I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Jaca

Just before Jaca I passed the hermitage of San Cristóbal ...



Jaca was an important pilgrim halt on the medieval Camino and capital of Aragón in the 11th century - before capital status was transferred to Huesca and then to Zaragoza. This is the clock tower ...


And this the cathedral of San Pedro ...



It actually dates from as early as 814 but has been changed and added to over the centuries - so that it's now a complete mixture of styles rather than being purely Romanesque. Like most Spanish churches and cathedrals it was quite dark inside, though the spectacular ribbed ceiling was illuminated ...


Something kept drawing me back into this cathedral but I'm not sure what it was. However I really liked the fact that people (local people not just sightseers) were popping in for a quick prayer at all times during the day. It felt vitally used and frequented and was not just simply another tourist attraction or architectural anachronism. At 8 pm I sat in a back pew and listened to choir practice. Someone had put some sacred lyrics to that heart-tugging melody in Dvorák's New World Symphony (2nd movement) and the choir sang them over and over. It was moving to hear these echoing voices harmonizing in the semi-darkness ...

This is the pentagon-shaped citadel in Jaca. I was surprised to see deer roaming round the grassy moat (in the photo you can make out a stag in the foreground shadow) ...


I liked Jaca so much I spent 2 nights there; also I was in much need of some rest and recuperation. I stayed in the Hotel Pradas, which offered a very favourable rate to pilgrims ...

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