Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stumbling Through Cathedrals

These past 5 weeks have been sort of a personal quest for Nick and me, as we want to show off Buenos Aires's treasures one-by-one to Caitlin. It makes us exciting, and is a visual and physical re-cap to our past eight months here. Revisiting the city's cemeteries, museums (okay, 1 cemetery, and 2 museums...), parks, cafes, monuments, (bars), plazas, buddy bears (yes, buddy bears--Buenos Aires's famous world peace tribute!), and, well, you get the point. We've tried to take Caitlin on a "Best of BA" treasure hunt.

And it has honestly been a blast...To re-discover the sites we first uncovered with newbie eyes way back in August...And to discover for the first time sites we never took the time to see before...It's a pretty fun circle we're making here.

BUT, today we were reminded of the unexpected wonders of unplanned goodies. Today's spontaneous discovery: the Cathedral San Benito in Las Canitas. Peaceful bliss, mysterious architecture, rising up above palm trees and hidden from the road's view by a large cement wall. How we discovered it? Well, here's the story.

***

Caitlin (for those who don't know, Little Miss Green Thang) was surfing the web for biodegradable plastic bags in BA, which led her to the Natural Deli, an organic (and heavenly) cafe in Las Canitas. She mosied on over there last week to buy some organic mate and wine, and to pick up some bio bags as well. She did what she needed to do and went on her way, but not without checking out the menu...Which is what made her come home and insist that we return together to have a meal. So that we did, and boy was it deee-vine. A glass of organic red wine to accompany my roasted red pepper and portobella mushroom sandwich...(Oh man, I'm salivating right now in rememberance, I better move on!) Well, let's just leave it at that (if you are reading this and you live in BA, go there...now.)

Moving on, after we left the cafe with stomachs full of organic goodness and arms full with more organic goodness (wine, bread, brownies, and trail mix), we headed back towards the subte along Luis Maria Campos...Which is where we saw a strange and beautiful building looming above towering palms--a light red brick dome atop a building made of old-old-old brick, long-ago washed of any color. It was so curious, we had to sneak a look.

We crossed the street and walked along the building's cement wall until we reached a break in the stone that gave way to a stair-well and a path into a...cathedral! A beautiful (BEAUTIFUL), ancient, camouflaged castle of a cathedral! Talk about a treasure!

The walkway's walls had the church's name, San Benito, carved into its stone. We had entered the Sanctuary of San Benito. Ivy covered the church walls that were guarded from view int he road by the fortress-like cement wall. Inside, the cathedral walls towered high above us, woven with beams and windows. The alter was vast, simple and lovely. A deacon stood by, waiting to light your Easter candle with a prayer if you so wanted (and I just so happened to be needing to light a candle for a very special about-to-be-wed duo, so I was in luck!).

Nick, Caitlin, and I wandered around the cathedral's pews, and secret chambers that seemed un-ending. We watched the hundreds of prayer candles flicker when a wind whistled past, and we watched as dozens of worshippers kissed the foot of San Benito's statue, his toes golden, worn of all the copper that covered the rest of his body, washed from all the loving and hopeful touches he has received. Flowers laid all around him. Candles, too. It was all so beautiful.

In the words of John Lennon, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans."

In the words of Hira, *sigh*

1 comment:

Hira said...

I love you, sam.