Timing is everything. Left Segovia and enjoyed a quiet ride through farmland to Avila. Arrived in time to watch their Palm Sunday festivities. Have to admit that we were a little confused about the ceremony. Enjoyed they’re sincerity and enthusiasm. We were in Avila primarily to see the medieval walls of this ancient city.
We then moved on west to Salamanca, a city of a couple hundred thousand people. Light rain and showers on the plain. Found the hotel easily and got through the two separate security doors into the garage. Garages are real important in cities. Overnight parking is almost impossible for the non-local. Back to the story.
Check in. Store bags. Walk into the Old City for tapas and a small beer. We head for the Plaza Mayor and we were in for a great surprise. We found ourselves in a crowd with thousands. The pictures will tell the story. Let it be said that we were both moved by the spectacle and the emotion exhibited by the cast of thousands.
From the plaza, the procession moved on to the cathedral the Bishop followed the Jesus “float”. The float, for lack of the proper term, is carried by at least a hundred men who manage to coordinate their moves and turns like a millipede. Of course the bands played and the people cheered. The kids are part of the Brotherhood of Jesus, the Friend of Children – my translation.
We reach the cathedral. The crowds with their palms and branches celebrate the arrival of Jesus. All the while the band is playing appropriate music of joy. The millipede maneuvers to the cathedral door on the nave side where there are large relief sculptures of Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem. The millipede completes a 360 turn before entering the doorway. All the while the crowd cheers.
We entered through the west entrance and had to chuckle at the Silencio signs. Not a chance. We saw the sweating millipede members emerge from their labors. There were also grade school kids carrying a cross with the same coordinated movements to the delight of their parents and grandparents.
We saw some of the floats for later in Holy Week.
While as Protestants the celebration may have seemed overdone. But you would have to have no soul if you were not also moved by the celebrants enthusiasm and joy. This promises to be a very interesting week as we head into Portugal and celebrate Easter in Seville .