Tuesday, June 12, 2007
It's not what you look at
It's not what you look at that matters. It's what you see.
-Henry David Thoreau
I've spent the last few days roaming Spain behind this faceless roving photographer. Round Salamanca, Cáceres, La Alberca, Mogarriz.....to roadside churches, wells and well, you-name-it in the Sierra de Francia.
And, ah, I was blessed with a driver whose diabolical grin grew wider with every hairpin turn on two lane roads, through Las Hurdes to Las Batuecas, to La Alberca and Mogarriz, then back to Salamanca along the twistiest road I could deliver. One lane bridges were announced with glee.
There was people watching in Plaza Mayor accompanied by the Cervantes' stunning jamón ibérico, and there was the discovery, finally, of what will now be "my" restaurant in Cáceres (may I recommend the venado, or the recinto ibérico, ah, or the secreto ibérico stuffed with dates, gasp, slow exhale, and served with a pumpkin puree....). There was chocolate, a tankard of drinking chocolate mixed with hot rum and coffee at La Regenta, and the best morcilla picante with caramelized onions I've yet to taste, at El Sorportal, in the plaza in La Alberca. There were Salamantinos and Extremadurans and La Albercans who couldn't say enough, couldn't share enough of themselves and their lovely towns, and there was the old man in Mogarriz who refused to turn and face us, afraid the Rover would snap his picture. There was Avila, and wise words of Santa Teresa, and thick black honey from the sierra and lavendar, lavendar everywhere.
It was a week wandering this little corner of Spain.
The visit ended with fireworks, hours after my visitors had boarded a train for Madrid. Salamanca celebrates her patron saint today, San Juan de Sahugun, and so I ended a stellar little vacation with my usual front row view of fireworks over the Roman Bridge last night.
Reason #992 for living in Spain? Sharing her with visitors.
And now, a long overdue mea culpa: Yes, I have been gone far, far too long. Spread too thin, I have been, and wandering-woman has paid a high price. I still have more clients than I meant to attract, my annual bureaucratic journey to be completed before my residency expires at the end of June, and looming tax deadlines in two countries (reason #1 NOT to live abroad....double tax filing....)
But if you've not yet wandered so far I can't coax you back with photos of the stork guards of Cáceres and tales of beautiful and wise campesinos, stick around, I've still got a few stories to tell....