Saturday, February 5, 2011

Week 5, OR, How I Go On a Pilgrimage

January 30a
This is the ADORABLE little boy that I see every Sunday when I go to church. He and his older brother are the cutest kids I've ever seen. Each week they're dressed in thick tights to keep their legs warm, shorts, and a dress shirt with their little Oxford shoes. Everyone in our program is totally in love with this little kid. I tried to get a good pic of him, but he and Andrew (our director's son) were running around the chapel, so this was the best I could get of him.

January 30b
The little boy is hugging/catching Andrew. Pre-cious. And don't even worry--I fully acknowledge that I'm a creeper by getting these shots.

January 31a
The Monday morning market (say that 10x fast) in Alcala turned out to be a bigger treat than we ever thought it could be. Behold: a pair of panties for sale on the most voluptuous hip model I've ever seen. When I expressed interest in taking a picture of these, the seller came over to us and told us that these were not just any pair of panties, no--they kept everything tight and held in (he even demonstrated for us) so that you could dance and move properly, AND the best part of his explanation was that he told us that these panties are good for the body. How, we're still not sure, but as long as I have his word that they're good for the body, I'm sold. Now if only I can get over my apprehension to buy granny panties in a marketplace full of little old people from a man selling these out of the back of a truck.

January 31b
The other gem we found while wandering the marketplace: bad European haircut. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they do exist. Notice how he has a mohawk, but not only that, he has detailing etched into the side of his head. What this picture unfortunately doesn't show you is that while he may have a maze carved onto one side of his cranium, the other side is completely shaved down. I know you assumed that he had this lovely etch-a-sketch pattern on both sides, but let's remember what they say about when you assume things. All I have to say is that this one's a keeper.

February 1
For those of you who want to finally see the girl I reference all the time, this is she: the lovely, and ever so posh, Rachel. I happened to be online at 2am Tuesday morning (6pm Monday night her time), so we ended up chatting for awhile, but keep in mind that we had skyped each other the night before for over an hour. Without this girl, my life wouldn't sparkle as much as it already does.

February 2
Today was the first time I was able to go to the Reina Sofia museum after weeks of trying, but I must say that I prefer the Prado more. Reina Sofia has more modern and contemporary art, which is not my cup of tea, so I wasn't as impressed as I was with the Prado. Although I've only seen to the top floor of the museum, I hear each lower level gets better. We'll have to see.

February 3
The view of the Catedral of Santiago de Compostela from my hostel window. Today was my first day in Santiago, and all I can say is that I have never been in a more spiritual and romantic little city. And as hostel experiences go, the Roots and Boots Hostel was pretty great. Other than worrying about the size of the set of carving knives in the kitchen, I can't really complain.

February 4a
The Catedral of Santiago de Compostela. This cathedral is well known and highly visited for many reasons. First off, it's obviously beautiful. Hemingway once said that this cathedral is the building that meant the most to him in all the world. The cathedral is the holiest in Spain, and one of the most sacred in the Catholic religion. The cathedral is the final destination in the pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, as well as for many other pilgrimages across Europe--hundreds of thousands of people from every century, as well as today, have walked this pilgrimage and traveled on the Camino de Santiago to reach the cathedral where it is said that St. James rests.

February 4b
This is the last shell on the Camino de Santiago that ends in the plaza right in front of the Santiago cathedral. These shells line the pathway of St. James from the outskirts of the city to the cathedral, as a way of guiding the pilgrims to their holy destination. Because Santiago is not far from the coast, the scalloped shell represented proof for the early pilgrims during the 8th century that they had made it to St. James' shrine in Santiago. There are legends about the shell and St. James, but metaphorically the grooves in the shell represent the different paths that ultimately lead to one point--like the pilgrims traveling from all over to reach the holy destination of Santiago. For a couple hours today, I was a pilgrim walking on the Camino de Santiago, tracing the steps of those thousands who had come before me in seek of spiritual fulfillment. Definitely the best part of my day.

February 4c
After my pilgrimage, I went down an alleyway off of the cathedral's plaza and saw these 2 men singing opera. When I first heard their music on the other side of the cathedral, I thought it was a recording, but then I saw that they were performing live with background instrumentals playing on their ipod and I was floored; their voices were so powerful that they echoed off of the walls of the plaza. I was swept away and transfixed on their voices, especially when I heard one of their songs so full of emotion and passion that I cried for the entire length of the song. Hearing them perform was the cherry on top of my already perfect day.

February 5
These are 2 cute little bunnies I saw at the outdoor marketplace in Santiago. When I saw these cute little creatures I couldn't help thinking how small their little basket cage was, and worried that they were too cramped. Just as I was about to express my concern to Becca she said, "Look at the cute little bunnies who are going to be someone's dinner tonight". I didn't even put 2 and 2 together. Bye bye bunnies :(

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