Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Santa Teresa and the Walled City of Ávila

Monday, 1 June, 2015:

Another warm day in central España as we opted, after breakfast, to board another train to go visit a city that is the essence of Castilla, the walled city of Ávila which is the home of Santa Teresa de Jesús.

 Los Angeles, family and friends
only two days away

We love España but it is definitely time to go home.

 Several plaques like these can be
found on the sidewalks of Madrid

They pay tribute to long standing enterprises in the capital city like this pharmacy that first opened its doors in 1870.

A GREAT spot for desserts

Or so I'm told.

Four tall towers in the much
newer outskirts of the city

These towers are near the Chamartín Train station where, after a quick Metro ride, we would board the train to Ávila.

 We made it!

 Laurie and the Basilica de San Vicente

First peek of Ávila's famous walls

They were constructed in the 12th century and rest atop earlier Roman and Moorish battlements. They are about 12 meters high.


Extremely impressive

We're going in!

Ah, heraldry

Multiple lions and . . .

. . . these two blokes protect the entry
to Ávila's Catedral del Salvador

Shall we enter?
Lots of detailed carvings in this Catedral

Baptismal fount

Another side of the baptismal fount


Slaughter of the Innocents

Catedral's organ

Lots of burial crypts in the Catedral

A monkey pulling a 
chained woman hair

Why in a church, one must ask?


 Santa Teresa de Jesùs
aka, St. Theresa of Àvila

If alive today, she would be celebrating her 500th birthday. Needless to say, the city is using this milestone year to promote tourism.

Born in Ávila in 1515, Santa Teresa de Jesús became a reformer after having a vision of Hell in 1560. Her reforms called for severe austerity measures that were not met well by Catholic church officials. You see, these changes were in stark contrast to the 16th century Spanish churches opulence.

I dare say that if she walked into this Catedral today, she would probably faint at the glorious wonders within its walls.

She died in 1582 and was canonized by the Catholic church in 1622.

Laurie picked Santa Teresa de Jesús for her patron saint at baptism back in 1968. 

It's ALL about the lighting


Colorful vestments

NOT austere

The main altar

At the foot of a dead Caballero


That reminds me, I still have to buy
tickets for Tuesday night's bullfights

This is the last week of Madrid's month long Fiesta de San Isidro at the Las Ventas Plaza de Toros which have featured bullfights every night.

Madrid's Las Ventas Plaza de Toros is THE place where all matadors strive to someday show off their skills.

It will be our last chance to watch La Fiesta Brava for some time to come I suspect.

But I digress, meanwhile back in Ávila's Catedral . . .

Wood working wonder


Our guide book mentioned that we should take a photo of the exterior of the wall every time that we found an opening in it.

So we did

Lots of times

Santa Teresa de Jesús

 Strange people these Ávilans

Ávila's valley

Ávila's signature desserts

They were ok. Murcia's paparajotes are way better. 

WAY better.

A Camino runs through Ávila

A small garden next to La Iglesia
de Santa Teresa de Jesús

 Opulence in La Iglesia
de Santa Teresa de Jesús

 St. Theresa of Ávila

 Delicate close-up

Opulent ceiling

Virgen with a Scapular

Santa Teresa . . . Conehead?!?!?

 Delicate knocker

Proof positive the Santa Teresa
invented baseball in 1527

Ávila was well worth the trip.  It was serene, quite and beautiful to our eyes.

Back to Madrid we went on a Media Distancia train that gently rocked us to sleep.

Back in Madrid

Where's Ian Murphy when you need him?

BIG Spanish flag on Plaza de Colon 

Christopher Columbus
aka, Cristobal Colon

 Revenge of the Killer Frogs

Laurie loves cherries

Interesting calle on which to stroll,
on a late, warm Monday afternoon

Lots of people, shopping, dining and ladies of the late afternoon/night.

Taking people watching to a new level, while enjoying an adult beverage or two.


Spiderman in middle age
on Plaza Mayor

An old school cash register
in the Mercado San Miguel

These churros gave me inspiration
for a new twist on a Murcia staple

Cobras, what about Marineras on a churro?

I'm willing to give it a try, how about you?

We now only have one more full day in Madrid before finally flying home.

I'm excited.

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