Friday, March 23, 2012

On Being a Patron Saint

I have decided I deserve equal time. Jerry (aka San Geraldo) had his first quadrennial "Day." His 22-greats grandfather, Ferdinand III of Spain, is San Fernando and is buried in the Cathedral here in Sevilla. I deserve my day basking in the glow of my own saintly light.

ANOTHER SPECTACULAR ANDALUSIAN VISTA.

Yesterday, while in the Cathedral in the village of Arcos de la Frontera, I noticed a statue of a very adrogynous figure holding a sword aloft. He turned out to be San Miguel, my namesake and the patron saint of Arcos de la Frontera. San Miguel (also known as Saint Michael — er, Mitchell, if I stretch the truth a bit) is a symbol of humility (like me). He is recognized as an archangel in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic teachings. I won't go into more detail because this begins to sound like Bible Study and we all know that religion is right up there with cooking on the list of things in which I have little interest.

A TYPICAL STREET.

Anyway, Arcos sits up on a rise at an altitude of 185 meters (607 feet), not a huge climb, but significantly higher than Sevilla, which sits at 7 meters (23 feet). The vistas were inspiring. The sunshine was glorious. And the southern skies were again a vivid blue.

CATHEDRAL SIDE ENTRANCE.

Arcos de la Frontera has a population of about 31,000 people and is quite charming. It's a Pueblo Blanco, one of the White Towns of Andalucía, called such because the houses are all painted white and make a beautiful scene on the hillsides. Stone Age cave dwellers once lived in Arcos. It became an independent Moorish taifa in 1011 and became a Christian stronghold in 1252.

SIDE VIEW. THE BELLS ARE RINGING...

The gothic Cathedral dates back to the 13th century and the interior was recently restored. It's very impressive with items from as early as the 8th century. There is so much more to see in this beautiful town and Jerry and I look forward to heading back for more exploration.


CATHEDRAL FRONT.

DETAIL OF THE TOWER.

MAKING BEAUTIFUL MUSIC.

LYING LIKE THIS FOR MORE THAN 1,200 YEARS.
HE'S GOING TO HAVE ONE HELLUVA CRICK IN HIS NECK.

On the way out of town, I noticed a couple of very strange buildings rising up from the street and losing themselves into the cliffside.

THE UPSTAIRS APARTMENTS ARE A STEAL.

GREAT CROSS-VENTILATION... AND EVEN A/C.

As for the statue of San Miguel, I would have preferred to discover a more studly likeness of "myself" (wielding a much larger sword), but one of the measures of true sainthood, I believe, is the ability to rise above little disappointments.


SAN MIGUEL (ER... MITCHELL)

35 comments:

  1. As someone who gets around to many a churches, I think even i would be impressed with this one. I'm left wondering though, with it's age, if there is an odor to it that is distinct. Churches here have a lot of wood to them and thus have that smell. I see a lot of stone work there.
    Young San Miguel looks very boyish?

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    1. Stew:
      I've noticed that smell in many of the churches, but not in the one in Arcos. Maybe because it's just been renovated/restored. Yes, Old San Miguel is very boyish [in his own mind] as well!

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  2. Ur pics are simply stunning!

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    1. Aw, thanks, ksatrle! I love my new camera. The incredible blue skies help.

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  3. Amazing photos, once again. Are these taken with the new camera?

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    1. Carole:
      Yes. My new Canon IXUS 220 HS (which I think is a Canon 300 in the US). I love it.

      Delete
  4. San Miguel, When is your day? I want to celebrate it here, like I celebrated San Geraldo's Day. I am honored to have met you and am humbled to be your eternal servant.

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    1. Jo:
      The Dia de San Miguel is 29 September (so we missed our first one in Spain). But maybe, like Jerry, I need my own personal Dia de San Miguel.

      Delete
  5. I can't stop giggling at the pose of San Meetchell. Love it.

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    1. Nubian:
      San Fernando looks imposing. San Miguel... not so much.

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  6. Again a wonderful day and great photos. Wasn't the word mightier than the sword?

    @Jo Calk, have a look here and find your own 'special' day, and of course those os San Miguel & San Geraldo.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Roman_Calendar

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    1. Peter:
      Yes, the "pen" is mightier than the sword. But it still doesn't hurt to be known for having a very large sword!

      Delete
  7. I'm sure that was just an early representation of Saint Mitchell... posing while desperately wanting to get back on his skateboard!

    I love seeing churches like this - so that I can very irreverently mentally re-arrange things and view them as a converted private apartment. That one would do me splendidly! Nice ceiling height, understated decor...

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    1. The Owl Wood:
      There has got be a butch San Miguel somewhere out there. I'll start looking.

      There are also a couple of glass-encased "beds" already in place.

      Delete
  8. Hello Mitch:
    Yet more superb architecture, with the possible exception of the building you show finally, and clearly another historic place packed with interest. We are starting to think that a trip to Spain is long overdue.

    St. Miguel does rather look a little fay, we think!!

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    1. J&L:
      "A little fay"? But I suppose he should be allowed to live his life however he likes! I say good for him/me! Southern Spain is a treasure! I highly recommend it and would so love to meet you in Sevilla!

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  9. I though St Mitchell was the Patron Saint of coffee shops!

    And anyway, it's not the length of the sword that counts, but how you wield it. ;-)

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    1. Chris:
      Yes, coffee shops. So much better than humility.

      As for the length of the sword, sometimes all one wants to do is wave it around a bit.

      Delete
  10. I once heard that Spain was one of the top tourist destinations. I no longer wonder why!

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    1. Ms Sparrow:
      I fell in love with Southern Spain the first time I stepped on its shores. The love affair just gets stronger and I've hardly explored any of it yet.

      Delete
  11. Great photos. You're lucky to have such an interesting place to explore while living there.....

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    1. Kristi:
      It is amazing and we are definitely very lucky!

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  12. What fabulous architecture you have treated us to yet again and the narrow little street all combine to create intrigue and wonder at what Arcos de la Frontera has to offer. As for San Miguel hmmm.....!

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    1. the cuby poet:
      Yes, I don't know what that particular San Miguel has to offer (other than a lovely henna rinse and a good leg waxing), but Arcos is charming.

      Delete
  13. Aaaah, San Mitchell, another fascinating travelogue in whcih to make my daily escape.
    Gracias por todo.


    As for the pipe organ, Carlos is a whore for those things--literally, he'll sleep with anyone who lefts him play one--so I may have to shield him from that one picture!

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    1. Bob:
      Oh, poor Carlos. So many organs to play around here (no pun intended)!

      Delete
  14. Everyone has to have a Saint named after them...and if you have to wear a skirt then that's just fine!

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    1. sophie/Ron:
      And it's such an elegant skirt.

      Delete
  15. I want to be a patron saint of something, but all the major positions are filled. I think perhaps popcorn poppers is still available. But perhaps I can be patron saint of pool boys. I like the notion of them asking me to intervene on their behalves.

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    1. Ur-spo:
      You and I, I think share the same patron saint. He gets credit for "patronizing" a lot of things — chivalry, warriors, police officers, the military, AND the sick and the suffering. But no popcorn poppers... or pool boys. Sorry.

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    2. If he is patron saint for both of us, then I am pleased enough.

      Delete
    3. Ur-sp:
      And how many people can claim an archangel?!?

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    4. Dunno, but so long as the Archangel claims me.

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  16. Your Photos always make me smile. I drool every time I visit. So unprofessional of me!

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    Replies
    1. kisatrtle:
      It's only unprofessional if you drool while working. Otherwise, there are no rules.

      Delete

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