Barcelona | Geese in the Cathedral

The 14th century cloister of Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia, in Barcelona, is an enchanting oasis of palm trees and lush gardens encircling a mossy pond.  Imagine my surprise when I turned to see a gaggle of white geese among the orange trees.

It turns out that they are descendants of geese that have lived there for five centuries.  Legend has it that there have always been thirteen white geese, each goose representing one year in the life of the martyr Saint Eulàlia, the young virgin tortured to death in 303 by the Romans for her Christian religion, and for whom the cathedral is named. Her body is said to be buried beneath the altar.

Rest in peace, young Eulàlia…the geese are keeping watch.