Sunday, November 9, 2008

Madrid - The Fiesta de la Alumdena

Today was the Fiesta de la Almudena and the bonus is that it starts in Plaza Mayor which is only 2-3 minutes away from my hotel. Yay, I get to sleep in! It’s been an easy transition turning into a night owl in Madrid. But two things helped in that transition: First, the time difference benefits my internal clock and secondly it’s hard not to get into the full swing of life in Madrid. I think that is part of the experience when you travel, getting into the rhythm and life style of the city or town you are visiting.

So I get up and grab my first Churros and hot chocolate breakfast during my stay (can’t believe I waited this long) then walk over to snag a good spot near the rails before it gets too crowded.

The main reason for the fiesta is to honor the patroness of Madrid La Virgin de La Almudena and people dress up in Regional Costumes for the occasion. The mass started at 11:00 am then the procession starts through the streets of Madrid and ends up bringing the Virgin to the Almudena Cathedral where flowers from all the locals are displayed.

It was an amazing experience to be a part of this fiesta and tradition here in Madrid and I became quite close to my rail buddies during the 3-4 hours. When the Virgin Mary Statue which was on this float like mobile came into the plaza there were loud cheers and it was pretty cool. The mass took place with a full choir and the plaza was just packed with people. There were TV crews no doubt to broadcast the Mass.

After mass the procession is about to start and I soon realize that it is going to roll right by me and my rail buddies so we laugh and smile and pat ourselves on the back for our luck. This great positioning allowed me to take some great photos as the procession moved out onto the streets which of course I had to follow along part way and then went off to the Almudena Cathedral just when the Statue arrived. There were so many flowers and the aroma was sweet. The colors were mixed and bright and were so beautiful and it just demonstrates the love and devotion that the people of Madrid have for this tradition and for the importance they place on the Virgin Mary.

I have really grown to love taking part in important century old traditions in the places that I visit and on this trip I will have to place my experience in the Fiesta de la Almudena as one of my highlights.

Tomorrow I will go to Toledo for a brief day trip and then sadly I pack and have to leave Madrid. I’m looking forward to my stay in Sevilla and Andalusia but I have really enjoyed myself a lot here and I almost hate to leave. Maybe one day I can return.

For now I’ll leave you with some snapshots of my day . . .

Mass in Plaza Mayor

Procession starts

Flowers being placed in front of the Cathedral Almudena

Royal Palace

Parque del Retiro


  1. Kathy, how wonderful for you to experience this. The procession sounds amazing, and what a fantastic vantage point you snagged - well done!! And the Prado sounds mind-boggling and incredible.
    I am loving your descriptions of everything...including the Tapas bars! The photos are gorgeous too.

  2. How lucky to get such a great view. I loved the photos! It is always so much fun to experience traditions and celebrations when visiting a new city or town.

    Thanks for your reply about how you are blogging. I was wondering how you were loading your photos. Looking forward to hearing more.


  3. Thanks for a great post and taking us along with you. I loved your pictures of Madrid and the gorgeous costumes. I'm looking forward to hearing about Toledo, one of my favorite cities.

  4. Ahhh, I really enjoyed seeing your photos today. :)

  5. Kathy, this sounds like such a wonderful day and I LOVE your photos! You must have some good Madonna karma since this is two years in a row you've been able to participate in an ancient Madonna festival. Those flowers are amazing!

    Hope you had a great day trip to Toledo. Thanks so much for these great blog posts!

  6. Hi Anne, Girasoli,Marta, Leslie and Annie,

    Thanks for reading my blog. It's been great so far and it's so cool after all the prep work to have things fall into place. Toledo was fantastic and it is funny how I have the Karma with Virgin Mary celebrations . . . makes me wonder what's next! :)

    Today was fun and I almost hate to leave Madrid, but I have looking forward to Sevilla tomorrow and staying in an apartment again! I miss that a lot.

    Sorry but I probably won't be able to blog for a couple of days until I find an internet cafe. Having Wi-fi is so much more convenient.

    Adios for now! :)

  7. Kathy, what a wonderful experience, the fiesta looks so colourful and exciting.

    Thanks for the great photos, Madrid looks spectacular. I can't wait to read more about your trip!

  8. I agree with Annie about the Madonna karma. I remember that you were in Venice for the festa della Madonna della Salute. Lucky you! The costume are gorgeous and what a wonderful sea of flowers.

  9. Hi Maria, I am very thankful to have lucked out and be able to participate in two very memorable fiestas in Venice and now Madrid. The flowers were so pretty and that whole area smelled so sweet with their frangance, it was amazing. I love your description. Very was a sea of beautiful flowers!

    Thanks for your comments Maria.


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.