast to earlier in the week when the place was deserted. Unfortunately heavy rain in the afternoon dampens proceedings.
Monday 14th February 2010
School day and domestics.
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