We had nothing really arranged for Spain and had planned to get in and do what we could, banking on our copy of the Lonely Planet
and information available locally to get around. Rising early and after a good Spanish breakfast of churros and porras, we
walked down to Puerta del Sol to take the train to Atocha from where we would connect to a Renfe taking us to Guadalajara.
The staff at the metro were really helpful, and we made Guadalajara in time where Diogene’s old friend Norman was waiting to
pick us up.
When we stepped out of the elevator at Diogene’s hosts home we instantly knew why he longed to be back. Elena and Gustavo were
waiting for him with open arms, and from the minute we entered the house, we felt we were at home. Our hosts had planned
a great day for us – we would head immediately for the Parroquia de Beata Maria de Jesus for the noon mass, where Diogene hoped to catch up
with the other families he had met, then to lunch and an evening of sightseeing.
The Spanish mass for the Feast of the Assumption was a new experience, the Church a new yet beautiful building and certainly
a friendly congregation as most recognised Diogene from his visit last year. I realised that if I put in a little extra effort
I could follow most of the homily, perhaps because the parish priest Don Alfonso spoke very slowly. After the mass a large
crowd gathered to catch up with Diogene, get a few pictures and inquire about the other teenagers and adults from Abu Dhabi
who were here last year.
But the most excited were Susanna and Alberto, proud parents of a little baby girl who was to be baptised later that evening.
The baby, the parents explained was a gift of prayers that many of the Abu Dhabi pilgrims had offered on behalf of the young
couple. She was to be baptised Sara Winifred Liberty, after Winifred and Liberty who stayed with the Morales’ last year.
After much talk, and a special blessing in Latin from Don Antonio, we headded for a wonderful lunch of Chipitos, Croquetas, Magros con tomate,
Tortillas and other traditional specialties.
Gustavo and Elena then took us on a walking tour of Gudalajara and we were surprised and how much the little towm had to offer.
It was a good afternoon to walk as the town was fairly quiet, it being siesta time on a public holiday. The big surprise
though was announced only when we returned home a few hours later. Our hosts and Norman offered to drive us to the beautiful
old town of Alcala de Henares, half way to Madrid.
Alcala is the birthplace of Cervantes, the great Spanish writer, whose writings include the ever popular stories of Don Quitoxe
and Sancho Panza. It is old with narrow cobbled streets and beautiful old buildings. It was festival time and the town
was crowded with visitors, gathered in the town square, at the little streetside eateries or just walking around talking in the
sights and looking for good bargains.
We walked all round the old quarter to the Cathedral of Alcala, an imposing structure that dates back to the 14th century. Not the old,
but fairly old were the huges nests built by the giant cranes on the highest points of the old buildings, and we could see
them return home as the day ended.
At 8.30pm it was still daylight, and we although we hated to leave the Dominguez family especially their two little children Paula
and Jose, we had a train to catch and get back to Madrid.