Tuesday, January 3, 2012
An amazing sight
We left Rosario early so we could get to our rendezvous with Anne and Jon at a suburb outside of Buenos Aires called Lujan. We had arranged to pick up a new deep cell battery in the city and hoped to do that first. As “luck” would have it by the time we reached Buenos Aires it was rush hour or maybe the traffic is always heavy. The streets were crammed. It took us 2 hours to locate the store but they had the correct battery and it did not take them long to install it. Then it was back on the autopista to Lujan. Anne had given me directions to the campsite which seemed easy to get to from the freeway. As we approached the roundabout, we were astounded at the sight in front of us. A basilica. Completed in 1937 this enormous neo-gothic church was built to honor the Virgin of Lujan (the patron saint of Argentina). Designed by French architect Ulderico Courtois who used Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris as his model, it was built to the same lines and details of 13th century churches. Using stone from the Entre Rios region of Argentina, it is truly imposing. The front is flanked by two towers standing over 100 meters (330 ft) high, those combined with the copper roof transept and gigantic bronze doors maintain the gothic tradition. The interior also keeps to the French Gothic style with the main altar dominating the view from the front door, wide aisles and alcoves with beautiful stained glass windows. At the altar is the tiny 1 foot (38cm) statue of the Virgin of Lujan to whom this enormous church is dedicated and over six million people visit every year to pray. What a testament to faith. We pulled over to the side and could only ogle at the sheer beauty and magnificence of it. We decide that we will try to come to mass here before we leave. It is dark when we pulled in to the campsite and by the time we got the RV situated the rain which had been light, started to come down in torrents. Jon and Anne’s vehicle was silent, they were sleeping already. We made soup and a sandwich and as the rain picked up speed, the thunder and lightning followed. We ate listening to the sound and the conversation was centered on the basilica and the profound visual effect it created for us.