In an earlier blog, I wrote about our day trip to Avila from Madrid. It was the week before Holy Week. And I ended up doing Avila 2 days in a row. But that’s another story.







There are many ways to tour Avila. The Tourist Office has several itinerary choices for visitors. The more energetic may want to round up the walls and visit as many churches and museums. The lethargic, exercise-deprived may opt to train in and around the 11th century walls. The first time around, it was a walking trip for us. Avila has enough churches ⛪and old buildings 🏰within its “murallas” or walls to fill up a whole day. The 2nd time around — which is really just the day after — we didn’t miss the chance to ride the green train that weaves around and outside the walled city. A good idea, sparing us from the leg cramps of the day before.







Typically, every tour starts in the San Vicente Basilica, 💒which is right at the mouth of The Murallas. The basilica is where the young Prince, son of Ferdinand and Isabela, remains buried. Very impressive. Just before entering, take time to appreciate the wood carvings on the doors and the statues guarding the admission area. I spotted 10 apostles and wondered. When asked, the guide didn’t know which of the apostles are missing. Also, every pilgrim here won’t miss a visit to the Museo de Santa Teresa. Although Avila has another patron saint (well before St. Therese was born and sainted), there are many museums and relics of St. Therese, along with all those stores selling “yemas” named in her honor. If you ask me, those “yemas” taste like pure yolks sprinkled with sugar. Too rich. 😖







On our 2nd visit, we visited the Convent cum Monastery where St. Therese of Jesus was once the prioress. Coincidentally, this Monastery of Incarnation opened its doors on the very day of the saint’s baptism, though it was 20 years after when she entered the convent as a nun in 1535.







Inside, we spotted the exact site where St. Therese met the child Jesus. The child Jesus allegedly appeared to the saint right by the main staircase of the Monastery. The story goes that the child asked the saint “Who are you?”, to which the saint answered “Teresa of Jesus”. Then she asked the child, “Who are you?” And the child answered “I am Jesus of Teresa”.







In 1982, Pope John Paul II visited this convent. The chair on which he sat is encased in glass and put on exhibit here. There are many relics inside the Monastery, and the cell where St. Therese of Jesus lived is well-preserved.







The Monastery’s gate is actually outside the walls. If you are riding a cab, be sure to be dropped off right by the gate. Easily, you can spend an hour or less here. A small tienda or souvenir shop can be found as you exit the same door you entered.