Sunday, August 25, 2019

Hoy tranquilidad = Today is tranquil

I believe half the village of Toro stayed up all night merrymaking...loudly...beneath my window on Calle Rey de Los Labradores.  At 6:30, I woke up but decided to forget the idea and burrowed into my pillow again. When the church bell rang, I lazily counted the gongs and lay stunned when I got to nine!  I jumped up and prepared for the day.  When I walked down from my attic room to the main floor, all was dark.  Hmmmm...four other adults and one child were still either asleep or they’d left me to sleep on my own.  When I realized it was the former, I tiptoed back upstairs again.  The door needs a key to lock, so I can’t go outside unless someone locks the door behind me.  I’d checked the back private patio, but the walls were very high and climbing didn’t appeal to me I waited quietly with a good book until 10:30.  Everyone must have been exhausted from yesterday’s family party after the road trip earlier in the day.  But, me?  I was ready to roll.

When I heard Mercedes, I zipped downstairs.  At 10:45, I left the house with a map of Toro after my café con leche and enjoyed my solo flight.  Knowing that Jenaro was going to speak Spanish for me when I knocked on a prospective cousin’s door at Calle Santa Monica, I decided to look for the street to sort of scope the area out for us.  I knew it was by the bus station, so I walked through the antique archway which was the city’s entrance, and wandered up and down the narrow streets.  I spied a woman walking her beautiful labrador and she studied my map.  And then she proceeded to lead me across two empty fields and around apartment buildings as she apologized for not speaking English while the dog followed us.  When she found it, she grinned and hugged me then and there.  I’ve met so many friendly strangers willing to help me limp through my language impediment here in Spain.  Did I knock on the door?  No.  Did I think about it?  Yes.  Did I decide to save the encounter for Jenaro?  Yes again.  But, Monday, not today.

Instead, I walked the many streets that fan outward in Toro from the Santa María la Mayor Church to the village toward the stone archways that serve as entrances to the town.  There was a Judería, a Jewish district, an older district and tree-lined avenues that all lead to the plaza mayor.  I decided to wander through all of them.  I saw cars parked a breath away from stone walls, cement areas that propose to be sidewalks and tired, worn out Spanish flags flapping in the breeze of balconies.  At 1:00, suddenly the town broke into song as all the church towers began ringing their bells.  I stopped, leaned against the stone wall on Calle Antigua and closed my eyes.  It was emotivo as my cousin Rafa would say. Emotional.

After taking sixty photos (yes, I am a fanatic) I wound my way back toward the plaza mayor.  When I looked up, I felt a connection with this older part of the village and then stood, stunned, as I realized I was at the corner of “my” house that I am planning to tour tomorrow.  All was well and I slid into a chair at the nearby café and ordered a café con leche with a glass of ice cubes...iced coffee.  Perfect.  A woman sang on the stage beside me with a guitar player who moved his body jauntily in time with their music.  The area was soon filled with listeners, even children who sat cross-legged on the cobblestones in front of the stage.  Her voice was soft, pleasant and very Spanish.

By the time I returned to Mercedes’ house, I was ready to relax again.  But she was working madly in the kitchen preparing the big meal of the day.  Jenaro was helping her and I was amazed once again at the amount of food they cooked for us.  This meal consisted of platters filled with tiny clams, large mussels in their shells and Jenaro’s specialty from his home town near Santiago del Compostela in northern Spain, squid cooked quickly (to perfection) with cooked potatoes (my favorite) drizzled with olive oil, pinches of sea salt, pepper and sprinkled with pimiento.  DELICIOUS.  And wine.  Always wine.

Afterward, we were off to the vineyard farmhouse again where Mercedes and I snoozed in chaise lounges by the pool.  When the clouds lit up with lightning and the thunder erupted around us, we barely got ourselves onto the covered patio before the deluge came down.  Real rain, a tormenta they call it here.  But, oh no, Mercedes had plans.
 Three cars drove into the long driveway. Two English couples, two children and Mercedes’ daughter, son in law and grandson joined us.  The table was immediately filled with chorizo, cheezes, empanadas, beer and wine and we chatted for two hours as the rain poured, the wind blew while my teeth chattered from the cold.  The couples were also professors like Jenaro and Mercedes, also retired.  It was a wonderful interlude.  But, alas, the hard rain washed out the concert in the plaza we’d hoped to attend 10:30.  The events are very late here!  Instead, I’m being smart and going to bed early.  Maybe I will be awake enough to better proof read my blog.  Wine and midnight aren’t conducive to good writing I’ve found.

Tomorrow: The juzgado (court) to research my Marzo family, knock on that door of Pasqual Marzo that I was too nervous to do on my own today and see the inside of “my” Spanish dream house.

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