Iglesia la Merced in Gracias is its oldest church, dating from 1547, or at least that´s what its loving caretaker told us. It is rarely used now, only for special occasions. But the caretaker, who donates his time out of his love for the church, proudly showed off the gigantic key to the door--he said it was original--the donation box in the church--also original, he said, and the figure of Jesus on the cross. And I do believe that was original also. 300 or 400 or 450 years old, what is the difference, this is an old church.
The ceiling arcs above, it smells like bat guano inside. It is a marvelous place to be. We were fortunate to happen by when the caretaker was opening the church to air it out. Otherwise, the only activity it sees is when the young boys play soccer outside within its locked gates, paying no mind to the bit of colonial heritage that graces their activities.
We visited also the old fort on the top of the hill that commands a great view of the entire region, and the Galeano home from the 1800´s that houses a muesum.
One of my
favorite places was the store that had rows and rows of glass bottles of colorful pickles. They gave me a free popscicle on a stick, and of course I went back later to buy some marvelous sweets with orange rind in it, and sweets with sesame seeds and milk.
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