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Need advice on which Spanish city to choose for Holy Week

Need advice on which Spanish city to choose for Holy Week

Nov 13th, 2010, 01:43 PM
  #1  
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Need advice on which Spanish city to choose for Holy Week

I want to go to Spain in April of 2011, and I want to time my visit so that I can experience Santa Semana for at least a couple of days. I know that both Sevilla and Zamora have spectacular celebrations, and I assume other cities do as well.

I understand that hotel costs rise dramatically during this time, especially in Sevilla.

I'm willing to bite the bullet and pay the added costs, but I'd like to have some advice as to which city/cities would be good choices. I've been to Spain twice and have seen much of it, so I'm not a novice. I also speak some Spanish, though I'm not fluent. One of my purposes in this trip will be to be immersed in Spanish.

I'm an older woman, but I'm quite adventurous. I do like to walk, though I'm unfortunately no longer up to carousing until dawn. I'd like to get a good taste of Santa Semana. Would I be well advised to stay the entire week? If not, what days would be most worthwhile?

I think I may have posted a similar question several years ago. I'll see if I can find that thread, but in the meantime, I'd appreciate any advice you can give.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Nov 13th, 2010, 02:29 PM
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I enjoyed the processions in Granada very much, as well as one we saw in Madrid.
ladyg0 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2010, 02:51 PM
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In Sevilla that "bullet" may cost you a minimum of three nights, depending on the hotel. Some hotels require a 7-night minimum, with no refund, should you change your mind.
Robert2533 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2010, 03:19 PM
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Both would be great, but very different. Semana Santa in the north is a much more solemn affair than in the south, where the celebrations are much more frivolous. Sevilla no doubt would be my choice, probably the most famous Holy Week celebrations in the world. The celebrations in the south make you remember that this is part of a Mediterranean culture that far predates Christianity.
http://www.andalucia.com/festival/se...emanasanta.htm

Here is the city's most beloved Virgen, La Macarena, leaving her basilca: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4Ab3fsGRVQ

And here a saeta, a mournful a capella flamenco style song of probably Jewish origins, is sung to her after some 2mins in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLOa3DafoHo&NR=1

About the saeta, in my opinion a highlight of the celebrations and something you will not experience in the north: http://www.andalucia.com/flamenco/saeta.htm
kimhe is offline  
Nov 13th, 2010, 03:30 PM
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Peg..faced the same pleasant dilemma back in '97. But a friends niece solved the problem She's a Sevillana and invited us to join her family during the week long celebration. We stayed at a hotel, of course (she had a family of 6 and we wouldn't think of imposing). We much prefer the privacy of a hotel. We ended up at Las Casas de la Juderia and happy we did. What a week! The most colorful imaginable.We found ourselves strollng the streets and staying up each night much longer than we are accustomed to...didn't want to miss a thing. It was rather chaotic, but not uncomfortably so. With our friends we were able to get the best viewing spots each nght...close to the cathedral and one or more of the 40+ churches involved. The niece, an American, is married to a Spaniard, Sevilla native.

Not being able to compare the Santa Semana action with other cities, I wouldn't bother to look anywhere else after our own superb experience in Sevilla. I would guess that they're all similar. Peg,I have scanned pix only (predigital) but I would be happy to send some or share them here.

As to lodgings, I don't recall paying much of a premium back then...around $120. Probably more now. But here is the web for Las Casas:

http://www.sevilla5.com/hotels/juderia.html (in the heart of Barrio Santa Cruz)

stu tower
tower is offline  
Nov 13th, 2010, 06:17 PM
  #6  
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Thanks for the responses. I did hunt through my back posts and found comments from two years ago.

When we were in Sevilla, we stayed at Casa de la Juderia, as I recall.

It sounds like an afternoon nap is in order if I have the full experience .

By the way, it was fun going back through my posts for the past two years to see what was going on in my life.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Nov 13th, 2010, 06:26 PM
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I would divide the trip into 2 cities - one for the more famous larger processions and another city that will not be so crowded and you can get up closer.

I'd definately choose Sevilla as the larger city to visit. Many hotels will have 4 night minimums (some longer) and prices are at a premium. If you decide on Sevilla you need to book ASAP. I'd probably book Wed-Sat nights in Sevilla as they have processionals up until Sunday morning. Many of the mid to small cities don't have any processionals on Saturday and only a couple on Friday.

For Sun-Tuesday I'd choose somewhere in Andalucia that appeals to your interests. Cordoba, Jerez, Granada, Cadiz, Malaga or the smaller villages.

Just my personal thoughts....

Just be sure that wherever you visit if your hotel is near any of the processions to arrive early afternoon - or you could be stuck trying to maneuver luggage through an impossible crowd.
CathyM is offline  
Nov 14th, 2010, 01:34 AM
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Sevilla is a must, and especially from Wednesday through Saturday as CathyM says. But if you are looking for a smaller village/town to get you "warmed up", Almuñecar and Nerja on the coast some 40-50 miles east of Málaga are serious about their Semana Santa celebrations. Málaga city itself is also renowned for its spectacular Holy Week celebrations.

Málaga:
http://www.semana-santa-malaga.com/e...ek-malaga.html

Nerja: http://www.nerjatoday.com/fiestas/easter/

Almuñecar: http://www.almunecarlife.com/peventsdiary.html
kimhe is offline  
Nov 14th, 2010, 02:50 AM
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I 2nd kimhe's choice of Seville! The activities in and around the massive cathedral & Giralda are very interesting to watch! Also, we found seville to be a safe city to walk. We even went out after midnight walking the narrow streets and never felt uncomfortable.
utrechtman is offline  
Nov 14th, 2010, 03:45 AM
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Hi Peg,

although I've not been to Seville in Holy Week, I'd definitely say go to Seville at least for part of your trip. when we were there a few weeks ago we came across 3 of these processions [still don't know why they were happening in september] and they were fascinating. Who knew that they were accompanied by brass bands? we didn't!

also, as utrectman says, Seville is a very interesting, safe and vibrant city which you will surely enjoy seeing.
annhig is offline  
Nov 14th, 2010, 04:38 AM
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annhig,

September is the month with most processions in Sevilla and the region (some 100 in total), apart from Semana Santa of course.

It was a major event on the 18th and 19th of September when Virgen de la Esperanza Macerena were brought out to the streets in a 24 hours procession on the event of the beatification (the step before sainthood) of a former nun, the first beatification in Sevilla for some 28 years. If this was what you saw, you were witnessing a major event. Some 45 000-120 000 people followed her fleet throughout the various stages of the day.

Here the Virgen is visiting the hospital that bears her name on her way home from the beatification sermony on the other side of the river Guadalquivir some 10 hours earlier. The daily newspaper Diario de Sevilla reported the next day, in its eight pages covery, to have caused "great emotion" among both doctors, nurses and patients alike.

A bit earlier in the evening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsTsEvjxTb8&NR=1
kimhe is offline  
Nov 14th, 2010, 04:42 AM
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...and here is the TV covery of Macarena at the hospital:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeBoi...eature=related
kimhe is offline  
Nov 14th, 2010, 11:14 AM
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The Holy Week processions in Seville are very different as in Malaga, the ones I know best. In Seville, thrones (called "pasos") are small and go into the Cathedral; men that carry them are behind. In Malaga are usually big to really big, with men carrying them from the outside, in number up to 250, and some of them (the small ones that fit) go into the Cathedral. If you do not know any, I may rec. Malaga. It is crowded, but not so much as Seville. Besides, the weather tends to be better, if it rains, there are no processions.
josele is offline  
Nov 14th, 2010, 11:42 AM
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kimhe - thanks for clearing that up.

sadly, though we did see her "in situ", we did not see la macarena being processed, as we were there a week too late. but we did see three other processions - two smaller neighbourhood ones near where we were staying, and a large one at the cathedral, which was quite extraordinary.

it was the brass bands that struck me most - they are very popular here in Cornwall, but I had no idea that they were popular in seville!

josele - the processions in Malaga sound extraordinary too, to those of us who are not brought up with them. one year, perhaps!
annhig is offline  
Nov 14th, 2010, 01:29 PM
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kimhe-
Are there normally processions in Sevilla around Sept 18-19 or was this year special? I'm already thinking about my trips for 2012 and cannot visit during Semana Santa that year - so now you've got me thinking.....
CathyM is offline  
Nov 15th, 2010, 12:52 AM
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More humble and authenticity in Zamora.
More flamboyant and touristy in Seville. Flamboyant and touristy in Malaga as well, but I like best.
Revulgo2 is offline  
Nov 15th, 2010, 07:37 AM
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Wouldn't call Semana Santa in the south less authentic and more touristy, just a completely different thing than in the north. As with most things Spanish, it's "oil and water".

And CathyM, the Sept 18-19 Macarena processions this year was connected to the beatification of Madre María de la Purísima. I didn't know of it and were 300 metres away down in the Alameda de Hercules both nights after Bienal concerts. But September is "procession season". Here is this years "program":
http://sentircofrade.nireblog.com/po...al-y-provincia
kimhe is offline  
Nov 15th, 2010, 09:15 AM
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kimhe-
Thank you so much! I had no idea about the September processionals. They're not mentioned in any books I've read nor have I heard about them in forums.
CathyM is offline  
Nov 15th, 2010, 01:39 PM
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Those are extraordinary occasions. There is even controversials within the own brotherhoods: http://www.losnazarenos.org/index.ph...sk=view&id=951
(only in spanish)
josele is offline  
Nov 15th, 2010, 01:43 PM
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cathy - we didn't know about it either. it was sheer luck that we happened on the three processions we saw, including the one at the cathedral which we watched with at least 10,000 other people who were thronging the street outside along side a camera crew.
annhig is offline  

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