Touching the sacred place

Trip Start Jan 08, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Spain  ,
Monday, March 7, 2005

We had a huge drive across to Zaragoza. The landscape changed from a green to an arid kind of desert look.

There didn't seem to be much else to see in Zaragoza except for the Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar. Local legend says that an image of the Virgin Mary appeared on top of an alabaster pillar and there you have it - a famous religious relic. People from all over the world come to touch it. I find religious relics really interesting so I really wanted to see it.

The basilica looked fantastic from a distance. It used to be a mosque and the old minarets had coloured tiles on the roofs. It was absolutely gigantic.

I had envisaged an elegant, tall, slim, worn pillar. But it turned out to be a bit of a let down from a visual point of view. Although I'm sure from a religious point of view it's awe inspiring.

The said pillar was actually completely housed and the only exposed piece was in a nook in the wall with a place to kneel. The piece was a little smaller than my face and very very smooth and worn. It wasn't alabaster colour though. It was darker.

A few people came along, knelt down, gave the stone a quick stroke or kissed it then made the sign of the cross. Some said a little prayer then went. I went over and decided to touch it rather than kiss it. You never know what people have been doing with their mouths. I suppose the hand thing might be a bit on the dodgy side too if you really want to get technical.

Z was feeling less than comfortable though. He thought he might be struck down because he's not religious. If he's not religious what would he be stuck down by?

We had a long drive back to Barcelona so we got something to eat, had a look at the remaining parts of the old wall and headed off.
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