Well, having the week off I find interesting, but the Semana Santa celebrations held throughout Spain are sooooooooooo boring. The first time I saw one of the traditional processions, I initially found the phenomenon rather interesting. After the first hour or so, however, my mind started wandering -- and wondering what the big deal was about. I ended up feeling like I was at a slow motion, humorless Mardi Gras parade on downers.
I find Barcelona a good place to spend this holiday week because there are not very many Semana Santa spectacles, and, therefore they are easy to avoid. In many other cities, especially in Andalusia, they seem to almost completely take over the streets. I speak from some experience, because despite my negative reaction to that first Semana Santa scene, I have given it a try in various Spanish cities, including Alicante, Granada, Malaga and Palma de Majorca.
Instead of the memory of that experience fading, it has actually expanded to include fantastic images of myself being pursued by penitents down Granada's ancient streets, which in my mind seem to wind around in an Escher-like labyrinth. I try to get away from them and turn one corner after another only to keep stumbling upon more giant icons looming above throngs of mesmerized people wearing tunics, hoods and masks. As I am pushed and shoved around I sense that the participants are all trying to absorb me into the crowd so that I will be converted into one of the hordes of zombies condemned to an eternity of watching the monotonous marches go...by...so...very...very...slowly.
So, having experienced traditional Semana Santa events in the past, when this time of year rolls around I flatly refuse to go to places like Seville and Cadiz, which are supposed to have some of the "best" celebrations. No, I prefer to be on a beach somewhere in Catalonia.
Hasta siempre amig@s,