Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mama Maria's Bday

So, today we all slept in until like 1 oclock and after we went to Mamá Lola's house for lunch. (It's the big meal of the day here and in a village like this, everything closes and everyone goes home to eat with the family.) Today is my mother-in-law's bday. We went yesterday and bought two cakes to celebrate. We surprised her with the cakes and candles after lunch. It was nice for her, I hope. Of course, with two cakes, we'll be eating cake for the rest of the week, but hey, it's summer vacay, right??

So, I thought I would tell everyone a bit about the village. It is in the middle of a semi-mountainous region and everyone here is a farmer. The village itself is surrounded by lemon and orange trees and the olive groves are pretty plentiful around here. They also grow almonds, apricots, plums, dates, etc. You name it, Papá Juan probably grows it. He also has this old barn attached to the garage where he makes wine. Yep, he takes it pretty seriously, too. They are constantly arguing (well, probably just discussing, but since they all yell at each other all the time...) about whether it is full moon or new moon or waxing or waning. WHAT on earth does the moon's status have to do with making wine???? Well, it seems that you can bottle the wine only at certain times of the month. But on Fridays during a waxing moon it's really a waning moon or some silly tradition like that and they can bottle the wine. It is so confusing and they are consistently talking about the wine and when they can bottle it. Papá Juan pulls out a bottle every day for lunch. It's pure alcohol! We are talking homemade moonshine! Ha, I guess I get the connection to that word now. :)

Oh, and what's even funnier, I am not allowed anywhere near the barn. Nope, it seems if a woman of childbearing age happens to have her monthly visit and goes near the wine, the whole batch will go bad. I don't know if this is really true or not, but they are pretty serious about this as well. To be honest, I don't really want to go in the barn. It's kind of scary looking. It looks like it is 300 years old. It's attached to the back side of the village's palace. Yep, there is a palace here. It's from the 17th century, last added to in the 19th century. It is privately owned, and as you can see from some of the pictures below, it is in pretty bad shape. One side of the palace was sold off and is now Mamá Lola's house. Next to the main entrance of the palace, the village has their church. They just re-did the plaza (that's the town square) and are hoping to earn money to invest in restoring the palace. Mamá Lola has told me so many stories about the old days. I guess her father and grandfather were friends with the last Marqués who lived there. She says he was a nice guy.

Guillermo and I had our wedding photos from Spain taken on the steps of the palace. Plus all of our group family shots are taken at the entrance of the palace with the arch. In the aerial picture you can see the plaza in front of the palace and that there is a type of entrance/courtyard. At the top of the photo there is a street that passes and there is a red car parked. Mamá Lola and Papá Juan own the two houses at the end of this street facing each other. One house is their home where they sleep (the one attached to the palace), and the one on the other side of the street is where she had her store. Now that she is retired, they rennovated the store back into a house and they cook, eat and spend their days in that house. Looking at the aerial picture, the street that passes by the palace where there are several cars parked, there is a yellow car. The house directly across the street from the yellow car is the house that Mamá Lola grew up in. Her brothers and sisters own that house now. They have divided it up into several smaller homes.

Okay, well we are off to visit Papá Guillermo at his fancy hotel. We have our big game tonight! Spain-Portugal. I'll write about that tomorrow.
Stay tuned...

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