Thursday, 9 April 2009

Vamonos de Fiesta!

Tomorrow I set off for Madrid!

Sadly it looks like I am taking the London weather with me. But it is not a big deal as I don't believe a spot of rain will take away from the cultural experience - it will probably give me more incentive to spend longer in the galleries if anything! I can't wait to sip a crisp white rioja with my tapas in a cosy bar...

I'm most looking forward to going to a religious country during a religious holiday. Spain was once considered one of the most catholic countries, having been under the Roman Empire and fought off the Muslims and the Moors during various periods of its history. The religion really came into its own under Franco when catholicism was the State religion but since then, the Spanish constitution has severed this link with the State and religion is now a much more secular affair with a marked decrease in catholicism - as seen across the rest of Europe. Interestingly, the Opus Dei faction, popularised most recently by Brown's Da Vinci code, originated in Spain.

Visiting these once bastions of Roman Catholicism, you can't fail to be impressed by the architecture of the glorious churches and there's still a sanctity about holidays like Easter and Christmas - unlike here where we swap chocolate eggs and think about using the free time for some home rennovations.


  1. I haven't been to Madrid during Holy Week... but I'm afraid it's not considered one of the places "to be" for the religious life (Andalucía and Murcia are)... But you could always ask in the place you're staying if they know of a Church hosting a procession on Easter Sunday.
    Aslo, if you have some time available, hop on a train to Toledo, about 1h away. An amazing city, one of the few where 3 major religions (christianity, islam and judaism) co-existed for over a century. AMAZING religious architecture!

    Oh, and for a white wine you might be better off with an Albariño from Galicia... Rioja's are much better known for their reds. Or try a Ribera del Duero (also red). Another excellent wine region that's not well known outside of Spain as isn't exported much and hard to come by.

  2. Oh, I wish I was going with you! I would love to visit Spain - the grass could be greener there...

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