During our 3-city, Semana Santa tour of central Spain back in March, our second stop was in the stately college town of Salamanca (first stop was Toledo).
Last year we spent Easter week (Semana Santa) in our hometown of Granada. This year we decided to change things up and experience it in a different part of the country. With some friends from the U.S. in tow, we made a week-long trek to the autonomous communities of Castilla-La Mancha and Castilla y León.
My wife: “We need to have the boys miss a week of school right after winter break.”
Me: “Even after the two week vacation? Why?”
Every January 14, my wife’s former home state of Gujarat, India hosts one of the largest kite festivals in the world. She, her brother, and cousins have fond memories participating while growing up. I had heard bits and pieces about what it was like and had to see for myself. Not to mention it would probably be a blast for our boys as well.
Uttarayan (pronounced “oot-tran” to my untrained ear) is part Thanksgiving, part 4th of July, part board-game night and 100% good old fashioned fun.
I’ve come to appreciate that spring in Andalusia, Spain is not only a time for cyprus, almond, and olive trees to bloom but it also marks the season of festivals. A time to get back out in warmer weather and reunite with your fellow neighbors. And Holy Week (Semana Santa) in Granada seems to kick it all off.
“Why is that guy painting a door in the middle of this busy road?”
“Wait! Was that an elephant walking around downtown?”
“Are we really allowed to drive down the wrong way of this street just because it’ll be quicker?”
Maharaj, our driver, could tell he was ushering another set of new arrivals around his proud city as we were rubbernecking.
His simple, smiling exclamation to many of our observational outbursts was “Freedom India!”
The landscape in southeast Andalucia is stunning. The stretch of never ending jagged peaks tends to surprise first-time visitors. I know it did me.