October 18, 2012 – Avila, Spain

After the temporarily lost luggage and the can’t get the GPS to work issue, we are finally on the road in the right direction about two hours later than expected. The skies have darkened and we are experiencing some spitting rain. By the time we get to Avila it is quite rainy.

Avila is surrounded by medieval city walls and the cathedral, a fortress-like structure, is built right into the wall. Our goal is to view the city walls and to tour the cathedral.

John braving the elements outside the city walls of Avila

Once inside the city walls we make our way to the cathedral. Although the cathedral was begun in 1095, most of what exists today spans the 12th to 14th centuries. So it is a polyglot of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.

The fortress-like Avila cathedral

We rent the audiotour and are treated to commentary that ranges from informative to religious. One of the big draws in Avila is Saint Teresa. Saint Teresa decided to become a nun because she felt that she was so much of sinner that being in a convent was the only way she could have a life safe from sin. She became a mystic and was later named a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church. The most famous statue of Saint Teresa was carved by Bernini. In it she is being pierced by the sword of god. The art historian, Sister Wendy, comments that the statue is one of the most erotic carvings of a saint.

Saint Teresa in the throes of religious fervor. (Thanks to Dr. History for the pic)

After our tour we find a place for lunch and decide to try some of specialties of Avila. I have Barco de Avila which is a bean soup with chorizo. It tastes like bean soup.

Barco de Avila

John tries the patatas revolconas which ends up being a giant bowl of orange-y potatoes with chorizo. It is tasty but way too much.

John’s big bowl o’potatoes

John did find something more interesting than a bowl of potatoes, though. He asks the waiter what callos are. The waiter unsure of how to characterize this dish points to his stomach. Ah, tripe! John must have this. I am just glad that he wasn’t ordering testicles because I cannot imagine the waiter pointing to the correct body part.

John’s yummy tripe

We are really tired by now. John drives on to Salamanca where we stay in a hotel off the freeway. We nap. We eat at the hotel (nothing exciting), and then sleep all night. (yay!) I am not fooled, however, that jetlag is beaten. We shall see.

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