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Monday, November 3, 2014

Selfies from Manresa -old bridge and A Handbook for Travellers

The Old Bridge illuminated over the Cardener river with the Cathedral in the background in Manresa.

The Old Bridge illuminated over the Cardener river with the Cathedral of Manresa in the background in Manresa, Spain. Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Company of Jesus, arrived in Manresa in March 25, 1522 crossing the Cardener river along the Old Bridge after leaving his sword and knife at the altar of Our Lady of Montserrat. He stayed in a cave outside the town for 10 months. He spent hours each day praying and working in a hospice. It was in that cave where he wrote the Spiritual Exercises, a compilation of meditation, prayers and contemplative practices guiding to find God in all things that is one of the central characteristics of Jesuit spirituality. Pope Francis has been the first Jesuit elected as Pope.

The Old Bridge illuminated over the Cardener river with the Cathedral of Manresa in the background in Manresa, Spain.


Richard Ford’s A Handbook for Travellers in Spain (1845) 
marked a defining moment in English travel literature.

British tourists were travelling through Europe in increasing numbers and the need for guidebooks was beginning to be supplied by publishers like John Murray. In 1845 Ford, who had gained tremendous knowledge of Spain by extensive travel on horseback, wrote this charming account enlivened by humour and anecdotes.

          Pages 414-15
From the convent to Manresa is a
picturesque ride of the descent is
alpine, amid rocks, pines, and aromatic
shrubs. After entering a vine-clad
country the road ascends the Llobregat:
at Castellgali, near its junction with
the Gardener, is La Torre de Breny, a
fine Roman monument, the origin and
object of which are unknown, for the
interior evidently was never destined
for habitation: the masonry is solid
and well preserved. Observe the frieze
and cornice richly adorned with flowers
and scrollwork, and two lions in the
act of pouncing upon a human figure.
Manresa soon appears : it was the Ro-
man Minorisa and capital of the Jace-
tani : the Posada del Sol is very com-
fortable. Manresa, the central and
one of the most picturesque cities in
Catalonia, is the chief town of its fer-
tile well-irrigated district: it contains
13,000 busy cloth-making souls, and a
See, which, without being a cathedral,
is in dignity higher than a colegiata,
being presided over by a Pavorde, a dig-
nitary equal to four canons.

The See is a noble church, although
the invaders smashed much of the su-
perb painted glass, overturned the
pulpits, and made the chancel a cavalry
barrack. The edifice is built of a
brown stone with a fine belfry-tower
and open crown-like termination ; the
exterior of the Coro is divided by
Gothic niches and painted with bishops
and saints in a coarse fresco. The high
altar, with its jasper crypt chapel, and
the usual Saracens' heads under the
organ, repeat the Barcelonese type.
The font is very elegant : observe the
tomb of Canon Molet and that of a
dying monk in the cloisters ; notice the
rose window and painted glass with the
Ascension of the Virgin : the rich red
and blue colours are splendid. Manresa
is a quaint, picturesque, scrambling
town, with tortuous streets and old-
fashioned houses. The views are
charming ; from the narrow old bridge
the cathedral rises grandly above gush-
ing cascades of &e Cardener, amid
ravines, rocks, gardens, cypresses,
walls, and Prout-like buildings.

The Cueva de San Ignacio is the great
lion, and the view from the esplanade
is glorious. The jagged Monserrat
towers in the distance, from whence
the Virgin smiled continually at the
Jesuit saint while doing penance in
his cave. The convent built over it is
of the bad period of 1660, with Ionic
decorations — clumsy angels and cor-
rupt architecture. The portal of
the Cueva was, however, left un-
finished in consequence of the expul-
sion of the Jesuits.

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