As far as blogging goes, I’m still in Barcelona: though in reality I’m snuggled in a cosy jumper looking upwards as a grey sky turns greyer.
In Barcelona, we visited the Monasterio de Pedralbes. It’s not actually a monastery, because no monk has ever lived there. It’s a priory, built in 1326 by King James of Aragon for his wife Elisenda de Montcada, who wished to found a community of Poor Clares there. Poor Clares? These are nuns who devote themselves to a life of simplicity and prayer, and in Elisenda’s time were almost always drawn from the ranks of the aristocracy. She herself never became a nun, but she was very real presence in the life of this community.
And what a fine place it is. A graceful three-storied cloister surrounds a peaceful garden. Here is a fountain, topped off with a rather cheeky looking angel. This is where the nuns would wash their hands before dining in silence in the refectory, while devotional works were read to them from a pulpit.
But it’s the kitchen I’d like to show you. In its day, this was a state-of-the-art workroom. Who wouldn’t like to cook at this unusual kitchen range, supervised by Saint Anthony? Look at these fine sinks, dating from about 1520. There are bread ovens, tiled worktops, and it was here that the simple diet of the nuns was prepared: fresh and salted fish, pulses, rice, vegetables and fruit. Meat was reserved for festivities.
This is another of Barcelona’s hardly-discovered treasures. Just a couple of school parties there, and once they’d gone, we had the place almost to ourselves. Put this on your must-visit list too.
This post is my response to this week’s WordPress photo challenge: ‘unusual’.