Climb Ev’ry Mountain: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

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An hour in the Pyrenees, and you suddenly understand the deep ties between geography and belief. And you get a clue about why we're always fighting over territory. Gerald O'Hara was partly right: "It's land, Katie Scarlett! . . . Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts." Of course it doesn't, really. But since Eden was foreclosed on, that's the story we tell ourselves. Pilgrimage 2012, Day 8: … [Read more...]

Bilocation, Chocolate, and the Patron Saint of Pilgrims: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

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Pilgrim Pop Quiz: What's the oldest Christian pilgrimage shrine in Europe? Hint: It's associated with St James (Santiago, as they call him in Spain), but it's not the one from that movie with Charlie Sheen's dad. It's in Zaragoza, where the ancient and the thoroughly post-modern meet for tapas, and neither one blinks. Pilgrimage 2012, Day 7: Madrid to Zaragoza When you say Spain, Santiago, and pilgrimage, everybody thinks Compostela, the purported resting place of St James the Greater, … [Read more...]

Castles in Spain: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

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To build castles in Spain is an 800-year-old idiom meaning to daydream, to indulge in idle fancies. But we spent a day with Teresa of Avila, who built an interior castle in Spain as solid and lasting a fortification as the walls that circle the city of her birth. Pilgrimage 2012, Day 5: Salamanca to Madrid, via Alba de Tormes, Avila, and Segovia Spain's an odd place. It looks golden and sunny, with yellow plains stretching out under bright blue skies as far as the eye can see, but the soul … [Read more...]