The exploration of my heritage, really comes to life for me once again in my ancestral town of Coria, Spain. I’ve since been to various areas of Extremadura and also in Andalucía, in the past two weeks. I’m now based in Granada for a little longer. But what stands out from this time on the road and all the medieval villages I’ve seen so far is Coria…it is just a lovely village in so many ways.
The town has a population of only twelve thousand or so residents, which lies near a lush river valley area. The medieval town portion of the village, is up on a hillside, with its magnificent cathedral looking out across the Rio Alagon. The region in general; is one that is quite sparse looking, with many fields of hay, additionally it is a well known area for its bull breeding. Lying along the river valley area are lush farm landscapes, with everything from corn to potatoes being grown. It’s a gentle rolling hillside region, where you can envision back in the medieval era someone riding easily via horseback to visit a neighboring farm. It inspires you to want to get on a horse and do just that actually.
I drove one day out in the countryside, with no particular destination in mind, other than just wanting to explore what you can see from those vistas up on that hillside. I had met a local man one day who told me that a huge earthquake had diverted the river from running under the Roman bridge. The river still flows through the area, just no longer under this bridge.
The drive took us out to tall hardwood trees running alongside the river. My travel companion and I just felt like following that river bank as far as the car would go.
And we did.
It kind of reminded me of carefree days, when I was a young girl going out on my dirt bike to explore what the forests nearby had to offer in their natural beauty. I’d ride my bike till I was tired, down those sandy dirt roads not sure where they would lead me, other than to beautiful settings and peaceful feelings each time.
On another day, we drove to a mountain area, north of Coria known as “Sierra de la Gata”. It’s known for its “piscinas naturales” or natural pools. These are very different river settings from the above, with evergreen and pine forests plus abundant slate type of formations along the banks of the streams. It was significantly different from any countryside I’ve seen on my travels so far in Spain. I can understand why the locals go there for vacations. I also understand why it’s not so widely promoted—they’ve got a good thing and most likely want to keep it for themselves!
Another amazing discovery I made in Coria, is the Episcopal Cathedral within the medieval town walls, is home to the table cloth of the Last Supper of Jesus. Wow!
How it came to be in this town I wasn’t able to understand from my inquiries. But the table cloth was tested thoroughly at the laboratories of the Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid. It is said to be authentic and dates to the first century via microscopic analysis from the labs at the museum. How amazing is that?
It also brings a full circle of serendipity to me and my spiritual journey. Why you might ask? Well a few years ago in Downtown Honolulu, I discovered St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. I attend their Jazz Vespers services on Thursday evenings often. It’s truly a great community of individuals that attend services there, with a quartet of some of Honolulu’s best Jazz musicians performing on the altar every week. Pastor Diane Martinson’s readings she shares each week are inspiring. Her message is spot on, with what might be going on in the Honolulu community, our country and the world in general. Her words are very comforting during these uncertain times in our world.
So, you see, my journey both spiritually and physically has lead me to many places in this lifetime already. But oftentimes a soul’s journey is about the people you meet along the way, not the destinations.
The hotel front desk man who shares their computer, to show you exactly where a place is, that he wants you to find and enjoy too.
It’s the local, who grew up in your ancestral town that shares history with you, you might never find in a book nor from any amount of research.
It’s the curator of the museum where an artifact is kept, who is so excited to share their knowledge.
And it’s a friend, who is wanting to share the journey with you, who is caring and kind beyond any expectations.
It’s all these things that are bringing this soul’s journey a measure of peace and understanding it seeks. I am a fortunate woman in so many ways. Let’s explore a little more of this fascinating country and the other great experiences still awaiting