Europe

Sunday: A Complete Day of Rest in Catholic Spain


For anyone who doesn’t work in a store or a restaurant,

Sunday seems to be a complete day of rest in Catholic Spain, with not much going on (other than eating out or shopping, with the major stores open all day long). In other words, it is a perfect day to tour the Mezquita, one of the world’s largest cathedrals.

Sunday: Hot, Dry and Dusty

Our Sunday morning starts very leisurely but early in the day it is already hot, and it is the same kind of heat that we experienced in India, HOT, dry and dusty.Before we head to the Mezquita, however, we are off to the bullfighting museum, which we find, searching through the narrow and confusing streets, barely seconds before they close the doors. It IS Sunday, after all. I go under protest; Greg wants to see it. Thankfully, we are not here during bullfighting season. The biggest part of the museum turns out to be devoted to Manolete, a famous bullfighter who was killed by a bull; but of course, the bull died anyway: Shouldn’t he, as victor, been able to live a long life? Along with Manolete’s costumes, the killer bull’s moth-eaten skin is displayed. I can’t tell you how appalling I find this. Although we are enjoying Spain and find the Spaniards wonderful, this is one aspect of the culture I do not comprehend.

From Mosque to Church

We find our way back through the narrow meandering streets to the Mezquita. To do this, we walk through the Juderia, which was the Jewish quarter before the Reyes Catolicos expelled the Jews in 1492. Everywhere are signs proclaiming the 800th anniversary of Moses Maimonides’ (one of the most important Jewish philosophers) birth. The Mezquita is surrounded by huge, red walls, which we have walked by many times since our arrival yesterday, and so we have no idea what is inside. We walk through the gate and discover that part of the interior is a beautiful courtyard, with its beautiful campanile, which was originally built as a minaret. Not surprising, given that the building was built as a mosque. We enter the building, still not sure what to expect. The beautiful double arches immediately catch our eyes. As beautiful as any mosque we’ve seen, made amazing by the Catholic church which has been inserted into the middle of the building. In particular, we love the double-arches that support the roof. Beautiful.

Food: An International Language

As we wander, we spot a restaurant that looks wonderful. Hoping not to have a repeat of last night’s disaster (in either way), we walk up the hill from our hotel at about 9. We are seated and the waitress, who cannot speak English, somehow makes it easy to understand what is on the menu. We order, and have a truly wonderful meal, with a lovely bottle of rioja. When the bill arrives, we are shocked at how reasonable it is. This is probably one of the reasons that Spain is the most visited country in the world. Go to La Fusa to see their menu and some photos. Sunday in Spain: restful and on budget.

Sunday in Spain: restful and on budget.

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