In Ignatius’s home town

After a lovely breakfast at the hotel, we spent this morning walking around Zumarraga looking for a shop that sells an iPad charger. Isabella, the wonderful hospitalera, had given us the one but I want to return it to her tomorrow. It was very sweet of her but it will effectively only charge an iPhone, not an iPad. After that, a quick taxi ride (29€) in the drizzling  rain got us to the Basillica of St. Ignatius de Loyola.

In the small Barrio of Loyola on the edge of Azpeitia, we spent much of the day touring the Sacred House – Ignatius’ ancestral home – where he was born and where he recuperated from his wounds and decided to devote his life to God. It was a durn nice place for being more than 500 years old. There is also a museum attached that we visited. We also spent a lot of time in the beautiful Basilica, including attending the world’s shortest mass. The mass was advertised as bi-lingual which meant that it was part in Basque and part in Castilian Spanish. I think the reason that some parts were in Basque was because there are some prayers that are just said faster in that language. The whole mass took 21 minutes!

The adventure for the day turned out to be the hunt for dinner. We walked between Loyola and Azpeitia for one hour and forty minutes before we found a place that served anything more than tapas. It worked out in the end though as the place we managed to find was having a “free meal for a second customer” day.

We are again living in relative luxury in the one star Hotel Arrupe, an ancient hospice converted into a modern hotel. I get the impression that most of its customers are Jesuits. It’s Spartan but functional.

While walking around the area of the sanctuary, we discovered there is a path over the mountains to Zumarraga that we could walk on the first day. This is an older path than the planned Camino path that follows the road and river through the valley. This other path is called the Three Temples and begins across from the Garote house, on the other side of the Spiritual Center. The trail is marked with the red & white blazes of the GR trails so we might just follow that instead.

Fun fact for the day: St. Ignatius’ birth name was Íñigo López but he just didn’t want kids growing up centuries later going to López High School. Chuckle chuckle.

Outside the Basillica, there is a driveway bordered by some unusual looking trees. Melanie wondered if they were just very tall old grape vines but I said they looked too tall, orderly and of uniform size for that. She was pretty sure of herself though and she reminded me that “grape vines think alike”. Another laugh out loud moment that my father would have approved of.

Peace y’all.

Melanie looking out at her grape vines

The Basilica dome

1 thought on “In Ignatius’s home town

  1. Hi Michael and Melanie,

    You are off to a great start. Interesting comment about the Three Temples Route. That is the first we ever heard of it. But we were quite pleased to walk the road to Zumarraga. Enjoy.

    John and Robin


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