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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 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 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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  • Day395

    Day 396: Monastery of Guadalupe

    March 17, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 34 °C

    Lots of driving today! Headed north of Seville, firstly on freeways and then on back roads, heading for the tiny town of Guadalupe. Arrived around 1pm where we had some lunch and a poke around the town.

    The monastery here is quite large and important, and received royal patronage for hundreds of years. It's got quite an interesting story - a local shepherd found a statue of the Madonna half-buried in a riverbank in the 13th century, so a chapel was built around it. According to legend the statue had originally been placed by people fleeing the Muslim invasion further south.

    Later, King Alfonso XI prayed at the statue before a key battle against the Muslims, and when he was victorious he returned and greatly expanded the chapel into a church and then a monastery. Later still, the royal document sponsoring Columbus's expedition to the New World was signed here, and Columbus himself came here in pilgrimage after returning. It's still a popular pilgrimage destination for Spaniards and Latin Americans, since worshipping the statue (known as the Black Madonna since it's made of black wood) was exported to the Americas by Spanish colonists and conquistadors.

    We waited around and filmed the exterior while waiting for it to re-open after siesta, which it finally did at 3pm. Paid our money and joined a group of 50 others, mostly Spanish though at least two other confused Americans. We went through various parts of the monastery, but of course all the explanations were in Spanish and my skills are nowhere near good enough to keep up. And of course - no photos in most of it! Frustrating.

    At the end we got a close up view of the black madonna, after a lengthy spiel from a local monk. Most of the group gave him some money and kissed his hand too; I just felt incredibly awkward and gave him a nod. They get money from the Spanish royal family, they don't exactly need it from me.

    Back outside where it was freezing cold. Finished our filming and checked into the hotel which was only a hundred metres away - the town is basically the monastery and a couple of extra streets. Nothing to see or do otherwise, so we just sat in our room with the heater blasting and did internet stuff.

    Headed downstairs to the restaurant for dinner and the 10 euro set menu. We haven't cooked much lately, though eating out in Spain is pretty cheap so we don't mind so much.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Guadalupe, غوادالوبي, Guadalupi, Գվադալուպե, グアダルーペ, Гуадалупе, Гвадалупе, 瓜达卢佩