Posted by: travelrat | August 13, 2007

Barco de Avila

Barco de Avila19th April 2007, Barco de Avila.

On one evening at Gredos, we had a demonstration of the Queimada. All I can say about this is it involves darkness, a drink called aguardiente, flames, coffee beans and what sounds like a recitation of the Spanish version of ‘The Scottish Play. In actual fact, only some of it was in Spanish; the rest was in English and a little-used language called gallego; the end result tastes somewhere between turpentine and aviation fuel.

One another night, the lovely Verena and her friend Melissa treated us to a demonstration of flamenco dancing. But, of course, Vaughantown isn’t all about sightseeing and entertainment. We were there to work … but there’s no reason the two can’t be combined.

On the way to the Gredos Gate Hotel on the first day, we passed through the village of Barco de Avila, notable mainly for the vicious hairpin bend the coach had to negotiate, amid encouraging cries of ‘You have a good two inches this side!’ It’s a strange name, and it was explained that ‘barco’ is Spanish for a boat. So, I wonder if it was so named because of an old-time ferry over the River Tormes … like Boat of Garten, in Scotland. Of course, if the ferry ever existed, it’s long gone now, and there is a bridge.

The village was just a little too far to walk to in the fifty minutes we were allowed for a ‘one to one’ … unless we walked at ‘Rifle Brigade pace’, at which rate conversation is well-nigh impossible.

But, one day, we walked in a body down to the village … instead of a ‘one to one’, we had a ‘many to many’. I’d taken some video, and forgot to turn the camcorder off before I put it in my bag. The conversation was good; I’d like to make a sound file of it, as there are examples of English, American, West Indian and Irish … and, of course, Spanish accents. If only there was some way to separate the sound-track from the video!

Actually, Barco de Avila looked pretty ordinary, and was just about deserted when we arrived. But, the large Plaza Mayor, or main square, suggested that it might be anything but quiet on market day! The shop fronts, shady arcades and balconies did give a Spanish air to the place. On the outskirts is a castle. We didn’t go in; we just walked around … and it seemed a stork was nesting on the top of just about every turret.

In the corner of the Plaza Mayor was a friendly, companionable café and bar. We did go in there!


  1. keith what a lovely read that was!! It sound like a fun adventure and it would be cool to see and hear your travel!!! Wonderful Wonderful

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