Packing again! Tomorrow I head to Pamplona by train. My 3 friends and I will begin the Camino on Friday, April Fools Day (appropriate, no?). It’s roughly 500 miles, but we sleep in hostels each night and can eat at restaurants much of the way. And there’s lots of red wine and ham sandwiches!
Unfortunately, I’ll have to go to Madrid this week. I need to get a work visa at the Russian Embassy. Tried to set an appointment but the offices are closed for Holy Week. Who said they were godless commies?
This is Semana Santa, or Holy week. The week leading up to Easter is celebrated by Christians around the world to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus.
It may be sacrilegious, but I just want to get some sleep.
In Spain, Holy Week appears to be celebrated with drums and marching bands accompanied by hooded figures, reminiscent of the KKK. Oh, and then more drums. The worst part is that all of the city of Valencia seem to be taking turns processing in front of my apartment. The bands start about 8am and seem to appear any time of day, but prefer early morning, late evening or anytime I am about to drift off to sleep. Last night they were drumming well past 11pm. The night before it was past midnight. This evening they’ve been pounding and processing for 3 solid hours.
This could put me off marching bands forever.
I don’t understand and find the hooded figures kinda creepy. And how on earth is it “Christian” to keep me from my sleep?
I am trying to learn Spanish. I am not doing so well, but as I tell my students, learning a language is a series of failures. If you don’t make a mistake, you are simply not trying hard enough. Clearly, I’m trying.
I was trying to ask my students the question, “When is your birthday?” (¿Cuando es tu cumpleaños?) But my pronunciation isn’t very good. Instead of “año,” the Spanish word for year, I said “ano” which is a completely different word.
I do really like Valencia, but it may be the noisiest place I’ve ever been to. It started with the Fallas celebration. Fallas means “torch” and it seems to be an excuse for lots of fireworks, explosions and fire. Huge, towering monuments, also called Fallas, are erected in the streets of every neighborhood and plaza. On the last night they are burned. The celebrations go on all night. Every morning, a “wake up” band goes through the streets at 8am.
Clearly, I didn’t come here to sleep.
IMG_0887 This is a short clip of one of the many light displays. Sorry it’s sideways.