My last full month here in Spain has been a world wind of visitors and activities. De verdad you can call me Tour Guide Amy and sit back and relax as I take you through some of the best countries of Europe. The end of April included a fiesta de despedida soltera, bachelorette party, for my friend Allison. We all reconvened back where it all began, Huelva, for the weekend. It was a great weekend, and it was honestly the first time all of my tías, fellow Huelva survivors (We all were placed in the provenience of Huelva our first year abroad), were together. We did the usual: eat a bunch of delicious choco (cuttle fish), drink a little bit too much, dance a little too crazy, and soak up the rays at the beach. I also got to spend some time with one of my sorority sisters, Ally, who was teaching up in Santander, while she was chasing Semana Santa processions all over Andalucía. No words can describe how comforting it is to see a familiar face while abroad.
The beginning of May brought another sorority sister, Laura, to Spain before she headed back to the USA. She had been an au pair in Munich, Germany for the last three months. The moment she arrived to Malaga she was engulfed in the Spanish culture. We dined on tapas, went to the beach, visited Sevilla and did all kinds of Spanish things. It was a blast. I know she was exhausted by the time she left (I forget Spain is the only country that has dinner at midnight, and that’s just a tad late…). two of the highlights we visited while in Sevilla were the Cathedral and Plaza de Espana. Yes, I have been to the Cathedral before…but honestamente I could not remember the inside of it. Literally I didn’t remember ANYTHING, seriously or the fact that CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS IS BURIED THERE.
Poor Chris has been moved around since his death in 1506. His remains were first brought to Vallaloid, Spain, then buried at the monastery at the Sevilla Cathedral (his son was the governor of Hispaniola, aka Sevilla), then he was brought to the Dominican Republic, then Cuba, and finally back to Sevilla in 1898. However, Chris doesn’t get to rest, in 1877 a box was discovered in the Domincan Republic with the name “Don Christopher Columbus,” with some bone fragments and a bullet. It wasn’t until 2003 that finally the claims that the wrong remains were brought to Sevilla, when DNA samples were taken from the remains in the Cathedral and compared to Chris’ brother Diego and his son, Ferdinand Colon. The DNA of the remains in the Cathedral matched those of Diego, showing that the two DNA shared a mother. SO LONG STORY SHORT, Chris is REALLY buried at the Cathedral in Sevilla. QUÉ GUAY!
We also spent the afternoon in Plaza de España, which is this huge plaza next to a park. It was built in 1928 for the World’s Fair in 1929. The Plaza de España complex is a huge half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge accessible over the moat by numerous bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain. In the centre is the Vicente Traver fountain. By the walls of the Plaza are many tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain.
I also had the chance to show Laura around Malaga as well. I was super excited to finally get to show someone my favorite places in my second city (Bollullos will always be my Spanish home). First we trekked up to the Alcazaba, or the ancient Moorish castle, that overlooks Malaga. We spent some time the birth house (literally in Spanish casa natal) of Picasso. Later we tomamos el sol, literally take the sun, at the Malagueta beach.
A few days later my cousin, Dani, came for the trip of a lifetime. Literally, she was here for 6 weeks. Our plans included, Malaga, London, Salzburg, Munich, Vienna, Bollullos del Condado, Sevilla, Nerja, Athens, and Santorini. UFFFFFFF what a time table. I’m not exaggerating when I say I have never been so tired and exhausted in my life. However, before we could start our European adventure, I had to also share my city with her. To say we took it easy is a total understatement. After Dani had recovered from her jet lag and was finally on Spanish time, we met up with my friend Annie who runs THE BEST pub crawl in all of Andalucía…that is if you can remember it.
As if that wasn’t enough, we were super lucky and were invited to celebrate the Romaría of the neighboring town of Churriana. Now what in the world is a romaría? It is the Catholic religious pilgrimage that ends in a sanctuary or hermitage. This wasn’t my first romaría, I was able to see the pilgrimage of Rocío, the patron saint of Huelva, come through Bollullos last year. This pilgrimage is one of the most famous of Andalucía because Rocío literally travels through all the cities and pueblos of Huelva and ends in the pueblo of Rocío where people eat, drink, and dance the WHOLE WEEK. Also, there is no school during that week. Well, honestly there is, but no one goes because they are too busy celebrating.
The romaría of Churriana isn’t a week long, it is one day, but it is a veryyyyyyyy long day. It all begins at 10 AM when San Isidro was wheeled out of the church and paraded through the town. Of course everyone is dressed in traditional Spanish outfits looking amazing in the 80 degree heat. We all follow Isidro to the campo, or the country-side, for a day long BBQ full of delicious food and drink. Each family or groups of friends have an area taped off where they spend the day cooking paella, dancing, and drinking wine from a Spanish vase se llama un porron.
For a quick look at the procession of San Isidro from this years Romaría CLICK HERE
Just wait! We haven’t even started our journey around Europe yet! Stay tuned for my birthday weekend in one of my favorite cities, LONDON!