Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cheeeeeese! Feria del Queso in Trujillo

I broke one of my own rules and planned a vacation during the Rota feria. But! I have two very good excuses. One, the feria dates have been thrown off this year by the lateness of Easter - Sevilla's Feria de Abril was at the beginning of May and Rota's was before Sevilla's, not to mention El Puerto's is sadly over the American Memorial Day long weekend, and I'll be traveling for most of that, as well. Both trips were planned well before the feria dates were released. 

Two, and possibly a far better reason, I missed the traditional Rota Feria de la Primavera for a feria dedicated to one of my very deepest loves - cheese! And this trip was a long time in the making. 

Flashback to two very jetlagged newlyweds, their small dog, multiple bags and a rental car full of giddy and groggy optimism as they drove from Madrid to El Puerto de Santa María nearly three years ago... 

On our very first day of living together in Spain, I sat shotgun as Graham navigated the long drive from the capital to our new town in the south. To pass the time, I followed along in our recently purchased Eyewitness Travel Spain guidebook. As we passed a medieval hilltop city, I read aloud about Trujillo - birthplace to conquistadors, site of a moorish fortress, and host to an annual cheese fair. Upon reading that last bit, I immediately proclaimed that we would one day return to Trujillo. 

And we did! Painfully aware that this year would probably be our last opportunity to go, we rallied some friends (some of the same people we went to Rome with over Thanksgiving) and rented a house in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, a pueblo just outside of Trujillo, for the long weekend of the Feria Nacional del Queso, the National Cheese Fair. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014


"Do you go to the processions?" asked my Spanish-American hair stylist. "Yes, of course!" I replied from my seat in front of the mirror. And then we proceeded to talk about how much we love to go out for Semana Santa - how lively the town is, how much fun it is to join the crowds, gathering to eat and drink with friends. 

What I'm trying to say, without sounding completely irreverent, is that yes, I do love the processions. For different reasons than the deeply devout, but there is just such a palpable energy in the streets, bars, restaurants, and on the beaches that can be felt and enjoyed by everyone. Which is probably due to a combination of Catholic fervor and the majority of the population enjoying vacation days. In Andalucía, Semana Santa is like a sneak peek of what summer will bring interlaced with age old religious traditions. 

I went to downtown El Puerto several times during Semana Santa. Here are some pictures from the Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) and Viernes Santo (Good Friday) processions. 

Domingo de Ramos