Sunday, May 18, 2014

Semana Santa Trip Part 2: Jerez de la Frontera and Arcos de la Frontera

     From Fuenteheridos we rode south with a nice couple to Jerez de la Frontera, a flamenco capital. They wanted to drive us to the hotel but we encountered roadblocks and policemen once we neared the center of town. It was Sunday, and the processions of Holy Week had began. Processions take place throughout Spain every day of Holy Week, but Andalucía does it best and takes it most seriously. Every town does things slightly differently. The general outline is that a lot people dress up, mostly in Ku Klux Klan style outfits (of course, this has been going on in Spain much longer than the Klan's existence), others in army uniforms with instruments, others in robes, and they walk around the town. All ages participate. Depending on the day, people also carry enormous Pasos, or floats, some with Jesus and others with the Virgin Mary. They are not light, and are usually carried on the shoulders of many men who stand beneath the floats for hours at a time.

There is Jesus on the Cross
     We got dropped off near our hostel, which happened to be right in the middle of the procession. The streets were completely full and everyone was wearing their Sunday best as we walked by unshowered with big backpacks and hiking clothes. We got to the hostel, changed and went out.

There's the Virgin Mary
     Processions last for a long time. The closer it is to Easter, the longer they last. More on that later. Needless to say, as we walked around the city, we kept running into the Procession and had to either wait for it to pass or turn back and go a different way.

     Above is a kid with a big candle. Kids not in the procession gather on the side and have sticks with balls of wax on the end and ask the people with candles to kindly drip the melted wax onto their balls to make them bigger. Nothing more to say here.

The same Paso passing through a plaza hours later. 
     These processions move very slowly. Everyone walks in time to the somber music of the band playing and very couple of minutes everyone stops, maybe to give the float-bearers a rest, and they do various things. Some of the people in the parade go barefoot.

Not spooky at all
     I'll be talking a bit more about these Processions in the next post. Here's a picture of a sign outside of a restaurant. 

I think "papatoes" is spelled wrong but other than that it looks okay.
     Jerez was a lovely town I would like to visit again to see some flamenco. During Holy Week the flamenco stops to make way for other events. The next day we took a bus to Arcos de la Frontera, a white pueblo on a hill.

A corner of Arcos de la Frontera
A street in Arcos de la Frontera
     The village was enjoyable to walk around, though very steep. Villages in the south of Spain tend to be built eiither on a hill, cliff, or in a valley. They are almost never flat. From the town we could see our next destination, the Sierra de Grazalema. We had a tasty meal while we were in Arcos, with one of the best flans I've eaten.


1 comment:

  1. Greetings! Very supportive opinion on this article! This is the modest changes which make the greatest changes. A big Thanks for sharing this!
    Dinero Casa