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Monday, April 17, 2006 - SANTA SEMANA (Easter Week)

With thanks to the Ayuntamiento of Malaga I picked up a brochure in English this year (2006) which has finally allowed me to understand what happens in Malaga during the week of Santa Semana I have reproduced it here verbatim and hope that you will find it of use planning your next Easter visit to Malaga

THE PASSION

The soul of a city is especially apparent in its festivities and Holy Week, the most baroque, the most typically Andalusian celebration of all, sees Malaga become an enourmous stage upon which its entire population comes together to remember the Passion of Christ. In the candlelight, amidst the gleam of gold and silver and the aroma of incense and orange blossom, ther huge processional floats or tronos, veritable moving altarpieces, paint a truly unforgettable picture.

 

PALM SUNDAY

Seven cofriadas or Easter Societies stage their processions today. parading a total of twelve shoulder borne floats. Exitement and colour are the watchwords on this first day of Malagas Holy Week.

Morning

Those who wish to wxperience all of the sensations that the days processions have to offer are advised to make an early start. At eight o clock the image of La Virgen de Lagrimasy Favores leaves the church of San Juan; the highlights of this procession are the striking beauty of its float and its passage through the Plaza de Felix Saenz. After a hearty breakfast, we suggest that you wait near the cathederal in order to see the departure of La olincia from El Patio de los Naranjas and share in the joy of the children bearing palms as they herald Jesus' enrty into Jerusalem.

The rest of the morning may be spent strolling through the Parque de Malaga which along with the gardens od Pedro Luis Alonso, forms a precious green jewel at the heart of the city.

Afternoon/evening

After a light tapa lunch at one of the bats in the old town center, you should head for the Plaza de Capuchinos at 16:00 to see the procession of El Senor de la Soledad; the stuesque beauty of this image and the attention to detail of the Jewish guard that accompanies it are a wonder to behold. Make your way to the Molinillo district to witness the difficult departure of El Senor de la Salutacion from the church of San Filipe Neri at 16:30 or follow this procession through the area near Las Carmalitas Convent. This is a good moment to enjoy a rest at one of the many cafes in the old town centre and sample the delights of Malagas typical pastries.

Next, you should head for the cathederal at around 20:00 to see La humildad passing through its interior. We recommend that you have dinner here at one of the establishments to be found in the Calle San Augustin area.

Night

After dinner at around 21:00 you should head for La Tribuna de los Pobres to see the magnificent floats paraded by El Huerto. Finally we suggest that you accompany the El Prendimiento society from Calle Dos Aceras until it lays its float to rest before a mass audience near the Conservatorio Superior de Musica.

 

HOLY MONDAY

This is the day of greatest contrast, since each of the six societies that carry their eleven floats has a most individual style.

Morning

One of the most intense moments of Easter week in Malaga is without doubt the transfer of Jesus Cautivo and La Virgen de la Trinidad to their processional floats following early morning mass on the esplanade of the church of San Pueblo. It begins at 08:00 but the enrty of the images into the Hospital Civil, where they are seen by the patients at 09:30 should not be missed. This morning also offers the chance to visit the church of Los Martires to see the floats paraded by the Pasion society whose candles are lit at 12:00.

Afternoon/evening

By 16:30 we should be on the steep slopes of Calle Carrion to see the difficult descent of La Crucifixion. Close by. just an hour later, we shall witness the vibrant departure of El Senor de la Columna and La Vergen de la O, known as "the gypsies"; here the music of the band mixes with the prayers and dance of the gypsy people. Afterwards, we can head to the area around the cathederal at about 18:00 to admire the floats of the Pasion society in Calle Santa Maria in the shadow of the gothic facade of the church of El Sagrario, just a stones throw away from this historic location, we can see Los Estudiantes wend their way from Calle Cister acvross Plaza del Carbon to crowded Calle Carreteriaa.

Night

After some sustenance at one of the bars or restaurants in the town centre, a must for any visitor is the unique sight of the procession of El Cautivo as it crosses the Puente de la Aurora bridge (22:00) with a sea of devotees in its wake who will have been following it since early afternoon and will continue to do so until it is returned to its temple. Another location not ot be missed is the Plaza del Obispo where, towards midnight, the floats paraded by Los Estudiantes will converge while the Bishop looks on from the portico of the main entrance to the cathederal. To round off this busy day, we recommend that you spend the early hours following Los Dolores del Puente (01:30) as the procession passes through El Llano de Dona Trinidad and Calle Cerrajo, locations steeped in history.

HOLY TUESDAY

La Victoria plays a key role today as three of the six societies whose processions take place on Tuesday come from this traditional district of the city.

Morning

The ideal way to spend an enjoyable, relaxing morning in Malaga is to take a stroll along the cities three promenades, visit some of our fine monuments or take advantage of this quieter time of day to visit the Contemporary Art Centre, Picasso's birthplace, or the Picasso museum.

Afternoon/evening

We recommend that you get to the Victoria district by 19:00 to see the departure of El Rescate from the narrow Calle Aguas and enjoy its colourful cortege, its artistic beauty and its unique float, which is the only one to feature a gothic style Virgin. Afterwards, head up to the Jardin de los Monos at about 20:00 to see the procession of El Rocio as it approaches the sforementioned square before continuing along Calle Victoria. At around 20:30 in nearby Plaza de la Merced, amidst the attractive arcgitectural setting provided by Picasso's Birthplace and the monument erected in memory of General Torrijos. we can witness the arrival of La Sentencia following its departure from its societies temple in Calle Frailes.

Night

We suggest that you sample one of the many typical dishes on offer in the old town centre before continuing. In this respect. we are sure that you will not be disappointed by the wealth of options to be found in the area between Puerta del Mar and Calle Larios. Get to Plaza del Obispo by 22:00 to admire the efforts of the members of the Nueva Esperanza Society in front of the main facade of the cathederal. From here you can head towards the heart of 16th century Malaga, Calle San Augustin, to enjoy the procession of Las Penas at around 23:00. Afterwards. we shall make for the Alameda Principal to see the procession of La Humilacion which parades the oldest of all Malagas Easter floats. To finish off Holy Tuesday, meet up with El Rocio as it comes back to the district of La Victoria to be returned to its temple amidst great popular fervour.

HOLY WEDNESDAY

Today we reach the halfway stage of Easter Week with its six societies parading their thirteen floats. Grandeur and splendour are the words that best sum up each and every one of these processions.

Morning

We can start off by visiting the temple museum of the Expiracion society, home to an art collection of great merit.

Night

Our afternoon journet begins at 16:30 in Plaza de Capuchinos with the departue of Los Salesianos. We shall then head for the church of Santo Domingo to see the Via Crucis of the congregacion de Mena on the streets of the Perchel district at around 18:00. At 19:00 we shall cross the Puente de los Alemanes bridge and make for the Plaza de Felix Saenz to admire the dense cortege of the Cofradias Fusionadas. Before taking a rest, we recommend that you attend the traditional ceremony in which a prisoner is freed by the image of Jesus el Rico at 20:30 near Plaza de la Aduana, very close to the Alcazaba.

After keeping our strenght up by sampling 'pescaito' (fried fish) and some of the delights to be found in the old town centres many bars, we shall head for the Alameda Principal at 22:00 to see the magnificent floats paraded by the Paloma society, in which a number of doves, the birds that give the society its name, are set free (sadly abandoned this year because of the threat of bird flu) Then walk to the end of Calle Carreteria to witness the vibrant meeting of the floats, carried by the Sangre society at La Tribuna de los Pobres. Finally, we recommend that you try to find a seat in the Alameda Principal at around Midnight in order to enjoy the procession of La Expiracion and appreciate both the components of its cortege and the immense artistry of its floats. If you wish to see one of the floats returned to its temple, we suggest you watch El Rico in Calle Alcazabilla at about 01:30.

HOLY THURSDAY

This is without doubt the most popular day in terms of attendance, which makes id difficult to get around and find spots that are not too crowded.

Morning

We suggest that you be at the port by 11:00 to witness the Legionary Troops as they arrive in Malaga; these soldiers lift El Cristi de la Buena Muerte onto its processional float (12:00) and subsequently carry it to join the societies procession. After midday, a visit to the temple museum of the Esperanza society to take a closer look at the floats of El Nazareno de Paso and La Vergen de Malaga is a must.

Afternoon/Evening

We recommend that you head for the Plaza de Biedmas, near Calle Carreteria, at 18:00 to see the departure of the Vineros society and witness the ceremonial placing of the key in the hand of the Nazarene. Afterwards, at 18:30, make for the Alameda Principal to see the walking cathederals that are the floats of La Sagrada Cena and La Virgen de la Paz. At the nearby Puente de Tetuan bridge you can admire the procession of the Congregacion de Mena accompanied by both the Legion and the Navy, Then if you can manage to exit the Alameda Principal via a side street, head for Calle San Augustin to follow the sombre cortege of La Santa Cruz until it reaches Plaza de Merced at around 21:00.

Night

After a visit to one of the restaurants in the town centre to sample the wide variety of tapas and other dishes on offer, you can enjoy the visual feast provided by La Misericordia in front of the cathederal in Plaza Obispo at 23:30. Then head for the Alameda Principal to witness a unique sight in Malgas Easter Week; the crossing of the processions of La Esperanza and Mena at around 00:30. Afterwards go to La Tribuna de los Pobres to hear the people of Malaga pay complements to La Virgen de la Amargura (Zamarrilla) as it returns to its home district. Stay at this spot to receive the blessing of the Nazareno del Paso and accompany La Virgen de la Esperanza on its return home across the carpet of rosemary that now covers the streets of Malaga.

GOOD FRIDAY

Silence is the main feature on this day of mourning and reflection. fourteen floats are paraded through the streets of Malaga as eight different societies carry their sacred images.

Morning

As reflection is the iverriding characteristic of Good Friday morning, we suggest a visit to any of the churches with Eucharistic monuments in the old town centre.

Afternoon/evening

The large number of societies taking part today means that an early start is adviseable to avoid missing any of them. We suggest you watch the procession of El Descendimiento through el Paseo del Parque at around 17:30; you will be surprised at the beauty of the La Coracha and its surroundings. An hour later head for the Plaza de Arriola where the canticles sung by the Hermanas de la Cruz to the society of Los Dolores de San Juan will take you back several centures. By 19:00, you should be at the cathederal to admire the solemnity of the Via Crucis del Santisimo. We suggest that you follow a tea of torrijas and other pastries with a trip to the Puente de la Aurora to watch El Santo Trasiado and La Virgen de Soledad.

Night

After dinner, you should not miss the procession of La Virgen de la Piedad along the narrow Calle Ollerlas, the entrance to the Cruz del Molinillo district, at around 21:30. And if you want to see an Easter Procession in a rich architctural setting, witness the departure from the cathederal of La Hermandad del Monte Calvario and its progress along Calle de San Augustin at around 23:00. In nearby Calle Caldereria you can watch El Cristo del Anor and La Virgen de la Caridad as they return to the Victoria district shortly after middnight. As Easter Saturday begins, we shall see the majestic elegance of the Santo Sepulcro's cortege in Calle Larios, accompanied on its way by Chopin's funeral march, at around 01:00 all will be shrouded in darkness when, after El Hijo Muerto, we follow La Virgen de Servitas along the same street until it returns to the church of San Felipe Neri, amidst the prayers of La Corona Dolorosa, at about 04:00.

EASTER SUNDAY

With the procession of El Resucitado, Malaga celebrates the resurrection of the Lord. Nazarenes from each and every one of the societies take part together, creating a colourful cortege that, due to its extreme length, is best viewed sitting in one of the seats provided by the Association of Easter Societies throughout the entire route.

This procession reaches the Alameda Principal at midday and end at the church of San Julian, near Calle Carreteria, at 14:00.

Finally, there will be just enough time to sample a typical dish washed down with local wine befire heading off to one of our beaches to enjoy the benevolent clomate that makes Malaga a "City of Paradise".

     

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - New Orange Bus Routes

Three new bus routes were launched on the first of March that cover the entire area of Benalmadena Costa, Benalmadena Pueblo and Arroyo de la Miel, named "Linea Naranja" the busses have a bright orange livery and the bus stops are also easily located with their distinctive shape and colour. It is possible to pay the driver if you offer the exact fare, or do not require more than 10 euros change. However if you are likely to use the busses regularly you are encouraged to purchase a bus card that can be charged with amounts from 5 euros up to 500 euros and the fare is electronically deducted when boarding the bus. (The cards and prepayments can be made at the Portillo office on the Avenida Antonio Machada opposite Avda de Alay and next to the tourist office. Prices are Normal Fare = 1.10 - with a "Portillo Card" = 0.65 - student with card = 0.40 - pensioner with card = 0.28

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