Secret Cookie Selling Nuns

I entered a contest called Around the World in 80 Pages, hosted by Navigator Paper. They chose my story as a finalist! 80 finalists were chosen out of over 1300 entries. My story is going to be published in a book, and I can still win a prize. Here’s the story I submitted, about the time I bought cookies from a convent of cloistered nuns in Madrid:

“You went there by yourself?!” Of course I did. If I had waited for other people to come with me, I’d have missed out on so many awesome things. In this case “there” was the Monastery of Corpus Christi in Madrid. It’s home to nuns who bake delicious cookies. The catch is that these nuns belong to a secluded order. They have little or no contact with the outside world, aside from selling these yummy treats.  When I heard about them on a walking tour my immediate reaction was: MUST VISIT COOKIE BAKING NUNS. However, my non-existent Spanish language skills and terrible sense of direction were going to make this difficult. I am not Catholic and know very little about monastery etiquette, and this wasn’t your average group of nuns. As I walked down the dark, deserted corridor looking for the cookies I worried. What happens if I walk through the wrong door? What happens if I accidentally see or speak to a nun? What happens to her? Does she get kicked out? What happens to me? I found the “bakery.” There’s a window with what looked like a revolving door inside. Instead of glass, the panels are wood so no one can look in or out. There’s a sign in Spanish that I obviously couldn’t read and I heard a voice say something that I clearly didn’t understand. I ordered the first thing on the menu. The revolving door turned and there appeared a box of cookies. I replaced the box of cookies with some money and turned for the door. Then 2 more boxes came my way. I attempted my most polite “no thank you” and headed for the door. The whole visit lasted 10 minutes at most. A group of nuns who have taken a vow not to interact with the public just so happens to be really good at baking cookies. Their convent is fairly hidden. It’s down a small street with no obvious signage. You really have to hunt for it. Of course I went there on my own. Seeing the big sites is fun, but these little interactions and events are what really stay with you long after your trip is over. Those were some of the best butter cookies I have ever eaten!

 

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