a wandering woman writes

Thursday, March 30, 2006

On the punctuality of cherry blossoms

Well, our trip to el Valle del Jerte to see the cherry blossoms turned into a wonderful trip to see cherry buds. Is this a case of late blossoms? Early Salmantinas? I can't say, but the pueblos of the valley celebrated the annual cherry blossom festival a few days before our excursion, sans blossoms.

The valley is breathtaking, long and deep with tier after tier of terrazas built into the hillsides, each hosting a line of cherry trees. Only at the bottom of the valley, close to Cabezuela del Jerte, have the cerezos begun to bloom, and even there, few trees are in full bloom. Still, it was a perfect, warm day, gorgeous enough to convince me that spring is here, despite the shy cerezos and the snow-covered Sierra de Bejar looming in the distance.

We stopped in a pueblicito (the name of which escapes me at the moment: Nomadita, please report to the comment box. Puerta?????) when my chauffer recognized the town name. And thus began the highlight of the trip for me! A dozen questions, 6 or 7 three point turns and 3 elderly locals later, we rang the bell on the house where the mother of one of Nomadita's childhood friends still lives. She insisted on making us coffee and giving me the motherly attention (Have another cookie, sweetheart! Girls, have another cookie!) I craved after a frustrating morning at work. (I'm quite fond of my mother, really I am. Still, every once in a while I do enjoy a good dose of Spanish mothering - the kind where she won't let you do a thing in the kitchen, and can imagine no greater happiness than watching you eat cookies!) I left the pueblo-to-be-named-later convinced that you can find anyone in a Spanish village, as long as you carry a couple of clues - one of the family's last names, a child's name, the father's profession.....

Back on the road, we drove through the valley to Cabezuela del Valle, where I was captivated by this simple 17th century church, built around the remains of the synagogue, at the entrance to Cabezuela's old Jewish quarter. The church is even more lovely inside, with unpretentious walls made of local stones, and the obligatory gold laden 17th century retablo.

I'm afraid our timing wasn't right for a food report, Alex, although we did see lots of signs (in shops that had yet to open for the afternoon, unfortunately) for vino de pitarra , the local homemade wine. I'd like to try it next trip.

Best of all, I quizzed myself on trees for hours. Chopo. Encina. Roble... Funny the things they don't teach you in language classes!



  • Lovely blue skies. I particulary like the third photograph with the stream.

    By Anonymous Alex, at 8:50 PM  

  • You've figured out that's one of my favorite things about Spain, haven't you? Lovely blue skies. I call them "Spain-blue" when I describe them at home. Remind me of New Mexico - the only place I have ever seen similar light.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 9:00 PM  

  • I loved this ... deeply envious of you wandering Spain, but in a nice way. Some of the photos reminded me of parts of New Zealand and your Spanish 'mother' made me think of some of the wonderful Turkish 'mums' I met and was fed by over in Istanbul. Sigh ... I'll just wander off and try and decided which place I'm more homesick for.

    By Blogger woman wandering, at 10:08 PM  

  • WW, looks like you are having a great time!

    By Blogger cream, at 12:40 AM  

  • W-w, sometimes I think I'm just a little homesick for everywhere! Ever get that way?

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 9:22 AM  

  • I do!! I've only spent 5 days in Rome (so far) and fell deeply and completely in love with the city. Writing about it afterwards, friends said it was as if I was writing of a lover. Airfare prices, border controls and visas puzzle me sometimes :) As soon as I'm earning in Belgium, I hope to make the most of being so centrally located in Europe and make myself 'homesick' for other places.

    By Blogger woman wandering, at 10:01 AM  

  • Remember the travel quote you liked on my site recently ... by Kapuscinsky?

    Anon wrote saying this: 'read the book Imperium of Kapuscinsky.
    I loved the stories; they introduce you to USSR'.

    By Blogger woman wandering, at 12:39 PM  

  • I hope a little voice talks to me soon! Great blog. :-)

    By Blogger Rrramone, at 7:07 PM  

  • LOL. Thanks, Rrramone. My theory is we all have them, you know. Shhhh..hear something?

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 7:51 PM  

  • WW. I've been lurking for awhile and love the way you write.
    My husbands family is all from Cabezuela and you captured it in your blog. We will be spending some days there this summer.
    Your right about the New Mexico skies, As a New Mexican, I can see why the Extremeno conquistidores settled there. THE SKY!
    Thank you for your blogs, they make the other 11 monthes of the year bearable.

    By Anonymous laduque, at 1:30 AM  

  • Hi laduque,

    So glad you came out of lurking (says me, a good lurker myself.)

    Oh! to spend a month in Cabezuela. Such a lovely, warm, pueblo, and that river gurgling by. Tell you husband I do so love Extremadura....Addictive place. Maybe for me it is the New Mexico similarity, you think?

    Enjoy your stay in Cabezuela this year. Hope to see you back here.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 9:36 AM  

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