Has anyone seen Pedro Almodóvar’s film “Volver”? I always think of it when I walk alone in the narrow streets of O’s village in Spain… It is usually very windy and it is quite deserted – just an occasional old señora or señor who sometimes say hello to me, or rather they say “Hasta luego” which for me is a strange greeting (See you soon).
The village is situated in the region of Aragón, on 599 m above sea level and has almost 3,400 inhabitants. The village is surrounded by mountains, the so-called Sistema Ibérico with peaks such as the Moncayo (2,313 m). A river runs through the village and there is an old Roman bridge crossing it.
The view from the closest mountain on New Year’s Eve. I had a need for some peace and quiet and O took me to this view point – the air was so fresh and smelled of thyme!
My “sobrina” (niece[-in-law]), 3½-year-old M and I went for a walk in the village one day just after Christmas and we had lots of fun. We crossed the bridge, walked along the river…
and used the swings at the playground.
A fruit and vegetable plantation close to the river
We discussed how many and which colours the rings had on the “pabellón” (sports centre)… At every street corner we tried to remember to look to the right and left before crossing, but I don’t think that “Barnens Trafikklubb” has ever existed in Spain 😀
M thought that we should also have an “angelito” on the house, or why not a big inflatable Papá Noel? The “angelito” (small angel) is actually baby Jesus and is the banner of one of the religious associations in the village – I have to ask O to explain it better to me…
However, it was quite cold in the wind so we were very pleased when el tío (uncle) O proposed a fika afterwards in the local pastelería (café).
The same day we went out for a second walk when the Swedish tía P didn’t want little M to ride in the car, without a car seat, even if it was only to the next village…
It was already dark but I wanted to explore more of the village so we walked aimlessly towards the church through the winding streets and alleys, past one of the four (?) supermarkets, a greengrocer’s, a bread shop (that only sells bread, which is baked in another village – there are of course also several real bakeries in the village), one of the three fish shops, a butcher’s, some derelict houses, a few collapsed buildings and a couple of bars that looked abandoned… It is incredible how many shops and businesses there are in a village the size of my birth village Veberöd in Skåne!
If you want to practise a foreign language, my tip is to spend time with an inquisitive 3-year-old! Many questions about porqué (why) and what is that?
The closer to the church we got, the more deserted the village seemed and the houses older and in a worse state. The wind increased, a window shutter was squeaking and my young companion started talking about las brujas (witches)… Just when we reached the church, the bells started ringing and the church door slowly swung open but we didn’t see anybody. Then an old woman in black appeared and mumbled something I didn’t catch. A little jumpy we turned down a dark narrow alley and started counting together the steps leading down to the centre of the village again.
Hm, did I let a 3-year-old play with my imagination or have I watched too many spooky Spanish films (thanks Saltis for The Orphanage, ha ha)?
And speaking of our stay in O’s village, I have completely forgotten to tell you that I was interviewed on the radio in Spain! Well, not the Spanish radio, but Radio Sol y Mar, which is a Swedish radio station in Málaga. My blog friend Anna, who used to have a great blog about the life in Spain as a Swedish expat, interviewed me by phone just after Christmas and we talked about my impressions of celebrating the holidays in Spain for the first time. Unfortunately the programme is not available on-line anymore.