Easter in Cadiz
36:35.387N 6:13.784W Sun 1st Apr 2018.
We just have to post another entry from this wonderful area. We’ve spent a few days exploring the local town, doing chores and yesterday catching the ferry into Cadiz and have loved it. There is something about Cadiz that appeals so much more than Spanish towns on the Med coast, its vivacity and style, plus the fact that the locals enjoy an alcoholic drink in the early evening, just like we do!
Our river berth in Santa Maria:
One of the reasons for being here was to see some genuine Spanish holy week festivities. The solemn processions have been on TV every day with people in pointy hats (misappropriated by the Ku Klux Klan) and huge silver altars bearing sad looking Madonnas (or the occasional Jesus) being carried, swaying at shoulder height. We had to see some for ourselves so we took the ferry across to Cadiz for Holy Saturday (the word Easter doesn’t seem to be used – every day is Holy something instead). We could work out where the processions were going to take place by the splashes of multi-coloured candle wax on the cobbles, but first we had to reacquaint ourselves with the city after our first visit in 2009. It lays claim to being the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe, founded by the Phoenicians more than 3,000 years ago. We got to see a few good artefacts in the main museum and to walk over some Phoenician streets uncovered during the building of a theatre. Apparently the original layout of the islands that lie under modern Cadiz are a close match to the Phoenicians’ home city of Tyre (now in Lebanon). We feel an affinity with them as we keep coming across them on our travels, all the way to Essaouira in Morocco. What a history. We had a great lunch and managed to bag a table just before the locals overwhelmed us – there were queues to be served for most of the 2 hours we were there! We also reacquainted ourselves with the extremely long walk from Cadiz marina into town – over a mile past the docks – making us very glad to be in Puerto de Santa Maria this time.
After a long drink in our favourite square we wandered back through the narrow streets and soon came across a holy week parade. It’s bizarre – words won’t do, just look at the pictures:-
Today, Easter Sunday, we joined the jolly crowds in Puerto Santa Maria and caught their main procession squeezing along the narrow streets. We watched the swaying carved wood platform bearing Jesus under an olive tree as it turned a really tight corner which looks like a pretty skilled manoeuvre. Then a bunch of hot guys emerged from underneath and were replaced by a fresh bunch wearing back-strengthening belts and thick hessian headdresses for protection. Then everyone headed for the bars and cafes and lunch in the sun and we bagged a spot just in time to enjoy some wine and tapas.
Holy Sunday in Puerto Santa Maria:
A stork on the cathedral roof:
Tomorrow we are off before dawn to catch the tide and get to the Guadiana river on the Portuguese border. Depending on conditions we’ll either berth on the Portuguese side of the river (a difficult entry if the tide is running fast) or be back in Ayamonte on the Spanish side for our 3rd visit.