I had the good fortune of going inside the Santa Maria Cathedral with a group of Germans and other interested people, with a knowledgable guide this morning. At one point we ducked down and almost crawled through a small space to see the opposite side of the cathedral and high above where we had been just minutes before.
We donned helmets to explore the medieval passages, its parapets and suspended gangways that workers use for the current restoration project.
It’s generous of the workers, the city and archeologists to share the working project with the public.
The Santa Maria Cathedral was first built in the fourteenth century and has gone through many changes during the centuries. The tower, for instance was built in the seventeenth century. There are three doorways decorated with statues and reliefs.
The interior chapels reflect the Gothic, Flemish and Italian renaissance images, which include painting by Rubens and Van Dyck.
Gothic architecture is prominent.
The cathedral is undergoing restoration and has been studied by experts from around the world for its architectural curiosities, including those deformations which it has suffered due to previous restorations, our guide told us.
Inside we saw the huge archways, statues and filigree as we toured throughout the large stone cathedral. It always amazes me the intelligence of the medieval people. How they managed to create such a beautiful monument with limited resources and tools, always amazes me. They were hard working people.
Speaking of working hard, the guide took us to see the Ice storage pit. It was a huge, and I’m the one calling it a pit, because I haven’t learned its name. However, the guide told me that workers gathered the snow from the mountains and carted it down and dumped it into the pit. The snow was kept cold with blankets during the transport. The ice was then used by wealthy people who preserved their food with the chunks of ice.
Another amazing adventure by the early people.
Aside from the visit inside the cathedral, a young woman, Gladis, whom I met the day before, met me at the cathedral with a friend who doesn’t speak English, so they waited for the Spanish tour, but didn’t see all of it, as I did, because they wanted to meet up with me again.
I met Gladis yesterday when I was close to the pharmacy at the time I was supposed to pick up the medicine that I had ordered earlier in the day. I stopped to ask her exactly where the pharmacy was, and it turned out it was two blocks away. She is from Maryland, but originally from Columbia and therefore, her Spanish is perfect. We found a lot in common between us, including both of us knowing Aspen, Colorado where she lived for a bit over a year. Another angel was there for me. She worried that I didn’t have a small purse to carry everything over my shoulder. Her new Vitoria husband, has warned her there are people who grab and run, and to always keep belongings nearby. I solved her worries by purchasing a small purse that holds my billfold and a bunch of other items.
She showed lots of concern over my well being, and I have assured her that I am used to traveling alone and that everything is just dandy. “I could never do what you are doing.” I’ve heard that so many times on this journey and I always feel like saying, “why not?”
Then later, I needed to purchase a pair of pants because all the walking I do has changed my clothing size. So I found a department store and it was full of pants that are slim to the ankle. Not what I wanted, and I got so frustrated that I couldn’t get anyone to help me, and when someone did, they all said, there wasn’t anything like what I wanted anywhere in the store. I walked out of the store and sat on a bench.
Then I made up my mind that I would go back into the store until I found a pair of pants that would fit me perfectly. I began to look again until another angel walked up to me and I explained what I wanted in my bad Spanish. She looked around and handed me several pair to try on. I found them, and it restored my faith in customer service.
Speaking of customers: I am absolutely dumbfounded to go inside a drinking establishment/restaurant and see people throwing their paper napkins on the floor. All around the bar you find paper trash, and it doesn’t go at all with the “Green Capital 2012” recent recognition of the city. The city enjoys over forty-two square meters of green space per person and there are parks, and lanes for walking and cycling. It’s a beautiful city and except for the trash inside establishments the city is clean.