Yesterday I had a great day. After we said morning prayer and the Angelus at twelve, my host family took me to the Escorial. This is a town outside Madrid which is very quaint and beautiful. The biggest attraction in this place is a Benedictine monastery, which has a community of monks, a school and a wonderful choir. However, this is also an important royal site because it is the place of burial for the kings and queens of Spain. It is a magnificent building and we were extremely lucky because as we attended mass, the choir sang in preparation for the Pope’s visit – it was breathtaking. During mass I thought I had reached heaven there and then.
After lunch, my family took me to downtown Madrid and after dropping my bags, I decided to take a trip in the metro and head to station Bernabeu. For football fans this is the home of Real Madrid. Well, coincidentally the press office is opposite the stadium. I wanted to get my pass but for one reason or another, it was not possible. Nevertheless, I was able to catch up with the ukpilgrims guys and use wifi!
On the way back to our residencia de estudiantes, I met my group from Portsmouth diocesis. I was so happy to join them. I have to say, San Sebastian did them good. They look so relaxed and happy. After a briefing, we headed out into town.
I am shocked to report that the nuns here have imposed a curfew – is this because we are Brits? Doors close at 12pm and open again at 8am! So quickly we rushed out for a bite to eat, meeting other pilgrims we sang out: “heyyyy hola! Where are you from?” We met people from the US, Italy, Poland, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Vietnam… so really cool. We headed to the centre of Parque del Retiro, where we found a band of priests singing religious rock and roll! It was awesome! We danced for a bit and then headed back to the residence in order to comply with our curfew… which I have to say many of us welcomed as we were shattered.