A circuitous route to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Stage One beginning in Munich, Germany ending in Jerusalem - traveling through Austria, Italy, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Israel. Second stage from Vienna, through Germany, Czech Republic, Holland, Belgium, France and Spain.
Final destination - Santiago!

Post Script: The changeable situation in Jerusalem has led to a change in plans. The Rome to Jerusalem leg of this journey has been changed to the 'End to End' in the UK, after which the journey will resume as above in Vienna.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

la Verna

Well today was a rest day, but we have been pretty busy.  After completing our normal tasks for the day, we caught a bus up the mountain to the sanctuary of la Verna.  This is a very beautiful place, and we really enjoyed our time there.

We were walking through the entrance towards the church when we bumped into the two Italians who are part of our pelegrino family.  Then through an arch we bumped into Carlos from Venice, a late addition to the family, and leaving us to ride his bike back home.  A little further along we bumped into the three Croatian girls who began the journey in Dovadola with us.  Somehow we all got back together again and managed to have a photo shoot!
Two of the Croatian girls arriving at La Verna.  Their washing got wet last night.
Our pelegrino family.

La Verna is a place where St Francis stayed several times, on the last occasion receiving the stigmata (marks as if he had been nailed to a cross).  It was a place especially dear to him, and it is easy to see why.  It is very beautiful, and generally the buildings that have since been built fit in with his wish for things to be simple, though I suspect that were he to see it he would throw his hands up in horror - what we see as simple is probably very different to his perception of simplicity!

 Behind these windowed cloisters were a set of frescoes telling the life of St Frances.
Just some of the rock around this sight, with the cloisters above.
The view from the piazza outside the Basilica.
Going out this door we were able to look over the wall and see the rock that the Sanctuary is built on (below).  Definitely a case of " the wise man built his house upon the rock"!

More rock, above and below.

We stayed and attended a service in the Basilica, which included a procession through the monastery.  I am not sure, but I think that many of the words sung and chanted were probably St Francis' own words.  Indeed, a very special place.

1 comment:

  1. I've just read a book about St Francis that described some of his mountain refuges. This is amazing, and I love the way it is stuck so firmly onto the rock!