Avila, the town of a great mystic
Updated: Jul 17, 2020
If asked, I would say to go get lost in Avila, but just in case you want certain orientation, here are 6 places not to be missed once there.
Get up the wall and wander around at 40 feet above the city. It costs €5 (or you can buy a Visitávila pass for €15) http://muralladeavila.com/es/planifica-tu-visita/horarios-y-tarifas
It’s 4 miles long and you can walk about 2,70 miles of it.
The wall has 88 towers built to protect the city from possible attacks. It has 9 entrance gates though it is known to many that there were some secret ones used to get in and out unnoticed.
LOS CUATRO POSTES
This is a place out of the city that I visited by car. It is the perfect spot for the perfect photo of the city. Try to get there. It’s worth it.
This cathedral was initially built in a romanesque tradition but gothic architecture took over and it ended up being the first gothic church in Spain.
If you walk around the Plaza de la Catedral you’ll encounter beautiful buildings like the Palace of the Infant King, the Palace of Valderrábanos and the Palace of the Night all which defended La Puerta del Peso de la Harina (The Flour Road Gate).
The apse (called Cimorro) of the Cathedral makes up part of the wall. It deserves a stop. You can also go out from there and walk all the way down to the Plaza of St Teresa
CHURCH OF SAN PEDRO
It is another beautiful romanesque church situated at the end of the Plaza of St. Teresa
BASILICA OF SAINT VINCENT
It is also outside the city walls and well worth the visit. Besides it is walking distant. Just take comfortable shoes as the streets are made of cobblestones. Leave the high heels for the night life in Madrid.
THE SANTA TERESA DE AVILA CONVENT, CHURCH AND MUSEUM
This was the main motivation for our visit, and is the motivation for today’s post.
It happens to be that today the Catholic church celebrates the day of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel and she is the Patron founder of the Order of the Carmelites for which Saint Teresa became a nun.
I will tell you a short story about it.
Mount Carmel is part of the a coastal mountain range in Israel. Haifa, a popular cruise port in Israel sits in the skirts of the mountain.
Mount Carmel was said to have caves all over. A group of hermits moved there to live a life of austerity and contemplation from the time of the prophet Elijah centuries BC to the XII century when people started to learn about these men and went on to join them. They became so many that they gave the group a name: The Carmelites. They were devoted to the Virgin Mary.
Teresa of Avila a mystic and one of the few women declared a Doctor of the Church, centuries later along with Saint John of the Cross reformed the Order because she felt that the observance of cloister, designed to protect and strengthen spiritual practice and prayer, became so lax that it appeared to lose its purpose. It then became the Order of the Discalced Carmelites as it is called nowadays.
One of the oldest scapulars is associated with Mount Carmel and the Carmelites. According to Carmelite tradition, the Scapular of Lady of Mount Carmel was first given to St. Simon Stock an English Carmelite, by the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Carmelites call her "Our Lady of Mount Carmel," (la Virgen del Carmen) and celebrate 16 July as her feast day.
Places to eat: Go to Puerta de las Carnicerias close to the Cathedral. I had a beer and tapas somewhere around, but I believe there is a place for tapas in every corner of Avila. Now if you are up to a hearty meal, try the chuleton de Avila or some succulent Spanish rice.
Just do not forget to stop by to get your “yemas de Santa Teresa”. A sweet dessert that is made of only 2 ingredients: egg yolks and sugar. It is the typical souvenir of Avila.
How to get there: for 25€ you can buy a return ticket from Madrid. Once there it takes about four minutes from the train station to inside the wall or you can just wall. It will take no more than 15 minutes.
Check out AVILA tours designed by Civitatis