End of Week 1: Museums, bridges, and runaway Saint?

Today marks the end of my first week in Avila! The time is already flying by. On Saturday, I spent the morning working on my research. In the afternoon, I went to the Provincial Museum, or the Museum of the City of Avila. 100_3502The museum occupies two large buildings. The first houses artifacts from ancient times, the time of the Romans, the middle Ages, and the Modern age. Many of the pieces were taken from old churches around the city. Some of my favorite pieces were los verracos, or bulls without horns. I think that they look more like bears, but I suppose it is all up to interpretation. 100_3414 Modern replicas of los verracos are found all over the city. The other building contains artwork from various time periods in the development of the City. The first part of the museum depicts Avila’s traditional culture, including traditional dress, agricultural equipment, and tools. The other rooms chronicle the prehistoric age, the age of antiquity, the age of the Visigoths, the Middle Ages, the Modern Age, and the 19th Century. Each room contains archeological artifacts, paintings, and sculptures. It was such a unique experience to see the traditional culture and the historical development of the city. Before dinner, I attended the Vigil mass at the Church of Saint Thomas. It has certainly been a challenging experience attending mass in Spanish, especially with the thick Spanish accent, but it is beautiful to be praying in such a splendid setting, surrounded with so much history. After dinner I indulged in some dessert from the local bakery. My family can attest to how much I love cream puffs, so works cannot begin to describe how ecstatic I was when I saw this cream puff in the display case! Yum!! 100_3503 Sunday was a leisurely day, reading in the gardens. Today was the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, a huge feast day here in Spain. Music from the festivities could be heard from my window into the small hours of the night. This morning, I ventured over to the library run by the Carmelites. It is quite charming inside, and I was thrilled to find entire shelves dedicated to St. Teresa! One section of the library contains beautiful books dating back to the 1880s, with gold letters decorating the covers. What a find! After lunch I walked to an ancient Roman bridge that crosses over a charming little river. The picturesque scene overlooks the city walls. 100_3526 From there, I walked up the street to los cuatro postes, the four posts. I have learned in my research that when St. Teresa was young, she loved to read the lives of the saints. When she was seven, she and her brother wanted to run off and become martyrs, so they decided to run away. Much to their dismay, their uncle saw them and stopped the children at the sight now known as the four posts. 100_3525 100_3523 On the way home, I could not help but stop for a quick snack in la pasteleria, and discovered these wonderful sugar cookies with lemon and orange, shaped like the city walls! Sweet ending to a lovely day!

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