Saturday, April 26, 2003

Semana Santa (Holy Week), and the whole of Madrid was stampeding out of the city. Destination; Gandia, Valencia. Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I too saddled up, along with the visiting Lynda.

Gandia is a resort town and "Madrid´s summer playground". The only difference between Gandia and the resorts that you are all more familiar with is that when people arrive here, they don´t whip out phrase books and they already have their tans. As you can guess, my naturally bronzed skin helped me to fit in unnoticed. Unfortunately poor Lynda would be of a more traditional Irish colouring which eventually gave my game away.

On the first evening there, as in most of Spain, there was an Easter Procession. The whole town lined the streets while people in hooded cloaks (scarily similar to those of the Klan, except in different colours) carried statues, each depicting a station of the cross. They were accompanied by bands of trumpets and drums. It really did a have a very solemn tone to it and it was at times quite eery. I enjoyed it because it was a real glimpse of the Spain of old and also a perfect chance to watch the locals interact amongst themselves. Little did I realise that these pious moments were neither an indicator of, nor a preparation for, the weekend of madness to follow.

Unlike Salamanca this was not a place for gazing in awe at the buildings.That sort of thing is simply forbidden. If you want to admire architecture you do so from the inside of a nightclub. Up until then all energies are required to be channelled into recovering as quick as possible from one crazy night in preparation for the next. The night scene was absolutely electric. The clubs held thousands and as the nights drew on, the atmosphere seemed to get more and more charged, causing me to completely lose track of the time. But then again perhaps it was the girls who made me disorientated......I´ll say no more.

We were staying with Jorje, a native of Gandia. His gang of friends was made up of locals like himself and others from Madrid, who know him from years of holidaying there. They were a cool group of people who really knew how to party to the limits. Our daily routine was to get fed simply far too much amazing food by Jorje´s parents, hit the town until breakfast (or after), sleep a few hours and then start all over again. I´m pretty sure that Jorje showed us around his town at some stage over the weekend but I was either sleep walking or focussing myself for the night to follow. However I distinctly remember an amazing beach aswell as a very friendly atmosphere. A great town by all accounts.

Thankyou Jorje and Lynda. I´m not sure if I will ever recover.I am sure that I want to go back for more.