Avila to Aviles/Oviedo
6 Miles/10,999 Steps – (Total 160/370,900)
I don’t usually wake up Sunday mornings with a marching band outside my window. I don’t usually sleep in until 9am either.
After a late dinner on our balcony overlooking the town, we slept until the St. Teresa festivities called our attention. Gigantic puppet like figures, dignitaries, banners and bands came down our street in no particular order making their way to the square where the solemn mass would be held.
When we arrived for the 10:00 mass, a bit late, the square was already packed and no seats were to be found. The altar was set up on the stage at one end of the square, holding about nine bishops and countless other liturgical assistants. The stage was flanked by the biers bearing the likeness of Teresa on one side and her mother on the other.
We left mass and decided to try to visit the 12 Century walls that make a mile-and-a-half perimeter of the old town.
The walls average 10 feet thick and 35 feet tall. The view across the valley would have provided a great lookout to protect
against marauding Moors (or any other marauders I suppose). Outside each of the main gates of the town there is a 12th or 13th century church that would have provided a a safe haven if you did not make it back to town before nightfall. They provided a holy perimeter to further protect the town.
We were not too afraid of missing the procession/parade today because we were in it the night before. From our vantage point on the wall we were rewarded with an encompassing view of the whole thing.
As the procession approached we were above the main gate (where I took Sonia’s picture yesterday) in the left tower. We looked down at St. Teresa square which stood between us and St. Peter’s church – one of the 13th century churches that ring Avila.
It was a wonderful parade, led by a cross and torches like any good church procession. The crowd gathered in the square erupted in applause when Teresa made the turn into the square.
The whole day had the buzz and excitement of Notre Dame football Saturday. The focus was honoring a saint of the church – the first female doctor of the church. For centuries we have honored those who have come before us in the faith. The joyful nature of the celebration and the large crowds are testament to a living faith deeply rooted in history. I feel blessed to have experienced this weekend in Avila honoring La Santa.
73°F Mostly Sunny
Old Town of Avila, Avila, Castile and León, Spain