Sunday, 4 April 2010

Well, that’s another fiesta out of the way!

I must say, it’s been a funny sort of week. I, who normally catch almost every procession going, have not seen a single one this Easter, apart, that is, from what has been shown on TV. That has been interesting at times: little items about how many different names there are for the nazarenos, the people who wear the pointy hoods in the processions. They are called nazarenos because of the connection with Nazareth, of course. I already knew they were also referred to as penitentes, because of repenting one’s sins. But it turns out that lots of places have their own names for them, largely based on the local word for hood.

Reports from some parts of the world were rather gruesome with believers not only flogging themselves until blood flowed and
carrying heavy crosses through the streets but also having themselves nailed onto crosses and hanging there for ten minutes, literally crucifying themselves in the belief that it would protect their family for the coming year. Enough is enough!

And then there were the news reports from Rome where a priest with the amazingly appropriate name of Cantalamessa (Sing the
Mass) made some unfortunate remarks during his sermon. The Pope has been under some strain lately and is reported to have been praying for strength to deal with the trials and tribulations he is going through. Father Cantalamessa really did not help. He condemned some of the attacks on the Pope, saying that the stereotyping involved could be compared to anti-Semitism.

Oh dear! Jewish associations have asked for apologies. They were understandably upset. So the Vatican spokesperson, a certain Monsignor Lombardi, stood up and said that Cantalamessa was speaking in a personal capacity. His views were NOT upheld by the Vatican, who regarded the comparison as invalid. There you go, it never rains but it pours!

Which is one reason why I have not been out waiting for processions to watch. It’s really not the same in the rain.

Today though has been very n
ice indeed. The Easter Bunny must have been able to leave his brolly at home. And so did I. My better half has been off playing chess all week up in Mondariz. Most rounds started at the civilised time of 5.00pm but today, final round, they began at 10.00 am. Consequently we had to be up bright and early for him to get to his pick-up point for 9.15.

So I left him there and set off to walk to Castrelos Park to check on the progress of spring. Rather slow is the verdict. Blooms are appearing but all rather behindhand. I found some nice bluebells but the chestnut trees are not yet i
n flower. Mind you this is probably a national problem. I understand that the cherry trees of Almeria, declared a site of interés turístico because of their spectacular beauty, are not yet in flower either. People who have booked into hotels down there for the Easter weekend have been sorely disappointed.

From Castrelos I followed the river down to the beach at Samil, quite a nice riverside walk apart from having to skirt round the Balaídos football stadium and some industrial complexes.
The beach, when I got there, was predictably beautiful in the April sunshine. I had my first barefoot-in-the-sand walk of this year. A few people were pad
dling but really the water was far too cold for that. Sun worshippers were out getting a head-start on their tan, not stretched out on the sand but leaning against rocks to catch the rays at just the right angle. A few macho runners were sprinting bare-chested up and down the sand: altogether too excessive for my liking.

And finally I caught the bus home, well two buses in fact. The handy number 10 bus usually runs from Samil all the way to Teis, going nicely close to our flat. On Sundays and Feast Days it does Samil to Plaza de America. Well, that’s really not good enough. I had to walk down GranVía until a number 3 came along.

Still, I had a good walk in the sunshine. AND my chess player managed to win a prize. All in all, a successful day!

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