Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 25, 2011

Today three cars of people (including me and S) drove about an hour to a beautiful church  in Aglona, Latvia.  Here is some basic information from the internet.  This way, I won't confuse the history:
Basilica of Our Lady of Aglona is located in small town of Aglona about 40 kilometers northeast of the city of Daugavpils and is considered the most important Roman Catholic church in Latvia. It was elevated to the status of a basilica by Pope John Paul II on its 200th anniversary in 1980.

The present masonry church in Baroque style was built between 1768 and 1780 after the original wooden Dominican church and Dominican monastery from 1699 burned to the ground in 1766. Basilica of Our Lady of Aglona is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and is famous for the icon of Our Lady of Aglona from 17th century which has according to the legend miraculous healing power. Thousands of pilgrims assemble at the basilica every year on the day of the Assumption of Mary on August 15.

It is said that the waters from there promote healing.  Mama Gertruda convinced me to drink from the fountain and put some over my heart.  Time will tell if I have a kinder heart after this!  Gertruda had the children bring large empty water bottles to fill up.  Maybe that is the way she manages so many children!!

We then went to a protestant church close by.  The church itself is not totally complete and is a rustic wooden structure.  What is interesting is that there are religious wooden sculptures all over the hillside.  Since my camera quit working, Sabina took photos with her cell phone.  I will send them when I figure out how to do it.
We then went to a lake which was created by a meteor.  According to the group, there is a force that pulls things down so you cannot swim in the late.  There are a lot of superstitions here.  The park was beautifully maintained and the lake was a beautiful shade of green.

Next we returned to the country home where Gertruda fried fish.  I was with the children when she was cooking so did not see the "catch" until I went into the kitchen........whole fish......heads, tails, bones, etc.  ...only the guts and scales removed.  I think I ate a whole skeleton!  Plus, they were tiny.....I have seen gold fish bigger!  Those bones were LITTLE!  What meat I got from them was delicious.....all except for the bones!
Now we are back at the apartment.  It is 10:16 p.m. and still very light outside.  Tomorrow we are driving to the Russian border.  We would have gone today but Sabina and I did not have our passports.  I did not realize this, but when you are in the border area, meaning about ten miles before the border, police can stop you and require that you verify your identity.  I will take Sabina's camera for sure tomorrow.  Good night!

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