Monday, May 11, 2015

Spring in Spain

Bridging the mountain top and driving into the Valle de Jerte, I thought morning frost grayed trees and slopes, but as we descended, we began to see the white cherry blossoms covering yards and fields and
extending for miles beside the winding road and scaling the rolling hills.
Spring in Madrid blooms from the early almendra (almond) trees to forsythia to the cherry trees spilling down the sides of the Valle de Jerte west of the city. I have been to Spain several times in the summer - sultry July before or after La Fiesta de San Fermin in Pamplona - and a couple of times in either November or March. I am enchanted by this spring with cool mornings and nights, bright sunshine afternoons, cool-in-the-shade days. And to watch the rebirth after seeing only the dusty, dying green of fall dwindle to winter is a reward of seasons.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking in the center.

Almendra blooms first in spring
Forsythia at the Prado
Rich and I celebrated the season with a venture into old Madrid to watch the Semana Santa procession from San Isidro el Real, the church holding the remains of the patron saint of Madrid, Isidore the laborer and his wife Santa Maria. Seville in southern Spain is best known for the processions during Holy Week, but all communities have processions when the relics and icons from the churches are paraded through the streets on the shoulders of young men honored to carry the burden. 
Crowd waits for the procession
The crowd at San Isidro waited hours to view the procession and included young children entertained by the opportunity to play in the blocked streets to chicos drawn to the fiesta atmosphere to older adults who know the best viewpoints.

Lights in street indicate
icon in procession

Dolorosa in procession
The quality of my photos of the procession suffers from distance and growing dusk and tripod lack, but I hope they help you imaging the ritual draw and excitement of the religious event. 

Then weeks later, in Cordoba to meet friends from the U.S., Rich and I heard the drumbeat cadence of a procession and edged into front row standing to watch the passing.

Procession in Cordoba

Leading the procession

Note feet of carriers beneath skirt

Musicians following procession

Earlier in the spring, we ventured to the mountains west of Madrid for a four-day drive to spend nights in Paradors, to hike in the Sierra de Gredos, to substitute cherry trees in the Valle de Jerte for those we would miss in Washington, and to visit the walled medieval pueblo of Caceres.
Wisteria blooms in Caceres

Jonquils in Sierra de Gredos
Medieval Caceres
Sierra de Gredos

Hiking in the
Sierra de Gredos

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures and areas around Spain. I love love love that waterfall--as it cascades down that mountain. WOW--you know how much we love waterfalls.

    Lots of festivals/processions.... NEAT!!! Hope you write a book when you get home...

    Heard from Cindy this week... That was great --hearing from her. Maybe sometime we can all meet up somewhere..

    Have fun in Spain and keep on learning that Spanish!!!!