Early yesterday morning, the mum of the family dropped me off at a local vineyard, surrounded by majestic mountains. She knew the owners and was therefore able to sort out a tour for me. The son of the family hobbled out to greet me, having suffered a third degree burn on his leg after a barbecue. (Later, he was to show me photos of his charred skin). He showed me the different varities of grape, including those which are used for eating, and pointed out the differences between each variety, as well as the effect which a hail storm had had on the grapes. They also kept a few cows and had some kind of workshop which I went in to meet the father of the family, but I am not sure if this was used for making products or simply mending farm machinery. ‘Don’t go into this kind of business,’ the father, who was missing lots of teeth, told me. ‘You won’t make any money.’ I asked the son of the family if they had experienced a lot of change as a result of global warming. ‘Do you think global warming really exists?’, he asked me, making me realise that I was unlikely to get the informed reply I wanted.
After walking around under the strong heat of the sun, we sat down to try some of the wine. It was delicious. My tour guide continued to counteract my complete ignorance on wine with very interesting information about the different flavours, temperatures and markets.
‘So,’ he said as we sipped on a refreshing rosé. ‘How is that your Spanish is so good?’
I explained that I’ve travelled a lot in Spanish speaking countries, spending a little over half a year in Barcelona.
‘So if I go to England for six months, I’ll come back speaking English like you do Spanish?’
‘In theory, yes’ was my reply. He told me he wasn’t convinced. Later, his dad drove by on his pick up truck.
‘Make sure she doesn’t get drunk!’ he called out jovially. ‘Remember, it’s just for trying!’
‘Hey dad,’ the young boy called back. ‘Apparently if I go to England for six months, I’ll come back speaking English like she does Spanish’
‘Oh yes, she speaks very well!’ he concurred. ‘She has no accent!’
Spanish people are so friendly, it is easy to talk to almost anyone and strike up friendships. The son of the family and I sat back on the terrace to drink the rest of the wine, discussing a great number of different topics, including Brexit, which seems to interest a lot of people here. They then kindly gave me a lift back into the main part of the town.
I arrived at the town’s church with typical ‘puntualidad británica’ for a 12 o’clock tour of its museum. The priest there has, over the years, collected various religious artefacts, taking those that people no longer want in their houses, for example, or which he has found in the church or surrounding area. For a few items, he has paid to have them restored, but explained that he left one part of an altarpiece untouched as it had burn marks from when people had tried to burn it in the Spanish Civil War, making it interesting for the history it testified. The door to the museum was made out of an old door which had been broken apart, but which the priest was able to piece back together. There were a lot of very impressive items in the museum and I admired the priest’s efforts to look after everything so well, investing time and money in the project.
I also visited a well conserved, typical Aragon house in the town. The mother, who knows the owners, took me there and showed me around. It was absolutely amazing. It was very large, with a beautiful old wooden staircase which swept up through the various floors of the house. On the ceiling could be seen an old, fading design and the coat of arms of the original noble family who had lived there. The house was such an incredible sight to see that sadly it is beyond my writing abilities to convey its impressiveness. It really asks to be seen for itself.
Yesterday evening, after a busy day touring the vineyard, visiting the church and swimming in the pool, I accompanied the mother to a dance class. Fortunately, this dance class was not like the hippy dance class I went to a week ago. It actually involved a good work out (the stretches and aerobic exercises we did at the beginning of the class were gruelling) and impressive moves. Having not been to any of the previous rehearsals, it was a little bit harder for me to do the dance routine, seeing as I was learning it for the first time while everyone knew it already. But I had a lot of fun regardless. Anyway, better go to buy a baguette and pick up the children from school!