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  • Day27

    She's no hugger

    July 15, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    On the way back to Madrid, we stopped in Guadalupe...the original Guadalupe.
    *Hold on to your hats here.*

    Back in 712, as Moorish invaders were taking over Spain, a group of priests fled north with a statue of the Virgin Mary carved by *none other than* Luke the Evangelist...you know him...The Gospel According to Luke. Now I’m not sure why Luke the evangelist carved a statue of the Virgin or why Spain seems to have all the original Christian relics, but *Stop asking Questions!!!*

    The priests fled to a river in the Extremadura and buried the statue. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Virgin (like, the real deal) appeared to a cowboy named Gil Cordero who was searching for a missing animal in the mountains. Cordero told a group of priests to dig at the site of his apparition (as ordered by la Virgen) and Voila!, there was the Virgin Mary!

    A small shrine was built for the statue and later expanded it into what it is today. In the Middle Ages, Guadalupe was one of the largest pilgrimage sites in Europe.

    Melinda found lovely accommodations inside one of the cloisters of Guadalupe. She also found the air conditioning switch, so *Hero!* (we enjoy history with a touch of modernity.) We all spent a relaxing, quiet evening cloistered with a wonderful dinner inside the monastery.

    On Sunday we toured the monastery. At the end of the guided tour, a monk meets you in a gilded room and tells you about the room, the miracle, and takes you in to view la Virgen of Guadalupe. She’s beautiful and one of the famous “Black Madonnas” with rich, dark skin draped in gold and jewels...But, unlike St. James, Guadalupe is no hugger. We were instructed to bow. With that bow, our tour of the grand relics of Spain came to an end.

    We continued eastward to drop the car and spend the final few days in Madrid. The Spanish parents we met at camp talked of the “windy road” that leads to Guadalupe. Maria laughed at first...it was no worse than northern New Mexico. She stopped laughing when she realized the curves continued for 65 kilometers, and it got really serious when Melinda snapped, “pull over!” Melinda lost her lunch, took the wheel, and we continued on. That’s the kind of flexibility you need when traveling.😂

    We made it to the airport with the car intact and containing no car sickness...Maria expected to be awarded a medal. Instead, we were met with, “see the scratch here? [Please refer to running into a castle in Trujillo] Next time, be more careful.” Maria didn’t know whether to laugh or punch the Europcar guy. He. Had. No. Idea. What that car went through.

    Next up: Alcalá de Henares
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