31 March 2018
Today we are going touring with Diane’s cousin Mariano. We grabbed breakfast at El Cardena which is across from our hotel. They gave us tapas while we waited for our breakfast orders.
We were to meet Mariano at the palace. We were early and while we waited, we saw the changing of guards at the Palace.
There were many forms of entertainment around the palace. We liked the marionette people.
Mariano drove us to many sites in Madrid. Very interesting to above ground since we had been on the subway most of the time. We ended up near the Prado museum. David and I had just been there last spring. Diane and Ellen did the one-hour tour while Peggy and I walked back to the hotel. It led us to one of our favorite places, St. Anne square.
That’s a Peggy & Jane happy hour and everyone is happy about it!
After basking in the sun for awhile, we had to run to Puerto del Sol to catch the Holy Saturday procession. We passed by our hotel and caught one of the hotel workers with a handful of wine glasses. We were impressed.
Next stop Puerto del Sol for the Holy Saturday procession. On this day, there is only one procession at 4:00 pm and it winds all over. It starts with drums.
Lots of drums. That’s how you know a procession is starting.
The mourning “brides of Christ” a concept I never understood.
This must be some type of potentate or a spouse of a “bride of Christ” or maybe a groom of Christ …. concepts I don’t know much about and never understood.
There seems to be different levels of the “brides of Christ”. This level carried gold staffs.
Many had their finest rosary’s in hand. Some had two or three.
Not sure what this group is.
Now comes the sorrowful Mary float. There is no Jesus float, because as tradition reads … it was the Sabath and Jesus was in a tomb waiting to be prepared for burial on Easter Sunday.
The clerics follow with incense.
And as usual, the procession ends with a large marching band.
It was about 5:30 pm. Peggy and I had connected with Ellen and Diane. We decided to walk to the Cathedral to see about an Easter Vigil. We were distracted by chocolate and churros … a specialty of the area. We thought it was like hot chocolate but it was much thicker. You dipped the churros in the chocolate.
We got tangled in the parade two more times as it wound through the city. We found the Cathedral and it did not open until 10:00 pm for the Easter Vigil. We all know how long an Easter Vigil lasts in the United States … about 2-3 hours. There’s no way we were going to hang around to experience this when it started so late at night. Time to find a restaurant for dinner.
Even though the Cathedral was closed until 10:00 pm, we were able to visit the underground crypt which had an entrance around the corner from the main Cathedral entrance.
To our surprise, the crypt was really large … almost like the size of a church. It had the same footprint as the Cathedral and looked like a church within itself. Apparently, it is the largest crypt in Spain, if not the world.
On our quest to find dinner, we passed several churches that were holding Easter vigils. They had the traditional “bonfire” at the church entrance. For those of you who have never experienced a Catholic Easter Vigil, a fire is lit at the entrance of the church, usually at sundown. From the bonfire, the presider lights the Easter Candle and brings it into the darkened church where all of the congregants are waiting with small candles. The presider lights a few candles and then everyone lights each other’s candles. It is a beautiful sight to see the ceremony go from darkness to light.
We finally found a restaurant, La Martina. We were the only ones there at about 9:00 pm. By the time we left, the place was packed. In Spain, no one goes out until well after 9-10 pm even on weekdays.
The food was fabulous. We shared grilled vegetables, Iberian sirloin carmelized with onion and allspice sauce.
Tempura fried eggplant with fresh cheese and sugar cane honey
Galician style pork shoulder with potatoes, paprika and oil.
After this fabulous dinner, we wandered back to the hotel. Another long but amazing day.