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Published: April 22nd 2011
I tried to sign up others from Patch Barracks so that the German tour company would provide an English speaking guide for our tour to Andalusia, Spain for Passion Week. In the end we only had four couples. However, at each stop our German guide tried to link us up with an English speaking guide. I was very impressed with their willingness to go above and beyond for us.
18 April 1984 Wednesday. So early Wednesday morning found us on another charter flight, this time from Stuttgart to Almeria, Spain. Upon arrival all 40 or so of us boarded the tour bus that would be our home for the next week. Our first destination was Grenada.
Our first stop on the tour of Grenada was to the Alhambra. This palace/fortress was constructed in the 14th century by the Moors. The most interesting part for me was their use of water in reflecting pools and fountains to air condition the courtyards and rooms of the palace. Our guide explained to us each room such as the Royal Complex and the Hall of the Ambassador with their decorative artwork, and the courtyards such as the Court of the Lions. That evening
we watched the pasos procession.
Passion Week in Andalusia is best known for the religious processions. On each evening of the week, different hermandads (brotherhoods or parishes) take their pasos (floats) with figures of the Virgin Mary or Christ on a procession through the town. The pasos are carried by about 40 castaleros, and are followed by a large number of nazarenos (penitents) in long hooded gowns like the KKK. The procession included children carrying candles. They collect the melting wax into large balls, and they also handed out candy to the onlookers. Our first exposure to this sight was quite disconcerting as it took some getting used to thinking that those in the KKK-type of outfits were really good people. Although the procession was solemn, the kids seemed to be having fun with the wax balls and candy.
19 April 1984 Thursday. We drove to Cordoba and after lunch we visited the Cathedral-Mosque. The church was originally a pagan temple and then a Christian church, and during the Moorish times was a combined church and mosque. The building is huge, with 856 columns holding up Moorish arches made of marble, granite, jasper, and onyx. That evening for
dinner we went to a flamenco establishment, and enjoyed the traditional dance of this part of Spain while eating delicious food.
20 - 21 April 1984 Friday and Saturday. We drove to Seville. First, we visited the Cathedral, a massive gothic structure built from 1409 to 1519, where Christopher Columbus is entombed. Much of Seville’s prosperity had to do with Columbus as only ships sailing from this port were authorized to trade with the Spanish colonies in the New World. The Giralda, or the bell tower for the Cathedral, was based upon the minaret of the original mosque that stood on this site. Then we toured the Alcazar, which was an old Moorish palace with beautiful gardens. We then walked around the narrow streets in the area, and peered through iron gates into the courtyards with their splashing fountains and profusion of flowers. We also visited the Maria Luisa Park, built for the 1929 World Fair, and strolled around the grounds and across the bridges that spanned the steams flowing from the pools. Each evening we watched the pasos in procession.
22 April 1984 Sunday. We drove to Cadiz to see the port which replaced Seville when the
river silted up. Then we proceeded pass the Straits of Gibraltar through Marbella to Torremolinos, a hippy haven in the 60’s, where we stayed in a hotel on the beach. It was a bit early in the season for swimming; although the air temperatures were hot, the water was cold. We walked along the beach and window shopped.
23 April 1984 Monday. We drove to Malaga for a quick tour of the town before proceeding to the airport where we caught our flight back to Stuttgart.
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