Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 14 - Allariz and Celanova

Remaining ruins
Galego word of the day: Gaita - a Galician Bagpipe instrument

On Saturday the group that I am studying with had a planned excursion to two different towns in the interior part of Spain. The first stop was Allariz where we saw a variety of old architecture including ruins from the pre-roman time period. It is interesting to me that the old structures and walls could have survived over hundreds and even thousands of years. Many of the buildings have been given new uses, such as the clothing store that had once been a synagogue hundreds of years ago. It is true that although there is evidence of the previous cultures that lived in the area, most of it has been either destroyed or has eroded into the ground.

Color on the balcony
This particular day in Allariz, there was some sort of celebration and we happened to see a small marching band go by in honor of this. I think they were a bit surprised that sixty or so foreigners were standing there ready with their cameras to take pictures of them, but they were quite professional and continued playing on as we snapped our shots.

One of the most interesting things I found in regards to the beauty of this town was the color. The houses and other buildings are all a dull sort of grey from the stones the stones they have been constructed from, but even without the paint, many of the buildings stood out because of the beautiful collection of flowers displayed around the patios and window sills. Even though in general I prefer houses of different colors, I thought this was a beautiful and natural way to make the colors stand out.

Gaita - Galician Bagpipes
Our second stop was Celanova. After lunch, where we were treated to a mini concert by our tour guide who played the Gaita, a sort of Galego bagpipes (Galician Bagpipes) and to a brief rendition of a traditional Galego dance performed by one of my Galego instructors, we headed out to the Casa dos Poetas. The Poets’ House is the former home of Galego poet Manuel Curros Enríquez and now houses a museum dedicated to this poet as well as others including Celso Emilio Ferreiro.

Rosa, one of my Galego instructors
Mozarabe church
After that visit we were given the opportunity to tour the San Salvador Monastery, also known as San Rosendo. The most fascinating part of this tour for me was the small mozarabe church in the courtyard of San Rosendo. Mozarabe is the name given to Christians who lived during the Muslim reign on the Peninsula. This particular structure has been here since the 10th century and was built as a place for the two women who lived on the grounds to pray as they were not permitted to enter the actual monastery.  

Our final destination on the journey home was a stop at the Torre of Villanova, a tower that allowed us to look out over the area. It was constructed sometime during the 12th or 13th century. It’s interesting to me to think about the age of some of the architecture in this country. There are buildings that are conserved here that existed before Europeans even knew that the American continents existed!

Torre de Villanova

Monestary - San Rosendo
Overlooking Allariz

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