This past weekend I was invited by Spanish friend, Nuria, to visit her grandparents village in Castilla de la Mancha, Don Quiote's birthplace. The picturesque little village has a population of 500 and is known for its almond orchards and olive oil. I felt as if I had stepped back in time 80 years. These people had preserved a way of life that not many have a chance to see much less experience and I felt honored and thrilled to have been part of it, even if only for a weekend.
My tour through town revealed the Roman aqueducts that snaked all through the small village and were still in use. Everywhere we walked you could hear the gurgling water.
The town center was the Plaza de Torros where they have the bull fights. It was less a plaza and more a flooded grassy field where we found a donkey tied up and grazing.
Following that trend the swimming pool was more a pond than anything. There was a smooth tree that spanned the length of the pond. In the summer they spread soap over it and make it slippery and have contests to try and get all the way across. The few that do receive a jar of jam for their accomplishments.
My favorite part of town though had to be the 'Mirador'. We walked up these stairs to the towns vantage point. There, stretched in front of me was one of the most fantastic, incredible, expansive views. Pictures don't do it justice, but I really tried guys.
Later that day the celebration started which meant good food and a lot of drinking.
So after eating so much I thought I would burst I sat back and happily watched her family argue, yell over each other, laugh, and tell stories. No one got up from the table until 6:30pm. I realized this weekend even more how much the Spanish value their family above all else. They think it's crazy that Americans would move away from home for a job. To them that is pretty unheard of. Or to go away to school for that matter.
There are more stories to come and for more pictures of this awesome weekend check out my flickr account!