The Siri face on my Apple Watch showed me several photos today from our 2015 visit to Batalha in Portugal. That sent me to Photos and a very pleasant spell looking at the whole collection.
Then I found my blog entry from that time, and read this.
As you exit the motorway into Batalha you can see the spires of the mainly Gothic monastery standing tall. Then you wind through the quiet streets for a few metres and there it is. The decorations and overall appearance are breathtaking. The buildings, with their arches and knobbly decorations and gargoyles, sit in the middle of a vast square.
Go inside though and the hugely tall vaulted ceilings and long views are truly awe inspiring. Tall stained glass windows are there. Decorations high and low on the tall pillars are there. Some bare stone walls are adorned only with a tiny cross.
These gorgeous buildings were created over about 150 years beginning in 1386, as thanks for the help of Mary in winning a battle.This dazzling architectural ensemble was born out of a promise the King, João I, made in thanks for his victory at Aljubarrota, a battle fought on August 14, 1385, which assured him the throne and guaranteed independence for Portugal.
Batalha moved me. It seemed a place where the spirit could soar. The cathedral is powerful but beautiful. The outside is ornate, yet inside is modest and restrained, but with soaring spaces.
I took a fair few photos, most with the ‘wrong’ lens. Nevertheless, seeing these photos again fills me with joy.