Tag Archives: pilgrimage

A slacker pilgrim’s guide to Nidaros cathedral in Trondheim

Did you know Norway has a pilgrimage?  Well, I didn’t until we stumbled on it. The pilgrimage is called St. Olav Ways—“ways” because you can choose one of several routes, as long as you end up at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. Here I am at Old Aker church in Olso next to kilometer marker 639 (that […]

The Hill of Crosses and the power of a shared narrative in Lithuania

During our bus ride to Siauliai, HOB and I munched on supermarket sandwiches which turned out to be mostly mayonnaise.  Our driver was blasting Queen and I must say there probably isn’t a better way to arrive at a pilgrimage site in Northern Lithuania than being serenaded by We Are the Champions while eating a […]

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: shrines in the mist

Imagine it’s the early 1600’s, you live in Poland and pilgrimages to the Holy Land are all the rage.  Oh man, do you ever want to go to Jerusalem.  But it’s not going to happen: you don’t have the money, your health is poor, and your boss won’t give you enough vacation time.  Hey, don’t […]

San Martín church in Frómista: Romanesque pilgrimage perfection and a figurine of a one-armed hobo

San Martín church in Frómista, Spain is the archetype of a Romanesque pilgrimage church.  Obviously I’m crazy about the place. It’s the clarity of the structure I love most of all.  Notice the precision of the architectural elements and the way the building cleanly meets the plaza. San Martín was built quickly—in about 15 years […]

The finest Romanesque mustaches are at Moissac Abbey

This church. The elegant forms.  The fantastic creatures.  The visionary composition.  The mustaches. Moissac Abbey is one of the great Romanesque churches (and admittedly deserves much better photos than what we managed with our crappy camera).  The South portal, created 1120 – 1135, and the tympanum are a masterful sculptural illustrations of the vision of […]

A day at Cathédrale Ste-Marie in Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges followed by a night of flocked velvet wallpaper

Cathédrale Ste-Marie is a pilgrim magnet.  Once you catch sight of this Romanesque-Gothic beauty at the foot of the Pyrenees in the village of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges you are inevitably  pulled in by it’s compelling attraction. Don’t you want to come closer? Unlike the scenery, the weather during our visit to Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges was less than idyllic.  Not to put […]

Saint-Just Basilica in Valcabrère, recycled Roman ruins, no cheese shops

Saint-Just Basilica is cozily nestled in the tiny village of Valcabrère, population 164, in the Haute-Garonne department of Southwest France.  This small Romanesque church built in 11th -12th centuries is handsomely proportioned, with well-preserved portal sculptures.  As if the setting wasn’t picturesque enough, what with the red chickens clucking about, antique barns and strategically placed […]

Faux-Pilgrim’s Progress: how we faked a pilgrimage

Last week as we were walking about in the rain in Santiago de Compostela looking for a post office, we were stopped by the leader of a tour group.  “Excuse me” he said politely “I see that you are pilgrims.  My group would like to see your pilgrim’s passport stamps.  Could you please show them […]

The glowing streets of Santiago de Compostela

It always rains in Santiago de Compostela so the buildings and cobblestones are covered in moss.  The town glows and the twisting arcaded streets are magically inviting. What do you mean we don’t have to go West anymore? The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is confusing–sprawling with multiple entrances, partly covered with scaffolding.  The famous Portico of […]

Frómista, Spain: The Infamous Blue Traveling Poncho Camino de Santiago special edition

Never has before has Frómista, Spain seen a sexier pilgrim until the day I sauntered into to town with my handsome gentlemen companion, wearing seven shirts and a coat and a poncho. First ever documented sighting of Wife of Bath wearing The Infamous Blue Travelling Poncho. San Martín: brace yourselves because this is one of my all […]