Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spain and a Few Patronus Moments

Apologies for my resent absence from the blogosphere. I’ve been in Madrid with my best friends Annie and Tina, and took a nice extended break from all things internet related. But I'm back now, and before my life becomes a little too normal, I’d like to take a quick moment to talk about something I like to call Patronus Moments.

For those of you who haven’t heard me talk about this before, a Patronus Moment is an occasion or incident so wonderful it would evoke a Patronus. (For those of you who don’t know what a Patronus is, go read Harry Potter. Immediately.) Extraordinarily, while I was in Spain I experience not one, but two of these moments, and I thought I would share them.

The first happened during one of our day trips to Toledo. Called the City of Three Faiths, it’s home to one of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve ever seen. Nearly every wall displayed vibrant stained glass windows, the ceiling was high and vaulted, and in the center was one of the largest organs I’ve ever seen. I’ve long thought the organ one of the most visually arresting instruments, and this one was stunning. I spent several minutes walking around, observing it from every angle. And then, just when we were about to leave, a priest sat down and began to play.

In all my years of travelling I've never heard anything more beautiful. I've been to more cathedrals than I can count, but never once have I heard the organ played while inside one. It was such a surprise, and more moving than I can describe. It seemed to rise up to the very highest reaches of the vaulted ceiling, echoing across all the sightseers and worshipers and pouring right through me. There's really no  words that can capture what I felt at that moment, but I know that I'll remember that feeling for all my life. 

The second Patronus Moment is somewhat less surprising, but no less extraordinary. After a long day of sightseeing and a short rest in our hotel room, my friends and I were working up the energy to go out for dinner. As the three of us discussed places to eat while we surveyed the clothes we’d laid out, I felt more and more worn out. But still I tried to rally for Annie and Tina’s sake, not wanting to disappoint them. I therefore could not have been more thrilled when Annie tentatively suggested that we could always just order room service for dinner and stay in the watch the Spain vs. Ireland EUFA soccer game (which, as a fan of both Spain and Ireland’s national teams, was exactly what I’d wanted to do).

We wound up having the best time eating peanut butter sandwiches, hamburgers and fruit in our pajamas and cheering on our favorite players. For all the amazing places we went during the trip and all the amazing sights I got to see, it really might have been my favorite moment of the trip. In the end, it’s nice to know that I can be just as thrilled looking at palaces and cathedrals as staying in with my two best girlfriends and shouting at a soccer match.

Anyway, it’s back to normality for me. But here’s a few memories to hold onto until my next great adventure . . .
Annie, Tina and I at Madrid's famous Plaza Mayor 

Madrid Palace just before sunset

Annie and I taking a break (and revealing our true colors) in Segovia

My newly acquired palace in Segovia 

The beautiful organ in the Toledo Cathedral I mentioned above

Tina and I in front of an awesome mural in the Madrid subway

Me, Annie and Tina in front of the Roman Aqueducts 

The incredible Toledo Cathedral 


  1. Wow, that organ is a gorgeous instrument. What a fabulous experience to hear it played!

  2. That organ is epic! I often wonder if the shapes of churches and cathedrals are that way because it provides the best acoustics

  3. wow, that organ is absolutely huge, and amazing. My dad used to play the organ and oh my wouldn't he have loved to sit down at that one. Sounds like you had a fantastic adventure and the perfect excuse for being absent.

  4. Wow. Sounds like you had loads of fun. Glad that you're back in the blogosphere. And with such stunning pictures too. My day has officially been made. :D

  5. That really is an amazing organ! I love the phrase 'patronus moments', I'm going to have to start using that!
    Sometimes staying in is the best thing you can do to have a good time :)

  6. I have envy...
    I went to Canada once. Okay, twice. But that's hardly leaving the country.
    I had a friend in college that was an organ player. I bet he'd die to get his hands on something like that.

    Welcome back!

  7. Welcome back!
    There's something about those organs in old churches that are just amazing. They don't make them like that anymore.

  8. Welcome back. :-)

    That is an incredibly beautiful organ.

  9. I love the idea of "Patronus Moments!" Now I'll be on watch for them. ;) The pics were great, too.

  10. Welcome back to the blogosphere!

    It sounds like you had a great time in Spain. I love the pictures!

  11. I got to go to an organ concert in Westminster Abby and HOLY CRAP!!! IT WAS SOOOOO BEAUTIFUL!!! There's nothing like organ sound bouncing between walls of stone and centuries of history.

    But I--for one--am definitely glad you're back, my lovely BWFF!!

  12. Holy cow, I hope you're enjoying yourself! It looks like you are! WOW. Be safe and have fun! Thx for the pix too!

  13. For a moment, I thought Annie was flipping off the camera in picture number three! (Apologies for being absent these last few weeks. How dare real life intrude on my virtual reality!)

  14. How awesome was that? I'm glad you had such a great time. Welcome home.