Taize meeting in Madrid
I went to Taize meeting in Madrid. We traveled by bus. That is sometimes painful for my bottom but it is also a nice opportunity to get to know each other, share some cookies, have fun together, hear some life stories (well, some stories you hear more than once).
The family which hosted us was so nice and warm, such an amazing example of family full of love. It was parents with their son who was 20 years old and the only one who spoke English. They never complained about anything although we were sometimes naughty. Even when we came late at night or needed to get up early for the meeting. For the lunch on final day they put a lot of effort to serve us putting our needs in front of their own and also invited two more people who could not stay at their host families for the lunch. Their son David was also such a nice guy, I feel like he can not do any evil or harm on purpose, always smiling and in a good mood, always helpful. He is young but he is a true inspiration. They all made us really feel like part of their family. Except for me, they hosted a french-spanish priest and a friend from Croatia who came with me by bus. For breakfast it was popular to have a pineapple and tomato sauce which we put on bread with olive oil. In the evening we talked all together and were offered with excellent porto wine and other beverages as well as with food.
The people at the parish were also very nice. The local priest told me that the neighborhood was a bit dangerous. The window from the nearby building looking at the church was a place were dealers are selling drugs. And at least once a month someone gets kidnapped. But people who were at the church didn’t seem dangerous, they were happy that we visited them. Few blocks away some of my friends were hosted in the complex of building which had a swimming pool. Some of the friends stayed with the black man who was blind. They said he was so nice and that they had such a good time with him and they celebrated New Year’s Eve with him at home with his family having a great party with music from Africa and Croatia.
Madrid was not a spectacular city for me. I prefer some other Spanish cities more, like Valencia, Burgos, Pontevedra. But I was enjoying hot chocolate. And almost every day I visited park Retiro. There I saw parrots on big trees, enjoyed the sun and listened to some live music on the street near the lake. That park was the best thing for me in Madrid. One evening few of us from Croatia went to Irish pub for some bear, it was a nice evening.
Taize workshops were also nice. The first one which I visited was about Christians of the east. We listened to some stories and songs. I was hoping to hear more of the songs, they were so nice. The other workshop was in church of San Jerinome de Real near museum Prado where we learned about faith through art and history. Prado means field and this whole area was an agricultural field. Madrid did not have a big historical value in the past like some other royal cities and was chosen as the capital because of its central position. When we entered the church we saw immediately something like arches crossing each other which looks like palms. And palm branches were used to welcome Jesus entering Jerusalem. And palms remind of the garden which is in the bible the first place where man meets God. As we enter the church, we see this garden and we come to meet God. The gold is the dominant colour on the altars. It reminds you of kings. And it does not rust like other metals so it is more permanent, eternal, like God. And it is clean, has less bacterias. And it reflects light which was useful when we did not have electricity so they would put a lot of candles near this gold to reflect the light around.
I was an animator and was coordinating the discussion in my morning group. We had a nice talk and I think others enjoyed it too. My friend from Croatia was lost few times and he also lost his mobile phone but I think he enjoyed being in Spain and speaking Spanish.
In general I did not have that many adventures as on other meetings and I think I met less people. Maybe I was feeling a bit different or the atmosphere was different, I am not sure. It was fine but I had more a bit more joy on some other meetings. Still, I bring good memories and I am very glad to have met my host family and Croatian girls who were in my team in hosting parish.