Salamanca

     The Salamanca central market was directly across from my hotel and I always find markets an interesting picture of any city. Continuing on across the street again, one comes to the Plaza Mayor, the central gathering place with its arcades, cafes, stores, musicians and street performers. The arches are decorated with the sculpted portraits of kings. explorers, and other famous persons.

     Next stop was the House of Shells, more references to the pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago. After enjoying some student buskers on the steps of a university building, it was time to head for the massive Cathedrals, Old and New. The Catedral Nueva (New Cathedral) dates from 1513 and the façade is covered with interesting carvings, some with a decidedly modern theme.

    While I was wandering under the towering arches and admiring the columns and altars, a silent procession of priests came walking down the side and disappeared into the small doorway of a side chapel. When the door was opened for that brief time, the sound of chanting came echoing into the passageway. I knew that something good was happening on the other side of that door which was now blocked by a guard. Heading outside, I found the open door of the Catedral Vieja (Old Cathedral), a much smaller and intimate space. I was just in time for the yearly mass blessing the Holy Oil for the year. After the mass, I was lucky to get a few photos of the amazing frescoes before the lights were turned out and the door firmly locked.

     Evening brought the procession which was the reason for my travels. The streets slowly filled with people waiting quietly. Then from around the corner, we began to see the marchers followed by the bands and "floats" carried on the shoulders of the chosen.


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