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A Dad and Daughter’s Semana Santa Adventure

I’m not going to lie, it has been hard for me to think back to Semana Santa because it ended in heartbreak, and almost two months later, I am still trying to heal.

Nevertheless, this Holy Week was going to be a special one because my dad was making his very first European debut.  I planned a grand Spanish tour to show him the beauty of this country that will forever be my second home.

My dad’s trip began with flight delays, missed connections, and dreaded lost baggage.  (I will never forget forcing my father into skinny European pants in Zara in an attempt to replenish his wardrobe that  possibly wouldn’t be arriving in time before our train to Seville.) Fortunately, the bag did arrive a few days later, but bad luck followed as my dad suffered from nasty allergies in the land of sweet smelling Spring orange blossoms.  The allergies, however couldn’t overshadow a pinched nerve that made walking painful. All that and my dad kept pushing through with a positive attitude, a true lesson in optimism.

Retiro Park, Madrid

Retiro Park, Madrid

After a few days in Madrid, we took the sleek and smooth high-speed train to Seville, where we immediately picked up our rental car.  We pushed further south to explore the White Villages of Andalucía, something I had been dreaming of crossing off my Spanish Bucket List for years.  The towns were bright beacons on the horizon, snug atop hills under cerulean skies.  After dizzying drives along twisting narrow roads, we dove into plates of tapas and tasted flavorful sheep cheese at roadside stands.

Blue skies, white towns, castles... Andalucía

Blue skies, white towns, castles… Andalucía

Grazalema

Grazalema

Grazalema

Grazalema

The part with the most encanto, was our quaint hotel in Ronda.  Awakening to church bells right outside our window gave the already memorable city even more charm.

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Ronda

Ronda

Ronda

Ronda

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Then it was back to Sevilla for the famous Semana Santa processions.  The city was pure locura.  My Airbnb choice in the heart of the madness made maneuvering the labyrinth-like streets extremely difficult.  Shame on me; This was not my first rodeo in Sevilla during Semana Santa.

Semana Santa, Sevilla

Semana Santa, Sevilla

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A barefoot Nazareno passes a bar full of Costalero's on break (the men who carry the floats).

A barefoot Nazareno passes a bar full of Costalero’s on break (the men who carry the floats).

The beauty of the first Spanish city I called home speaks for itself. I was content knowing that my dad was able to see the setting for a life of Spanish adventures I promised myself years ago.

The Alcazar, Sevilla

The Alcazar, Sevilla

The Alcazar, Sevilla

The Alcazar, Sevilla

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An special treat was my dad getting to meet my Spanish family.  For the first time since I lived with them along the Guadalquivir River ten years prior, and in all my quick stops back in Seville, everyone was home.  I even got to see Lola, Manolo’s now 12-year-old daughter.  I made her laugh telling her how much I liked talking to her back when she was a mere two-year-old because we just about had the same Spanish vocabulary.

Lola, Pilar, & Manolo

Lola, Pilar, & Manolo

Abuelita still looking great at 93

Abuelita still looking great at 93

Plaza de España

Plaza de España

I'll always love Sevilla, but I've been happy to call Madrid home this year.

I’ll always love Sevilla, but I’ve been happy to call Madrid home this year.

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Springtime in Sevilla

Springtime in Sevilla

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After Sevilla, we flew up to Bilbao in the North of Spain, where Filippo picked us up and took us to San Sebastián.  If blessed with good weather in this infamously rainy Basque city, it’s easily one of the jewels of Spain.  We showed my dad our favorites places around San Sebastián and French Basque Country, sipped beers in the sun along La Concha, threw back pintxos in Barrio Gros for Thursday night Pintxo Pote, and simply took in stunning views of the sea.

San Sebastián

San Sebastián

Biarritz

Biarritz, France

St Jean de Luz, France

St Jean de Luz, France

There was so much beauty— and I’m reminding myself that there was so much beauty in all my trips to the North this year.

And in the end, all I can say is that I have so much gratitude for my dad— for his presence when a daughter needed her father the most.

Back in Madrid, the tour forged ahead amidst the tears.  I only hope that I did Madrid justice, as I hope I did it all justice and that my dad cherishes his well-deserved Spanish adventure with his daughter. I sure do.

La Concha, San Sebastián

La Concha, San Sebastián

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. It was so wonderful to meet up with you again and meet your dad! Sending hugs!

    May 22, 2015
  2. Your pics are stunning and show your love for Spain. I have travelled a lot but haven’t got there yet. It is on my list however. My dad was very special to me and we travelled a lot together, our last trip together to India. One that I will never forget. Happy travels, Cheryl

    May 24, 2015

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