This pilgrimage promises to be culturally rich in a wide variety of ways. We began our day with a private tour of the Prado — Spain’s most famous museum. Our guide showed us the perfect amount of paintings with just the right information about each painting.
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We headed afterwards to the Spanish Episcopal cathedral, where Bishop Carlos Lopez welcomed us and gave a tour and explained about the cathedral’s significant outreach ministries. Each week, the cathedral provides food for over 450 families among many other ministries.
After the tour, we gathered in the sanctuary for a brief service of worship and the Bishop blessed scallop shells — the traditional symbol of the Camino — and a walking stick for each of our pilgrims. Co-leader Nancy Hoxie Mead and I gave short presentations on the history and spirituality of the Camino. Afterwards, the Bishop and his wife, Anna, hosted us for a lovely lunch in their apartment next to the cathedral. Bishop Carlos was trained as a chef in the military and loves to cook. How many bishops prepare a gourmet meal for a group of visitors? We were blessed.
After enjoying some free time, our group ate dinner at El Botin, which is the oldest continually operating restaurant in the world. It served its first meal in this location in 1725. We ate suckling pig, which is one of the finest dishes in all of Spain.
From El Botin, we made our way to Las Carboneras for a late evening of flamenco. No one in our group opted out of this special extra event. I have come to love the mournful singing and lively dancing of this traditional Spanish art form. I capped the night off with a glass of sherry at La Venezia, where Hemingway used to savor this famous drink from Jerez, bidding farewell to walking in his footsteps for now.
With love and prayers from Spain,