A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to do some traveling in Spain!
Besides eating tapas, drinking wine and shopping, I spent most of my time visiting the museums, churches, cathedrals, cute old towns as well as El Escorial. The structures I visited are so old - from medieval times. The weight of history they carry is so impressive. These amazing pieces of architecture are made with luxury woods, marbles and ornamentation with gold leaf finish. Even the ceilings are elaborate and grand. I would walk through these buildings in total awe!
The walls are also extravagantly decorated with paintings by the great Spanish, Flemish and Italian Masters. Many are images of Christ on the cross. The artists worked magic by making the Christ look so tragic. The work triggered sensations of sorrow and pain in me. Well, that is what the artwork was supposed to do: move us through emotion toward religion! It is a paradox to me that the images in the paintings often reflect a life of modesty and frugality, a Mendicant lifestyle. The characters in the paintings are looking toward the sky asking for forgiveness and compassion. I have to say it was confusing - the opulence of the Catholic Church in contrast to the dramatic, strong images of the passion of Christ. I definitely felt moved to get on my knees and pray. Let me tell you . . . the artwork was convincing.
I found that the artwork was often so intense that I had to create some play in my head in to make light of the heavy Christ-died-for-our-sins feelings that I would fall into. As I walked and enjoyed the work, I would try to envision myself in the 1600’s, in one of these impressive churches. I wondered what my life would be like back then. What if I was one of the women from a Velazquez painting? Believe it or not, I did not like the picture of me!
First of all, as a woman of the 21st Century, I absolutely cannot imagine NOT having the freedoms that I enjoy on a daily basis. Geez, it would be so boring to spend the day in a cold room playing the harpsichord, ting-ting-ting, or sewing and most likely promised as a wife to some fat big-bellied German prince with skinny legs. Yuck! The image of him in his skin tight and revealing tights showing off his masculinity is not what I call sexy! I can picture myself also with those dresses that strangle your waist, laced up so high and tight that your boobs are smashed into your tonsils! Then, not being able to show off my legs with my pretty shoes because that was soooo immoral. That’s crazy!
I also cannot imagine asking my German husband in the middle of the night, “Honey, can you bring me a glass of water?” What did they DO if they had to get up in the middle of the night to get water anyways!? Everything was dark and cold . . . . and the kitchen was faaaar away. What if you needed to go to the restroom? What if you did not feel well after eating and drinking all night at the infamous feasts? Duck, jamon, vino . . . What did the women do??? Thank God the walls were thick! At least they could not hear you.
They also did not have a lot of dresses nor a lot of shoes. It was very expensive to have clothes and shoes made, so even the very wealthy did not have big wardrobes. I kept thinking to myself that this must have been torture! I know for the people back then it was not as I am describing it but that is what my imagination and logic invents for me! And this, mind you, was the wealthy lifestyle! I am not even talking about how the peasants lived. Probably the whole town worked to build the luxurious but inhospitable grand buildings.
If there was one thing unusual that I took from this trip it is how much I appreciate my comfortable lifestyle and my FREEDOM. I am so grateful I can speak my mind and do whatever I feel like doing. There are no social norms keeping me behind closed doors, praying and sewing away. Also, I gotta say how much I appreciate those good looking Spanish men!
Write me. Have you been traveling lately?! Guada755@outlook.com