There was a procession on Holy Saturday in the Basilica de Jesus de Medinaceli. It was eight in the morning. Knew I wouldn’t be doing that. Instead I hung out in bed and did some reading and thought about what to do after three days of viewing crucifixions. I needed a little break.
Plus, it was cold that morning. The weather had gotten progressively chillier over the week, and the households were having greater and greater difficulty retaining warmth. Spanish central heating systems, at least the ones I have known and lived through, are run by dates and not temperature. That is, they are turned on and off at certain times of the year regardless of what the conditions are like out there. That’s what gives them character.
In spring, that date is usually April 1st. It’s a month has a funny way of behaving like January one day and June the next. And in the generally arid climate of centralSpain, temperatures can swing as great as 20 degrees and more from morning to afternoon.
But for some reason it is always nippy in the morning, which is precisely when I would appreciate sensing my radiators humming and warming the air so much I could plant a thud of dough on the floor and what it bake before my very eyes. But it doesn’t happen. Eventually, if the cold weather persists, they crank up the heat for just a few days, but it can get spotty and it can make for one frosty house, I tell you.
So anyway, as I was saying, it was Saturday and things were quiet on the Semana Santa end. The morning procession was out of the question and there was another one around 4:00 that afternoon in the center of town. I gave it some thought, I really did. But I kept thing to myself that the four I had seen so far had been about the same. Fascinating traditions, but similar all the same. An image of Christ and an image of Mary, a couple of bands bulging with drummers, lots of hooded guys looking for someone to scare, a dozen or two mourning women who look as if they were pretty skillful with a ruler, and that pretty much wrapped it up. In other parts of the country, especially in the south, they would have several scenes from the passion itself. Jesus taking the crown of thorns. Jesus getting whipped. You know, to add a little variety and jazz it up.
Madridis part of theOld Castileand that region is traditionally very austere and sober in its style. No flashy Romans with spears or ears getting lopped off. No crowds shouting, “Crucify him!” You do, however, hear an occasional “¡Guapo!” (Good-looking!) when referring to the statue of Jesus, which is not what comes to mind when I think of execution.
Anyhow, I decided I would wait till Easter the next day and make a move. That was just about when Jorge called me up saying he had gone down and was looking at the procession coming out of San Ginés Church and saying that I was missing the best procession of the week. I preferred to think he was exaggerating and said we’d talk later.