To the top of San Vicente de La Sonsierra


Approaching San Vincente

After passing through the small town of Elciego we continued on our roadtrip through the Basque wine region in the province of La Rioja.  The valley was green and wide and rimmed with mountains.  It was a lovely drive and in the distance I noticed a town high on a hill, something out of a fairy tale.  I didn’t know if we were on our way home or if there was another stop planned and then Lidia turned the car toward the hilltop.

Lidia explained that the Semana Santa procession was a popular event in San Vincente and was scheduled for that evening.  When we arrived there were cars parked everywhere.


The main square in San Vincente de La Sonsierra

There were a lot of families and groups mingling in the plaza mayor


Another view of the plaza mayor

#2IMG_8251while others had began the climb to the Church at top of the hill we had seen from the highway.

We followed them up there and discovered that the Santa Maria La Mayor Fortress Church was built built in the Gothic style, within the walls of a castle and is a National Monument.


Choir members enter the church

Just as we arrived the choir entered the Church as a service for Semana Santa was about to begin.


The Church of Santa Maria La Mayor

We stepped inside for a moment and quietly stood in the back while the choir sang.  It was beautiful and moving and truly memorable.

#3IMG_3248The floats for the procession stood behind me in a row.  Some were decorated with fresh flowers.


The main street in San Vincente

After the service locals would carry the floats down the narrow street to the Plaza Mayor while spectators lined the streets to watch.

#3IMG_8265Homes and businesses located on the main street hung banners from their windows to mark the route of the procession.


Window display

It was getting late and we needed to drive back to Vitoria so we did not stay for the procession but it was a treat to see San Vincente as it geared up for this big event.







#1IMG_3250 The Semana Santa procession would begin at this church many people carrying the religious “floats” all the way down the narrow street to the main square.

#3IMG_8265Many of the businesses and residents on this street hung banners from their balcony to mark the way.

Next post: On the road to the Basque Coast



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