Thursday, November 5, 2009

The True Cross, etc.

So, this was our outfit for three weeks in Spain.

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It was a pretty tight ship, but not that much of a stretch for a family that up until 18 months ago lived in a 550-square-foot one-bedroom in Montana. I would say that campervaning rocked 30% of the time, it was okay 30% of the time, and the remainder was a challenge. We thought we'd be light on our feet, but this van was big, so parking was difficult in almost any city or town we wanted to visit. But we had fun! Oh, don't get me wrong! We laughed (we had a contest of who was funnier, Eric or me. It turns out, we are not terribly funny people) and ate and laughed and packed and unpacked and slept like leaden logs.

We ate these things every morning.

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I don't know what they are. Spanish cookie wafers. They were so fun, and kept Dessi busy while we washed the dishes.

Here is Santo Toribio de Li├ębana, the Franciscan monastery near Potes in Cantabria, which houses what is possibly the largest surviving piece of the True Cross -- the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. The piece at Liebana is said to have a hole where a nail went through, and some blood. We journeyed all the way there but somehow we -- wait for it -- we weren't able to find the actual relic. We were within 400 feet of it, I am sure. We were on the site. We found the church and monastery

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and the hermitages

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(you had to walk to them -- here we are en route to one)

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and then just a lot of other tourists

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But no cross fragment. (We know it was there. Other people seemed definitely to look satisfied and like they'd seen something. Sigh. It's hard not speaking Spanish.)

We did see in one room a large gold cross that is thought to have been an ornament for the top of the cross. The room was dark, though, and they had the cross locked behind some iron gates so we were at least 25 feet away.

It does seem unlikely that all the pieces of wood scattered around the world that are said to be from Jesus' cross are all legit. I had an idea on this trip to do DNA testing on all of them and see if even any two of them matched. But, you see, this is probably why we weren't able to find the relic. This kind of attitude.

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