Friday, April 14, 2017

Complicated Caceres

John reminded me that it was my idea to come to Caceres, to spend Palm Sunday, also my birthday this year. Everything.

1. Caceres, much plugged by all the guidebooks, is really a tiny hilltop old village surrounded by urban sprawl, exactly the kind of town guidebooks always scoff. Furthermore, most of the buildings in the old town have been expropriated for governmental use, i.e. not lively.

2. We arrived a day earlier just so we could make a day trip to Trujillo. The bus we wanted to take was full; even if we waited another two hours for the next bus, we couldn't be sure that we could return. So we punted the whole trip. Lots people are traveling on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, known as Passion Saturday here.

3. For the first time on this trip we found ourselves having to cool our heels, which was actually a welcome respite, except I wish we had bigger quarters, Palm Sunday weekend hotel rooms are at a premium. :( We did some catching up on blogging and rearranging itineraries.

4. Caceres is actually considered one of the major destinations in Spain for Semana Santa (Holy Week - Easter). There were many Spanish tourists in town. The tourist publication for Semana Santa is 1/4 inch thick, detailing twenty some processions over 9 days. We caught one on Saturday (skipped one that was on the outskirts) and three on Sunday.

5. We have seen a few processions over the years. In Caceres, the number of participants in each of the processions was impressive, much thanks to urban sprawl. Each procession had its own matching outfits, quite a pageant. It then dawned on me that this is exactly the crux of procession - membership. After the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors, processions must have been as an effective means for ascertaining affiliation as The Inquisition. It is also no coincidence that the number one culinary specialty Spain is ham. So it would seem that their rituals and culinary traditions are defined as reactions to Moorish occupation. Considering Extremadura being the poorest region in Spain, these people seemed particularly reactionary.

6. My birthday, of course, took a backseat to Palm Sunday processions. However I did enjoy a special cake, Tecula Mecula, an almond tart from the region, at the Parador.

We arrived in Caceres during the afternoon siesta. Plaza Mayor was dead.
Plaza Mayor - Caceres, Spain

But we checked out the Old Town and the very cool Arab Cistern beneath the City Museum.
Caceres, Spain

Arab Cistern - Caceres, Spain

Then after a rest headed out for some night views of the Old Town.
Caceres, Spain

Caceres, Spain

Caceres, Spain

Plaza Mayor was now much more lively.
Caceres, Spain

Lunch at Brotes Verdes, a vegetarian restaurant less than 5 minutes walk from our hotel. Although the location was great, the prices reasonable, the wi-fi free, the staff helpful, and the vibe cool, the food was average to below average. NOT recommended.
Passion Saturday - Caceres, Spain

Procession No. 1 started outside town, went across a bridge where the floats had to be lowered almost to the ground to get through, and then a kilometer up and into Plaza Mayor. First, Jesus.
Passion Saturday - Caceres, Spain

Passion Saturday - Caceres, Spain

Each float had its own band.
Passion Saturday - Caceres, Spain

We were pleased to see a few women among the men carrying the floats. The next day, one of the floats was carried mostly by women.
Passion Saturday - Caceres, Spain

Then Mother Mary in this video.


And the link, if the video will not play, is here.

Passion Saturday - Caceres, Spain

Passion Saturday - Caceres, Spain

The floats enter Plaza Mayor which is a great "space"; there are many places to sit/stand/lean and just about all have a great view of the whole plaza.
Passion Saturday - Caceres, Spain

Passion Saturday - Caceres, Spain

Passion Saturday - Caceres, Spain

Passion Saturday - Caceres, Spain

Our hotel, with Holy Week banners.
Passion Saturday - Caceres, Spain

Hams. Most likely acorn fed - the local specialty.
Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

The Palm Sunday processions.
Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

We were able to watch one of the Sunday processions from our hotel room balcony. Luck.
Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

We caught up with the procession in crowded Plaza Mayor as the floats came down the stairs from the Old Town.
Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Over to the Parador for a birthday coffee and Tecula Mecula tart for Sun-Ling's birthday.
Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

The street cleaner in our corner of the city seemed to be humming along every daylight hour.
Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

The evening processions.

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain



Link here.

This procession had legions of participants, many of the children, and had singers in addition to the bands, which I caught in the following video. It's quite a spectacle. A women standing next to us was moved to tears by the music, the song, and the image of Mary .



Link here.

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Every few minutes or so, the floats stop to rest and sometimes switch bearers.
Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

The second evening procession.
Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

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Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

Palm Sunday - Caceres, Spain

And into Plaza Mayor.
Holy Week - Caceres, Spain

Holy Week - Caceres, Spain

Holy Week - Caceres, Spain

Holy Week - Caceres, Spain
















1 comment:

Kathy said...

Congratulations on the birthday. Many happy returns.