Sunday, July 19, 2015

Camino Ignaciano Part 1: Loyola

As many of you know, at the end of June I set off to begin the Camino Ignaciano, which is a pilgrimage following the footsteps of St Ignatius of Loyola beginning in Loyola (naturally) and ending in Manresa (near Barcelona). Ignatius is the founder of an order of Catholic priests called the Jesuits, which are founders of many famous universities like Georgetown, Marquette, Loyola of Chicago, Santa Clara, etc.

I plan to share some photos and experiences of the trip in the next few posts. Some places (like Loyola) will be obscure, but hey, it was part of my camino experience :P

I flew into Barcelona about half a day earlier than my classmates (yes, I got school credit to do this!) and spent the evening re-packing my pack and finishing preparations for the scheduled posts that were shared. 

Once we were all in Barcelona, we took another flight to Bilboa - which I had never heard of (woops). We were barely in the city, but we did get to see this giant flowery dog (not bear) in front of the Guggenheim. And who doesn't like giant flowery animals, amiright?

From there we took a bus to Loyola, where Ignatius was born. 

We spent 2 days touring Loyola before beginning our official walking. Loyola is a fairly small city, but if you are at all interested in the Jesuits and Ignatius, there is a lot to see and do. And even if you are not interested in that particular history, the town is very beautiful and was a lot of fun to just walk around. The streets are narrow and beautiful and lined with quaint little bakeries and boutiques. It was quite a change from bustling Barcelona, and I greatly enjoyed my time there. 

Typical of Europe, Loyola's basilica was absolutely stunning. It was literally right next to the hotel where we stayed and also connected to the home where Ignatius grew up. (I'll spare you the photos of the room in which he was born, healed from a canon to the leg, etc.)

I mentioned before, but the scallop shell is a common symbol for pilgrimage, in particular the Camino de Santiago. All along the way (photos to come) there we scallops pointing the way to Santiago and hidden in many forms of art. 

And one more, just for fun :)


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