This afternoon, after walking up streets and pathways to see recommended churches in Manresa, I stopped in a bar for an Estrella Damm and saw the Spanish version of “Wheel of Fortune.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself on the day’s events. Better to start at the beginning.
From our yoga retreat castle Anima Mundi in Canet de Fals to the town of Manresa it takes a 20 minute walk through the vineyards and another 20 minute bus ride costing three Euros. We’ve had some rain and snow the past couple of days (you can see the white Pyrenees in the above photo), but this morning dawned cloudless. The fields showed off a healthy green and rich mud. The weather reports for this Tuesday, March 28th say cool start but warming perfectly under a brilliant spring sun. Walking in the rural silence but for birds chirping, I say it’s a top five day of any year, anywhere.
The trees and the boulevards in Manresa are just coming alive. So pleasant to stroll and breathe in the fresh spring air.
A nice local yoga instructor named Alba recommended I visit two cathedrals in Manresa – La Seu de Manresa and La Cova de Sant Ignasi.
La Seu de Manresa stands atop the cliff Puig Cardoner. Its origins date back to the late 9th century when a church dedicated to Santa Maria was built here. This current basilica was started in the 13th century when Manresa’s population was growing and therefore required a larger church. It was a nice hike up there today. After circling around the church I found the man in charge and asked may I go in? He replied yes, if I provided a one Euro donation. It was the best Euro I ever spent! Alone in this magnificent, towering structure, it was difficult to imagine how it was built so perfectly up here…in the 13th century?!
La Cova de Sant Ignasi marks the end of the Ignatian Way, or Camino Ignaciano, the route that retraces the steps of Saint Ignatius of Loyola when he walked from Basque country to Manresa in 1522.
In the distance I can see the unique, tall rock spires of Montserrat, also a stage of the Ignatian Way.
Inside La Cova de Sant Ignasi – amazing!
A woman working in the church gift shop opens a map and shows me the route of the Ignatian Way from Loyola to Manresa, 700 kilometers divided into 27 stages.
After Saint Ignatius reached Manresa he lived for ten months in a small cave. It was here he had such a profound experience that it served as the impetus for his work, “The Spiritual Exercises.”
A closer look…
Back on the streets and in the alleys of Manresa, I work my way in the direction of the bus station.
I stop in a bar and try to follow “Wheel of Fortune” on Spanish television. I’m not very successful. Then I hit a few stores, buy some things and put them in my backpack. I walk all over Manresa in the sun, on a very remarkable day.
Love and Peace,