Friday, August 23, 2019

My head is spinning

Toro is known as a center of Mudéjar art. It is an ancient town which was conquered by Hannibal in 220 BC but survived to trouble the Romans. After the Muslims had been pulled out, Alfonso III repopulated the town in 910.  It is also the village of my ancestors, the Trascasas, Marzo and Alonso families.  There are ten churches, three monasteries and two convents, population: 8,800.

With my café con leche this morning, I studied my map of Toro and with Mercedes’ help, I found the two streets where my ancestors lived.  Calle Doctor Olivares and Calle San Juan are both near two of the churches my grandmothers were baptized inside.  It was eerie to walk down both streets, not knowing the house number but I tried to imagine my feet crossing their paths.  Afterward, I wandered the streets until my feet yelled.  I found a table under umbrellas of Meson Zamora and ordered chorizos in wine.  In both Madrid and Barcelona I drank sangria because nobody had tinto de verano, my favorite drink of wine and lemon juice.  When I asked for sangria in Toro today, the waiter apologized and said they do not have sangria, but asked if tinto de verano would be ok?  Of course, I was delighted.  Delicious.

There is a house for sale with a gated garden area near the Arco del Postigo that I fell in love with when I first saw it during my visit in 2012 with my brother, Steven.  In 2017, it was still not sold. Mercedes told me her friend owned it and said I should buy it.  In 2018 when I saw them briefly in Madrid, she told me “your house is still for sale and  it is now 120,000 euros.  I laughed.  Today, it is still for sale and Mercedes told me her friend will sell it to me for 85,000 euros.  I laughed again,  as I will not buy a house in Spain despite loving this village and Spain in general.  However, on Monday, I am going to see the inside.

On my way back from my nostalgic walk to Mercedes and Jenaros house, I heard my name called, which was a shock in Toro.  Across the street was Jenaro and Dario, their grandson.  Jenaro waved me over and let Dario lead the way.  It’s a bar, I thought.  One room deeper and I saw an area where meats, cheeses and wine is sold.  But Dario kept walking until he led us to a narrow, stone stairwell.  Down, down and down some more.  The air turned cool, refreshing from the heat on the street.  Jenaro was grinning at me and beckoned me to follow.  We walked past alcoves with empty wine bottles, large antique looking bottles, a gigantic wine barrel and we weren’t finished.  I continued along the very narrow stone walkway in the underground area and found a press to make wine and the various water pipes etched into the walls.  Jenaro told me these antique wine making rooms are all over Toro.  I immediately thought of my friend, Mike Muñoz in Placerville, California and asked Jenaro to take my photo in front of the press.  He makes his own wine from his vineyard.
My visit to the village of Fuentesaúco was moved until tomorrow because Cintia, Mercedes’ daughter  is going to drive me and...she speaks English.  She has not heard about the subterranean wine bodegas, but she promised to look for us tomorrow.

My head is spinning some more for two reasons.
1) Jenaro makes wine. I named his bodega Puerta Roja because it has a red door.  He said he named his red wine Puerta Roja, but his white wine is his name in Latin, Ianuarius.  I joked that it looked like “January.” He and Mercedes looked at me blankly.  Yes, he said, like January.  Enero.  Well, I know January is enero in Spanish, but I still didn’t get it.  Mercedes looked at me and repeated the word enero.  “That is his name...Jenaro.”  What?  In Latin, January is Ianuarius. It is enero in Spanish.  His name is Latin:Jenaro.  I finally saw the light.

2) As a genealogical nut, I continue to look for more family connections.  Mercedes is Mercedes Trascasas, my Trascasas cousin.  My grandmother’s grandmother was Manuela Marzo. I have never been able to find a living Marzo.  Jenaro and Mercedes found one today, Pasqual Marzo.  There is no phone number, so the plan is we will soon knock on his door at Calle Santa Monica.

There is a fair in Toro this week.  Lights.  Music. Dancing. Crowds.  Great fun. 

Tomorrow at 10 am: Fuentesaúco awaits. . 

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