Antequera, Again

Yesterday we took Danny and Mark Steele to Antequera and had a really fine visit. We started with the megaliths, then lunch at El Angelote, where I had truly one of the most outstanding steaks I've ever eaten. Had I known it was going to be so incredible I wouldn't have ordered it because post-consumption I had to deal with the guilt. But forgiveness is always but a step away: after lunch is was the ecclesiastical tour -- the church of Carmen, the Teressian convent, and the church of St. Sebastian. Finally, on the way home we stopped at El Torcal and had a beautiful hike. The church of Carmen is always amazing, but what most got my attention on this trip were the little porcelain baby Jesus's in the museum of the Teressian convent. They are mainly 17th and 18th century figures, with a few from the 19th century. It's quite strange how the artists depicted Jesus in so many different "poses" and how the nuns dressed him up in all kind of manner. (Just like Barbie and Ken - an outfit for every occasion!) One of my favorites was Priest Jesus, depicted consecrating the host. Hey, the little kid is about to eat himself! Crybaby Jesus was also interesting (a tad more understandable, no?), and Sleepyhead Jesus was one I could definitely identify with. And I saw an image I'd never seen before: the Virgin represented as a little baby! And another: a painting of "Our Lady of the Book"! Now there's a good vocation, assuming, of course, we mean books in general. All these strange representations got me thinking about the strong emphasis here in Southern Spain on the most human aspects of their religion. The Counterreformation was no doubt for the most part a thoroughly awful undertaking that created unspeakable suffering for people around the world, but if there's a sliver of light to be found, apart from its superlative artistic legacy, perhaps it is in the peculiar transformation of religion that took place, in my view, in Southern Spain: the biography of Jesus becomes an elaborate drama designed to generate empathy and identification, and the importance of belief in "the one God" seems to dissipate. Belief becomes belief in ourselves. Humanism ends up winning anyway.
Our hike through the Torcal was quite memorable. We spotted several mountain goats high up on the strange rocks, and also saw two foxes (plural of fox? One fox, two fox; one fox, two foxes?) one of which was quite large. In the phot0, a carefree kid on the edge of a cliff.