We arrived in Madrid April 15th.... It was chilly and my teeth were still sore from the surgery. As we unpacked I looked around and sighed. Spain at last. Madrid was very busy and fast paced. The city was beautiful in its own way but not a place that felt warm or inviting. The best part for me was the Museo de Prado. The art there was incredible. It was hard to wrap my finite artistic perception around these Old, Old pieces of Masters like Goya, El Grecko, Picasso and many others... yet there they were like visual stories hanging for our eyes to feed and digest what we could. There was very little talking, much like the reverent feeling one has when in a Church or maybe even a funeral home... a collective shhhhhh prevailed, not withstanding the occasional flash of a camera which was not allowed.
Avila was our next stop. It was very cold and rainy but I joked that it was for full effect of my pilgrimage to see St Teresa d' Avila. She being after all, an austere woman whom I have loved since I first read about her around 1987. She reminds me that this Life for all its goodness is fleeting... much like the pellets of hail that fell on me as I entered the Convent where she first lived. The streets were cobble stone and the buildings in tact, were 15th century. A feeling of intense littleness came over me... I can not explain.
Then we made our way to Sevilla, where the food tasted better. The sound of the Flamenco singers and dancing on the street captured me.... for about 20 minutes. Everyone in Sevilla looked beautiful, men, women, children. They smiled as if to say, "we are beautiful"... it was more than confidence but not arrogance. I in my jeans, and ball cap, felt happy to just walk amongst them for those 2 days.
In Sevilla we rented a car to drive down to Malaga, the southern coast of Spain. We arrived and ate at a place on the beach. We had no idea that it was not the Malaga we were booked to stay at. Malaga de Ronda was where we were booked.... and that was quite a ways off. We had no idea we took the "path less traveled" as we drove round and round, up a steep mountain to get to our hotel... my Priest friend had choice Spanish expletives, and I frantic that the godddamn road had exceeded my patience and faith.... that we would not survive this leg of our journey! However, once we were there we laughed at each other and ourselves... the view from our hotel was nothing short of spectacular. Isn't that how Life often is?? We take the long road or the wrong path and get frightened and frustrated... only to find that it has brought us to this place. This wonderful place in this point of time. This is an astonishing surprise for two reasons; 1. because you overcame the hardship of that winding fear and 2. because you have no idea how amazing the view is once you get there... again, words fail here...
Then we drove to Granada. So many people there were very old tourists... inching their way to see the 11th century mosques at La Alhambra. I at this point was extremely exhausted and took pictures of everything... and ate too much. I people watched and picked up rocks and stuffed them in my pockets. I closed my eyes and imagined people walking on these grounds 500 hundred years ago....Holy with History.... and then, I blend in with the backdrop of the purple plum trees and red rocks. I breathed in and out and etched that moment forever...
By the time we reached Toledo... I didn't give a crap. I was so tired, too tired and I can't even stand myself when I'm that bitchy. I walked around the hotel court yard and that was the extent of my tour of Toledo.... I slept most of that afternoon.
Finally we made it back to Madrid and caught our flight back home. A friend of mine asked if I had caught "wander lust" and wished to return there soon?... I'd have to say "no". I prayed to my ancestors while there... and touched the ground Teresa d' Avila walked. My dreams regarding Spain have been sanctified.