He wasn't allowed down the tunnel ....the tunnel was dangerous so the priest had warned him, after a generous clip around the ear!
Nevertheless at twelve what can one expect, the curiosity was killing him, so choosing the moment carefully while Father Gonzalo was in the sacristy he once again tried to explore the tunnel. This time he picked up a candle extinguisher pole to lever open the slab trapdoor to the forbidden depths. The gush of dust and air and the reek of rotten things assailed him from the tiny crack that his arduous efforts produced causing him to turn away sharply;a reflect to escape the stink. Dismayed he saw the slab slip back down to cover the hole once more with a resounding thud echoing down through the dark corridor. He waited in silence hardly daring to breathe until he heard the ominous sound of the clack clack of Father Gonzalo's heels on the cobbled floors, announcing the end of his adventure and producing the feeling that he needed to be somewhere else urgently, which made him drop the pole and run. The years of familiarity with the churches' confusing interior saw him up and on the flat back roof of the church winging his way to his personal shortcut in a flash. He slithered down the church wall ignoring the painful grazes and with a final jump into the street below, he ran like the wind to his home sheltered under the castle wall.
However he knew he would not hear the end of this and word would reach his father but not today;today he had things to brag about!
My husband was never an altar boy nor would he participate in the Holy chores the children in the Santa Maria Parish were obliged to undertake. As much as Father Gonzalo and Father Francisco tried to train him for the tasks and insist he attend catechism, he always found an excuse or disppeared hiding in another part of the church, mostly on the roof. In the end they gave him other chores satisfied that he was at least there in the church.
During the 60s and under the yoke of the powerful Franco regime it was unthinkable that the children did not go to church and fulfil their obligations with the padres. At this time if they did not receive religious education and later take the first communion it could bring down real problems on the family labeling them as ROJOS (reds). You did not publicly announce yourself as an atheist during Francisco Franco's regime!
Although I have embellished my little tale somewhat it is a true story and it is how my husband told it to me. It was also verified by my mother-in-law and she told me Father Gonzalo came to visit her a few days later to tell her what her son had done. At the time he was duly punished and was house bound for a few days which was the worst punishment possible for a boy who ran wild like he did.
Although my husband has never been very religious he does have a fondness for the Santa Maria Chruch and we often walk that way and he tells me ancedotes about his adventures there. When we go in to visit, he shows me little corners ,nooks and recesses and what things were like before.
It fascinates me!
He speaks frequently of the tunnel that he longed to explore and never did and that it was sealed up not long after his last attempt to get down there. The tunnel actually connects with a tunnel within the castle walls and was of course an escape route from the castle. There are tales of bodies being discovered down there, some dating back centuries some not so long ago;Civil War victims. There has been some talk of restoration but it seems it is in such a bad state that it would cost a great deal. Others say that is an excuse and there are too many secrets down there and they are best left alone; buried and kept secret.
The Santa Maria Church dates back 1300.00 years or rather its beginnings does. It being the first place of worship built in Alicante. It was originally a mosque ,then a synagogue and then a church.
It is quite small but quite lovely inside: here you have a glimpse of the interior taken during my nephew's wedding in 2008 .....they were playing Pachelbel's Canon at the time I took this photo....it was an incredible moment;the acoustics in that church are phenomenal!
Guests at the main entrance waiting for the happy couple to appear
and they were duly bombarded with rice and rose petals
Well,my lovely bloggy friends do hope you enjoy this post :-)
This is a wonderful story and the pictures are absolutely incredible. Including that fantastically blue sky. I've forgotten what that looks like with all of our icy fog. Your husband sounds like a typical boy, and how wonderful that you live in a place that you can experience all of his memories. I can't imagine having that much history around me. Here if something is 100-125 years old it's ancient! :-)ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing this with us.
Many thanks for visiting.
Sr P was indeed a typical naughty boy from what my MIL has told me ….he was in fact the one who was always in the deep end! Alicante is indeed steeped in history and I never tire to hear about it more so when it comes from someone who is from there.
What an amazing building and interesting history, Amanda, and in a grand way both reflect the creative drive of some who express their artistry through wonderful craftsmanship! I can understand why your husband was drawn to explore the tunnel :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for posting! xx
What a wonderful story and absolutely beautiful church. It reminds me of the churches in my country. I'm from Brasil and the churches in my city -Recife- are over 500 years old. Such beautiful history. Thanks for the lovely your Amanda.ReplyDelete
~ Hello, lovely Amanda..Ooh yes!, I was with your then twelve year old husband on his very exciting adventures.....I actually thought you were reciting a new novel, Amanda......Wonderfully recaptured in memories.....Adventures kept excitedly fresh through time...You've made me feel a little alive by your beautiful pictures of bright sunshine this morning and i thank you for this....It's awfully dark and wet here in my small corner of blog land....~ But I think I'm riding through January pretty well!ReplyDelete
~ Sending kindest thoughts your way and thanking you for sweetest visits always...
Hugs Maria x
Yes, I did enjoy this post ! How funny - trying to tame your husband then twelve.ReplyDelete
Joe got into trouble on the penultimate day before he left Primary school for making a funny face during the leavers' assembly rehearsal. He got sent to the head master ! I telephoned & received an apology when I pointed out that he'd behaved himself for seven years !
But they couldn't of course…tame him that is!
I should think so…being good for seven years deserves a medal!
Lovely story and photos, thanks for sharing. The church in Benissa is so beautiful inside, very colourful, nice to learn of the history of some of these places.ReplyDelete
I love this story and am glad your husband was a bit of a free thinker even when he was young. Gorgeous church.ReplyDelete
Good Afternoon Amanda, What a fabulous story.... but do you know, I thought you were recounting words from a book. It wasn't until I continued reading, that I realised you were talking about your husband. I love old family stories and this one is extra special because of the beautiful church associated with your husband's escapade.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, I really enjoyed this post.
I enjoyed reading your troy Amanda so interesting. The church is beautiful, both inside and out. :)ReplyDelete
What a wonderful post Amanda! It was like reading the intriguing excerpt from a book! You write beautifully, and what with all the photos and history and info here, I have really enjoyed your post! It looks a beautiful Church.ReplyDelete
Thank you (and your husband!) for sharing this lovely story and history with us!
Happy New Year Amanda!
Wonderful, I thought I was starting a new book!ReplyDelete
Love from Mum
What a wonderful story - I felt I was watching a film. I love adventure films and storiesReplyDelete
An interesting read ... what a beautiful church!ReplyDelete
Have a stunning weekend x Pat
I love the story and reminded me of my own inquisitiveness to explore the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on a field trip. I wanted to find hidden passages too:-D Beautiful church, XOXOReplyDelete
Lovely story. It's always fun to hear about others adventures. I'm sure Sr P had a great time as a child. The church is lovely. hugs, SharonReplyDelete
A really interesting post, Amanda...I forget frequently what a dictatorship Franco's rule was and how recently it ended! This was a fascinating post to read and like many others, I thought you were including an excerpt from a book!ReplyDelete
What a great post, it's very important to remind us about what life was like under Franco and easy to forget as time moves on.ReplyDelete
You write beautifully. A story line, to be made interesting needs the strength of the pen. And you kept me through the post. I was eager to read further. Lovely. Beautiful pics. One more interesting thing is, even in India, we sprinkle rice on auspicious occassions. Adventurous boy your hubby was.. hmmm!
Great post, I really enjoyed reading it! Is your hubby still as 'adventurous'?? The pictures of this church are stunning, I love looking round the churches in Spain and France when we are on holiday, they are so beautiful.ReplyDelete
I love posts like this ^_^ XOXReplyDelete
Thank you so much Steph for visiting and for visiting and commenting on my other posts too. I am so behind with everything ......got a lot of catching up to do!!Delete
I do SO enjoy receiving comments from everyone and on this post in particular. I did enjoy writing it!