Personal Blog: Writing and Wandering – Valladolid, Salamanca…

¦ dialling in from the Sky Bunker ¦

It’s been a good few days. Oakfield is coming along nicely.  Whilst  Broken Fury and  Sunder Gloom are trickling and providing great pleasure – picture your imagination living in two of your favourite kinds of movies, waxing at leisure as new scenes evolve and characters take shape. Creative bliss, rather than creative burden.

Have also been away.  Valladolid and Salamanca in north west of Spain.  A good blast following in the wake of Morocco.

I came chasing the food and that is what I got. Cuts of meat as big as I’ve ever seen, cooked to perfection, red and raw in the centre and layered with flavour.

Valladolid is something of a hidden gem, I feel.

Somebody said, “Why have you come to Valladolid? People don’t come here normally, not tourists.” – I smile and reply something about friends and the Fellowship (a bunch of us who get to meet up every now and then in foreign locations).

Valladolid: only 1 hour away (by fast train) from the centre of Madrid. The architecture entrances your eyes.   A particular fusion of European moderna and historic culture. Campo Grande, a small but magical park near our hotel and just down from the quiet train station… peacocks strutting freely through the sun dappled paths, and a cute circle with brightly coloured chairs and a small cafe serving ice creams and coffee (usually).

Tapas, some of my favourites and in Valladolid they were magnificent- each place we ventured into specialising in one particular type. I wonder if such an experience could exist in the UK with every business hungrily pursuing diversification and choice…?  Each place was ram packed, as a steady flow of people wander in, shoulder past the crowds of folks standing around, no chairs, no option of comfort as such, just tall tables and counters… the hubbub of people talking. The garrulous calls of the staff at the counter. I order, my food appears on a small plate, or a slate, or a tablet of wood; a glass of vino tinto, red wine, and I find a space where the rest of the Fellowship are standing; all of us eating, drinking, smiling, eyes wandering across the glorious chaos of it all. And only 3 or 4 Euros for a quick tasty bite and a glass of wine.

Salamanca is more tourist orientated but I miss it. A bustling, noisy, chaotic version of Santiago…. Santiago forever holds a special place in my soul, but drifting around Salamanca, sun radiating off old stone walls into narrow alleys like oven heat… and sometimes finding a quiet spot. Grafitti and anarchistic street art stencils, a sense of hush and the grubby reality on the edges…. and just as quickly, a few dozen paces sees you walking back into the main flow, the throngs of tourists. Moving. Sitting. Everywhere is the tableau of people outside of their normal experience. I am one of them. Special memories of Salamanca are the Knights Templar Church; climbing the immense towers of La Clerecia to enjoy spectacular panoramic views across the Old City… a real sense of walking in the footsteps of people who lived and died for what they believed in. But one of the best memories has to be the 3 hours we spent camped out in sun trap corner of Plaza Mayor – supping wine and watching the world… and then grabbing the late train back to Valladolid, and as I had hoped, being able to watch the beautiful landscape bathed in deepening fire of sunset.

Photos and words to follow.

That’s it.

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