Sunday, 5 April 2009

Day Four - Cadiz

That´s a lot to take in in one day. I took a lovely trip across to Cadiz from El Puerto de Santa Maria in an old boat called El Vapor. I saw some sea birds that I will attempt to name at some later date but some of whom I may have once known the names of. Cadiz is an interesting place, reminding me of Valleta in Malta to a degree. It was interesting to walk around and take in the mix of old architecture. I am not sure what I was expecting, except that I was told to expect that public holidays would throw a spanner in the plans which they did today - the cathedral being closed due to the Semana Santa festival. I did get to see the art gallery though and the castle. I had a few flashes of imagnitive apprehension of the gravity a past now largely lost but somehow giving very brief glimpses of itself when you are not looking.
The Hostel here is really friendly which really improves the quality of the stay.

This Semana Santa thing though is really something else. Those guys with the pointy hats are really terrifying. We just came back from Plaza de Espangne where we saw a cart carrying an image of Christ being beaten on it. Apparently it weighs about 600kg and takes about twenty people to carry it. This was not the time for jokes about wanting to buy a hat, with devout older ladies taking the proceeding very seriously. I could not ascertain entirely well, but I gathered from what people were saying that the figures on the carts are thought to be more than simply reminder of the invisible omnipresent Christ but that they are possess a kind of entity status similar to that of a Hindu type of deity. I think this may vary from person to person, but I got the impression that prayers and promises were offered to the figures. If this is correct, Martin Luther would not, I should imagine, be entirely in favour......
The strange thing was the whole thing had the feeling a 1977 street party. The people seemed really together and at ease with one another which was great to be a part of. My guide was a friendly Spanish guy called Daniel, not known to have been to any Royal street parties but something of a veteran of the whole procession thing. The other thing it was similar to is the New Orleans brass band funeral. The band here had that kind of sway and were dressed in black too.
More later I expect... the Semana Santa goes in til next Sunday.

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