Unabashedly still putting catch-up posts up from this past year. Continued from trip with Amanda to southern Spain during my Easter week vacations from teaching in Galicia... After Granada we trained to the lovely, pristine Sevilla. Granada had the mountain, rugged, hippi vibes, but Sevilla felt like the uppity J.Crew city of southern Spain. The architecture was daintier, with more of a sense of being "planned." There were several points of interest around the city connected with America because it is the city from where Columbus set sail for the New World. There was a whole garden dedicated to the fauna brought back over with plants there being hundreds of years old. Because it was Semana Santa (the week before Easter) everyone had the whole week as holidays and were attending events all week. There were people everywhere dressed to the nines in suits and dresses off to parties. We found a breakfast spot that had the quintessential barista who was a hyper-energetic middle aged man who had the shift working like a well oiled machine. You come in and order and they slap in down in seconds. The coffee was rico and the toast with tomato perfect. They had a bowl of the biggest olives I've ever seen on the counter. Both mornings he gave us a sampler plate. The best olives I've ever partaken. However, I can't recommend the coffee + olive combination.
One of the coolest things about being in Andalucia in Semana Santa was getting to see the Easter parades. They were unlike anything I've ever seen. I guess being a southerner I've only seen football-centered parades, or at least celebration themed parades. These were solemn processions of certain groups. The way I understood it was that each neighborhood or local church organizes their group to walk in the parade, they hire a band from a small town or nearby, and march with a saint or Christ statue from their church through the town, sometimes through the cathedral, and then back to its home church. Sometimes these processions take ten hours! Each parade starts a certain time so they are staggered continuously throughout the week. The people under the statue floats (I'm sorry, I know that conveys a homecoming float with crepe paper, but I can't think of another word) switch out throughout the day to relieve the tired marchers. They were these turban-esque things to protect their heads. The bands play this soul-penetratingly solemn music. The women marching with them carry candles and some kids run up trying to get them to drop wax on these little foil balls. The streets look really cool the next day with little wax droplets all over them. My favorite moment was when we went up to the roof terrace of our hostel to get a better view of the parade (Zacchaeus style?) and met a Danish girl and her mother who offered to share their dinner with us. Eventually an Israeli guy living in London joined us as well. The conversations were captivating, especially with the Danish mom continually asserting that she's a socialist and told us stories about how she had driven a van from Denmark to India four times and back spreading socialist values.
Lots of food in Spain had roquefort cheese...I found a new love!