Avila:  including Procesion de la Soledad

A cloudy day. Streets are busy and it’s not yet 11.00. Shops are open. 

I found a strange gadget today I had to buy, a sharpener for pocket knives!

My blade was a little blunt after some urgent surgical work on my orthotics. The gadget is great. And the orthotics are much better fitting.
Procesion de la Soledad

This procession is of a female cofraternity (cosororitory I guess). Better light for thus one and, it started earlier at 07.45.

Getting ready means getting to the start and getting your costume and instruments ready.

   
    
    
    
   
And then you are ready, and, like the crowd, waiting for the start time.

If you play an instrument you need three holes in the capuchin, unlike those who are just penitents and so need two eye holes only.

   
  
 
Then the procession started. Led by three young standard bearers

  
Others followed closely, starting with one of the two bands. They played a more somber music than I’d expected and heard previously.

   
    
   
And then rows of two or three women,or girls, at a time followed. Each wore black, and the women a mantilla, the distinctive female Spanish headdress.

   
   
Interspersed among the ranks of the women were some from other cofraternities. According to the very friendly women next to me members of cofraternities do provide representatives for each others’ processions.

   
 
Then, more women and more members of other cofraternities.

   
   
And then, finally, the second band. This one not only wore white capuchins but

   
 
you can just see that they had bagpipes. You can just see the pipes of some poking up. They have smaller bags and a higher pitch than the standard Scottish ones or the Celtic ones played in Galicia, northern Spain.  

  
And then it was all over for another year and cafes and restaurants in the nearby areas started to fill rapidly.

  
From around Avila today: big lines to get into the Cathedral

  
and to pay to climb up on the wall. This section of the very impressive wall is besides my hotel, the Paradore.

  
The hotel garden also has some of the Vettone stone scuptures I found so intriguing the other day. One is ambiguous

  
and one is clearly a pig.

  
Winter – well, almost. So roast chestnuts are on sale. The guy kept his head under the counter. Don’t know what he was doing.

   
 
Many shops are willing to sell the same sorts of things to us tourists.

 
Yes, the egg yolk based sweets (so overrated I’ve not bought them again this time!), wine, beans, sweets, chocolate and honey.  

So, Semana Santa has been a very special experience. And the weather is so good, not especially cold and neither wet nor snowing. Snow is forecast for here later this week and a few rainy days. I have been lucky so far.

Next stop is tomorrow: Arevalo, 50 km to the west of here. Hopefully it’s as interesting and the weather holds so walking from there to Zamora doesn’t feel like a noble sacrifice! 

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