Semana Santa in Andalucia - Part Two

Easter Saturday, April 7 - Yesterday we arrived in Granada, this amazing city of hills and narrow cobbled streets and ancient doorways in whitewashed walls. Almost as soon as we arrived, we set off on a four kilometre walk that took us along the Darro River, with amazing views of the Alhambra and many beautiful churches and civic buildings.

  After dinner we walked in the cold night air down to the Plaza Nueva and towards the cathedral. Echoing beautifully through the square, we could hear the horns and drums of another procession and soon we were following another icon through the backstreets until we came to the Plaza Del Carmen.

  The music was again stirring and sombre, the whole black-clad river of faith and devotion very moving. It was cold in the streets and we made our way back to the hotel late, the winding alleys and gabble of tourists setting off strange echoes at every corner.

  During the night I had a nightmare – I was witness to a man being kicked to death by a group of people. I felt like I was expected to participate. Blood was everywhere – the man wore a black suit with a white shirt, everything torn and stained red. And they threw him to the ground and against walls and gouged and punched him. He gave little or no resistance.

  It struck me when I awoke that he wore the uniform of the musicians we had seen in the street. And since it was Good Friday, my dream must have been a savage modern version of the Crucifixion of Christ.


The old city of Granada, the Albayzin district seen from the walls of Alhambra PalaceApril 7 - At breakfast this morning, our German host is all information. In comes another family staying at the hotel, a Spanish family from the north. And the old Basque grandma was having none of him. As he started describing the four different types of marmalade that he had on the table, she spoke across him, completely ignoring what he had to say, and grabbed one of the dishes.

  Later, her son told us that they had found some of the religious processions very difficult. As Basques, they associated the military march and the martial music with the Fascist past. He told me that his mother had trembled in fear and discomfort as some of the parades had passed.

  We had a brief exchange about the struggle for independence and civil rights that had affected all our regions – the Basque, Northern Ireland and indeed Quebec. And here we were, our shoes caked with the dust of all of the places we had been, united for Easter in the holy city of Granada.

  A small world shrinks with every meeting of every soul with every other soul.