Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mom's Visit, Part 1: Extremadura

(First photo in Spain: Mom, Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and I)

     A few weeks ago, my wonderful mom visited me in Spain! We had an incredible time. A couple of hours after she arrived, we were in a car driving to Extremadura (the region west of Madrid). Cecilia, the music teacher at my school, had invited us to visit her childhood home in Aldeanueva de la Vera with her family for the weekend. So after a quick two and a half hour drive, we were in a different world.

(View of Aldeanueva de la Vera)

     The surroundings were beautiful, and the atmosphere was a welcoming contrast to Madrid. And the home, oh, the home. It is a museum of old Spain. The house has tens of thousands of books, dozens of instruments, a working gramophone, spread out over four stories...I would've liked nothing more than to spend a month there.

(Some Books) 



     There were several villages very near to ours, some more secluded—such as Guijo de Santa Bárbara, which stands at the top of a long, winding road with the Gredos Mountains directly behind.

(Countryside of Guijo de Santa Bárbara)

     And there was Yuste, the place where Charles V retired to in 1556 after his reign as the king of Spain.

(Monastery of Yuste)

     A bit farther along, amid fields of blossoming cherry trees, is the town of Garganta la Olla. There, we crossed a bridge and hiked up a flowering hillside for a spectacular view of the village below. 

(River of Garganta la Olla)

(Flowers of Garganta la Olla)

(View of Garganta la Olla)

(Cactus of Garganta la Olla)

     We spent two nights and three days in Extremadura, and every minute was phenomenal. We saw things I didn't think happened anymore, like a man leading his horse through the cobble streets, a wedding procession making its way through the village, a man following his belling cows down the mountain road. We saw the stars, all of them, from the rooftop one night, and the next morning walked up the road right onto a country path that just kept on winding through the olive tree hills. 

(Landscape of Aldeanueva de la Vera, its river flowing below)

     I was so glad that my mom could experience it with me. Back in Madrid for a week, Katie and I showed her all of our favorite places and things to do. Stay tuned for part two of Mom's adventures in Spain!