Gordon: We arrived in the city of Salamanca on Saturday afternoon, the day before Easter. All of the cities in this region have special activities during Semana Santa, and we hoped to have the opportunity to observe some of them in Salamanca.
The most prominent religious celebration during Holy Week is the procession. We had seen images of these, but we had not actually previously seen one. Luck was on our side in Salamanca, and we observed one on Saturday evening and another couple on Sunday morning.
The Holy Week processions in Spain are organized by confraternities. They appear to have several components, including a band, a large “float” carried by many people, and a number of walkers. The processions on the days prior to Easter Sunday generally also include penitents, the people wearing the Ku Klux Klan headgear. (There was a statue in Cáceres that included a penitent and Ruth absolutely forbade me to have my picture taken with it.)
We got good advice from the tourist office and this morning we were well situated to observe two processions at their point of origin in a church. They were a feast for the senses – with the movement of the participants, the smell of incense, and the loud, dirge like music of the bands. The floats were very large and elaborate. I particularly liked the one of Mary and some other women crowded around an empty glass sarcophagus. (What’s that about? Just kidding).
Salamanca marks the halfway point of the Via de la Plata. I have now walked, and Ruth has cycled, 500 of the 1000 kms to Santiago. We have only used a quarter of our time in Spain, so we are making plans for the second half of our trip. We may train to Madrid and cover the Madrid and Primitivo Caminos. Any other suggestions?