I can't believe it has been almost a month since I returned from my "pilgrimage" to Portugal, Spain and France. In my earlier blog, I wrote about my journey through Portugal, where we visited the sites of Fatima; where miraculously Our Lady appeared to three small shepherd children.
Back on the bus, our next stop was Spain. Although I loved the peacefulness of Fatima, our visit to Spain, was even more amazing. We arrived in Salamenca, Spain, which is one of the oldest cities in the World. The center of all the activity is in the main square which was originally just Government Offices, (pic #2)but now the Government ownes the center section of the buildings, and the rest have been turn into shops and apartments (very expensive apartments, I might add!) Right outside of the square is the Salamenca University. As we walked along the tiny, narrow cobbled streets, I was amazed at the architecture which dates back almost to the 2nd Century. In the some of photos, I shot pictures just of the buildings whose outsides are completed tiled, these building are from the 2nd Century!
Along the way, I met some students who attended the University - as my group continued on, I stayed back and talked to them a while. Only one spoke English, but they were just as interested in meeting Americans (especially ones from New York) as I was of meeting them.
We talked about the art that surrounds the city, and being that they were about the same age as my sons, we talked about their interests in music, design, life. Thousands of miles from home, but I felt like I was with my boys and their friends. Yes, I did finally catch up to our group where we visited "Alba de Tormes" the Basilica where St. Theresa of Avila is buried. (photo #1). She was the first woman ever to be named a Doctor of the Church. Again, the beauty within these Bascilia's with their gold domes, stone carved arches, golden altars and beautiful statues were a sight to behold. As you walk around and look at all these artifacts, one feels as if there are living back in the 5th Century. Since our guide, Javier comes from Salamenca, that night he treated us to dinner in one of his favorite restaurants. After consuming a few glasses of wine, and a shot of a traditional Spanish after dinner drink, we called it a day ( or should I say night).
From there, the next morning we departed for Burgos, Spain. We stopped in Loyola, the birthplace of St. Ignatius, who founded the Jesuits. His story is quite interesting. He originally found in the Battle of Pamplona where he was wounded. Although quite a rebel in his younger days, it was at this time, when being wounded that his conversion began. The Basilica of St. Ignatius was built in front of his family home which still stands. (3rd photo). I could say so much more of the journey, but I think some of the pictures will give you an idea of the beauty that we experienced. (The last pic is our group in Salamenca Square - I am the one on the right with the dark glasses).
Part III - will be my visit to Lourdes.