We are back in the Aire at Gelves, or to be more accurate ‘Puerto de Gelves’, there’s stonking quick (free) WiFi, its only €12.10 pn, there’s a great view and it almost uniquely doesn’t have a background of dogs barking or cockerels ‘cock-a-do-dal-doo-ing’ . It has a great bus connection with the city, cheap too at only €1.55 per person each way (bus #140). The weather’s ‘changeable’ at best, rain forecast, but set to turn fair.
And so for the main act, the ‘Samana Santa’ of Seville. Thousands of people march through the streets in pointy hats around the Christian idol ‘float’ of their church which they march to Seville cathedral and back to their church again. The guidebook lists the route like a bus time-table, who’s-who and what’s-where and at what time. Some of the marches can take over 14 hours and don’t end till 3 O’clock in the morning, requiring several changes of strapping blokes underneath the huge heavy floats. We were lucky enough to be next to one of the floats when they had a change of shift, the fella’s that came out looked completely drained. On top of the visual spectacle, there’s loud music too, brass and drums boom around the tiny streets, because of the vast numbers of spectators, you can hear the procession float long before you can see it. Clouds of incense billow around it too, just to complete the sensory overload experience.
It’s not until late afternoon do you start to realise the sheer numbers of people in the involved, not only are there people on the streets, the cafe, restaurants and hotel bars and balcony’s are heaving too. It does seem like the whole population of Seville are here, plus a few thousand tourists from around the globe.
These possessions go on all week, culminating in the finale on good Friday. All the churches get a go to ‘tour’, but not if it rains. Some of the floats are hundreds of years old and the fabrics just would not stand up to a soaking, so after all that preparation and planning, it wouldn’t happen.
We went into Seville on Saturday and the clean-up had begun. The main walk-way in front of the Cathedral must have been an inch thick in candle wax, hundreds of Seville city workers stacking thousands chairs laid on for the (paying) public, you could stand anywhere in the streets for free, but had to book and pay for a chair. I did look into it but couldn’t fathom the Spanish only web-site. We found some good spots & stood like most did.