|Cordoban women wearing traditional trajes de gitana|
|Streets of Iznatoraf|
Enter the springtime sun: the dreary rain is banished and the world warms up, but doesn’t get unbearably hot. You can walk around without a jacket or appreciate a gentle breeze as it drifts past your hair at dusk. Grandmas pack away their floor-length fur coats, men start unbuttoning the top two, three…even four buttons of their shirts, and women bare their arms in bright, colorful dresses.
Rather than grabbing a quick snack or a coffee at a restaurant’s bar, people instead choose to sit outside in the terrazas and enjoy the warmth of the sun. This custom of going out for an afternoon drink or coffee is so popular in the south that by 6pm it’s often impossible to find a place to sit outside!
|Orange blossoms in the gardens of Sevilla’s Real Alcázar|
When I was in Morocco in late March, the orange trees there were already in bloom, as were the naranjos in Algeciras (far southern Cádiz province). I visited a Sevilla overflowing with orange blossom perfume in April, but it wasn’t until May that similar trees in Úbeda and Jaén province started to flower. More time to enjoy it, I guess!
I can remember sitting out on the terrace of a friend’s apartment in Linares at sunset, simply enjoying the smell of the orange blossom blowing upward from the street below…I can remember repeatedly walking back and forth beneath the orange trees in one of Úbeda’s plazas to breathe deeply beneath the perfume of the azahar…it’s just that good, y’all.
FestivalsThe Christian holiday of Easter is celebrated throughout the northern hemisphere not only to commemorate Christ’s resurrection, but also to herald the season of spring, itself a time of rebirth. Within Spain, the two regions that go all-out when it comes to Easter celebrations are traditional Castilla y León to the north and, you guessed it, Andalucía.
|Semana Santa in Algeciras|
Around this time, cities and villages start celebrating their town fairs. Usually corresponding with bullfighting season, these weeklong fairs can be held anywhere from March to October. Sevilla’s Feria de Abril is usually held two weeks after Easter; Úbeda where I lived celebrates the last week of September and into early October.
Think of these town fairs like a state or county fair in America: fun theme-park style rides or rollercoasters, greasy fried street food, and markets selling locally-produced goods. There will probably be bullfights during the day, your best chance to see this controversial
Cruces de Mayo is another popular springtime festival. The same religious brotherhoods that do the processions during Holy Week set up makeshift bars, blast flamenco music, and construct huge crosses made of flowers in early May to raise funds for their group activities. While you enjoy fresh, informal food served up by members who now wear normal clothes, you can appreciate the pretty displays of flower planters and other knick-knacks significant to the area, like a guitar or a glass of sherry.
|One of the many patios of Córdoba|
|“We Have Snails! Tasty Tasty!”|
When it comes to eating them, you’ve got two options: bring the shell to your mouth and sluuuuuurp ‘em down, or get a toothpick and dig out the snail body from within. Beware—with the latter method you’ll come face-to-face with your snail, so if that weirds you out, just stick to the slurping method. Wash your snails down with the healthy broth!
Watch out for your allergies!
|Wisteria-covered stairway in the Alhambra’s Generalife gardens|
My allergies didn’t bother me the month of April, but I was miserable from May until I got up to Galicia in mid-June: drippy nose, drainage, sneezing, the works. I made the mistake of sleeping with my windows open—twice. When I was in Extremadura to the northwest of Sevilla, I had a sneezing attack in my hotel room and went through an entire package of tissues during dinner.
Thankfully when I came back to visit Sevilla this past October, I wasn’t bothered by the olive groves.
Have you ever been to Andalucía in the spring? Did you almost die from your allergies or did you enjoy the warm, fragrant atmosphere? Add your experience to the comments section below!