Caminante, no hay camino


That’s a famous poem by Antonio Machado y Ruiz that I really like. When I took my Literature into Filmmaking class, some of my classmates even made a movie based on it.

Anyway, here it is:

Caminante, son tus huellas 
el camino y nada más;                        
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace el camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar.

And the English translation from wikipedia:
Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road, and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road,
and upon glancing behind
one sees the path
that never will be trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road–
Only wakes upon the sea.
But, the translation doesn’t totally capture it, because caminante (wanderer) and camino (road) have really broad meanings that don’t translate perfectly. Caminante can mean wanderer, yes, but also traveller, pilgrim, “walker” (as in a person who walks), etc. Camino is road, path, trail, track, way, route, etc. The verb caminar means to walk. But, whatever, that’s a different discussion and I just think the poem’s pretty, that’s all.
All this is just to say that we walk A LOT in Segovia. A. Lot. It’s fine with me, I love walking! My family owns a car, but they only use it a couple of times a week, to visit Garcillán or something like that. Before coming to Europe, I thought that all the cars here were tiny. That’s not really true, though. There are definitely more small cars and fewer SUVs and minivans here than in the US, but there are still many big cars, and most cars are just normal sedans like in the US. (Also, all of the cars are manual not automatic!)
On Monday, we went on a walk below Segovia. The old part of the city is sort of up on a hill, and down below, there is a nice trail with trees and flowers and a little stream.

Gorgeous nature trail (all that white stuff is pollen-- ¡ay, las alergías!

People fishin'!

There were really nice views of the city walls as well as the mountains in the other direction.

This mountain is called La Mujer Muerta (The Dead Woman) because... it looks like a dead woman lying down!

The city wall

The castle from down below on our trail

Then, we went to visit a couple of churches. One is dedicated to a Jewish woman who lived in Segovia in the 1200s. She had a relationship with a Christian man, and so they executed her by pushing her off a cliff. But, she survived the fall and wasn’t even hurt. This was attributed to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, and the woman then converted to Christianity and became a nun. The church we visited is attached to her convent.

A marker commemorating the miracle

The place where she fell (the building below is the convent)

Inside the church

Many Segovianos get married in this church because it is so pretty! (All the churches here are pretty, though.)
Up on the same cliff where this woman fell we saw this humble house. San Juan de la Cruz (St. John of the Cross) built the house himself, and I think he lived there, at least some of the time.

St. John of the Cross's casita

After walking a little farther, we came to El Convento de Carmelitas Descalzos, a Carmelite convent that St. John of the Cross founded. His body was originally buried in a humble tomb beneath the church here, but when he was beatified in 1675, about a hundred years after his death, his remains were moved to a big and fancy tomb.

Sign outside the church ("Tomb of St. John of the Cross")

The other sign here says “Carmelitas Descalzos,” which is usually translated as “Discalced Carmelites.” Discalced is a fancy word for barefoot, but the word descalzos is just the regular, non-fancy Spanish word for barefoot. This was the specific order founded by St. John of the Cross. Like his good friend, Santa Teresa de Jesús (St. Theresa of Avila), he wanted to reform the Carmelite order and return it to its more primitive, original observance. The Carmelites at the time wore shoes, they were “calced,” and St. John of the Cross’s reformed order was known as “discalced” because they didn’t. The Discalced Carmelites, the most famous of whom are St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila, are known for cultivating a contemplative life and for mystical theology.

La iglesia

One of his poems, Llama de amor viva (Living flame of love), outside the church

Pope John Paul II wrote his doctoral dissertation about St. John of the Cross and came here to his tomb in 1982

This was painted by a Mexican artist and is supposed to represent different parts of the poetry of St. John of the Cross

The original tomb, beneath the floor of the church

Tomb upgrade!

After this, we saw a monastery and then walked back, with more great views of the city from below.

The city, with the castle on the right...

...and the cathedral on the left

…three hours later. No big.

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