Friday, 4 September 2015
Ávila: Arrival, San Vicente and the Cathedral
I joined the group excursion to Ávila just a few days before we set off. I had been hoping to visit and explore the place on my own - of the towns and cities I was keen to see, it is perhaps the closest to Salamanca. However, I eventually decided to go with the group.
We left the residence for the coach in the afternoon; usually excursions begin in the early morning so this was a new departure. The journey was quite enjoyable; the scenery was lovely and dreamlike, all blues and purples and golds. Unfortunately the tinting on the windows made taking good photographs impossible.
We arrived at Ávila Bus Station and got a local bus to the edge of the walled town. We stood back to admire one of the entrances through the Walls, the Door of San Vicente - San Vicente being the church just outside it.
The Little Tourist Train - Ávila has one, too!
The Door of San Vicente
Our guide told us how the original walls were Roman but how later, in Medieval times, they were rebuilt and extended. And what was used for some of them but Roman tombs? In some of the stones you can see inscriptions or the hollow where someone's ashes once lay. It's very strange and almost eerie to look at.
This just drifted over the walls - a ghost?
We then headed to the Cathedral. Like many other Spanish Gothic cathedrals, such as Salamanca's own and that of Toledo, it boasts some amazingly intricate stonework.
We stepped inside the Cathedral and I was impressed - I often find Gothic cathedrals in Spain feel rather closed-up, with lots of individual sections rather than a sense of a whole (compared with, say, British and French Gothic cathedrals where I don't really feel that way).
Ávila Cathedral was different. It felt much more open, more like one big space. I liked the stained glass; how non-person-y it is - more geometric shapes and bright colours.
It looks like he's holding an umbrella!
The Cathedral has two organs in two different styles, facing one another!
There is a museum part where we saw some interesting and sometimes extraordinarily ornate things.
This is kind of an optical illusion...
I enjoyed Ávila Cathedral much more than I had envisaged - it is a peaceful yet powerful place.
Soon to come: my further adventures in Ávila!
Thanks for reading.