Subject: Spiritual journey in Europe
Hi Monique. First of all, welcome to the list. I hope weīll be able to help you in your search.

And now, letīs get to work. The first problem that comes into my mind, is the fact that youīre talking about different faiths. Thatīs going to be difficult to find. Think that many of the roots of todayīs Europe come from the judeo-cristian tradition, mixed with a bit of greek philosophy and roman engineering, and a dash of the german barbarians. So the religions you will find along your way thru the north mediterranean coast will be christian (catholics, maybe some protestants, and orthodox), some jewish traces, but not many, and finishing off with the muslims in Turkey (whirling dervishes, anyone?). You will find plenty of cathedrals, of christian shrines to the virgin (maybe formerly to the Mother Godess, but no more), you will see magnificent mosquees, former synagogues kept as churches, but other faiths... I seem to remember that there is a buddhist monastery some place in the Alpujarras, near Granada, but I donīt know the place.

Seeing that you are beginning with Portugal and Spain, what would you think about Santiago de Compostela? The Saint James Way has been an pilgrim trail long before Christianity arrive into Spain, and many of the pilgrims still travel from Santiago to Finisterre (Fisterra), the end of the known world for the roman and celts, to see the sun dawning in the Atlantic. The Way is full with churches and relics and tales of pilgrims.

Some of the christian worship places I can think : Fatima in Portugal (I know, lots of merchandising, but the people have faith, and thatīs important), places like Montserrat, San Juan de la Peņa, the magnificent gothic cathedrals, Covadonga, Santo Toribio de Liebana (the frights of the first millenium, painted by a forgotten monk...).

Go to Toledo or to Cordoba, to find the jewish and muslim heritage.

In France, the cathar citadels. Read about them previously, think about how they died for their faith. There is a place in Provence, I donīt remember the name, where gipsies from around Europe congregate to celebrate Saint Marthe. Iīll try to remember. The big Cister cloisters, where the reform of the monastic orders began.

The arab heritage in Sicily, and the greek temples of Agrigento. Deb was right on recommending you the region around Assisi. And I guess many people in the group will be able to tell you many places in Italy where you can feel the strength and the piety.

I am thinking right now of Medjugorje. During the Yugoslavia war, there were still pilgrims going there, so something must be going on.

And the Meteora monasteries in Greece, and all the temples...

Good luck in yout search,

Covadonga in Bilbao (Spain).