Posted by: travelrat | June 2, 2008

Torrejon – Monfragüe and St. George

Monfragüe 23rd April 2008.

I’ve already mentioned the path we liked to walk along on our ‘one-to-ones’. It has a name, the Ruta a Torrejon y Monfragüe and it’s waymarked with wooden posts bearing coloured rings and the letters ‘PR’. In France, this means petite randonnee, or a short-distance, local recreational path,  I assume it means approximately the same thing in Spanish?

There’s a sign by the side of the path just before it descends into a valley, and this is about as far as you can comfortably walk in the time allowed on a ‘one to one’.

This morning, at breakfast, Carmen, the programme director, told me that the Spaniard with whom I was going to have my first session that day had to go home, and I was free for that hour. And, this was followed by an hour’s scheduled free time. So, I had two hours to check out the river and bridge that rumour had it lay down in the valley.

I lost no more time; I hurriedly finished my breakfast, threw a camera and camcorder into my bag and set off.

The path zig-zags down the steep-sided valley, and it’s so well pitched, I believe it might once have been the road northward from Torrejon before the motor road was built., There’s an information board by the side of the path, from which I hoped would give me the name of the river; my maps aren’t of a large enough scale. It didn’t, though. All the board told me was that the river was a tributary of the Tagus, It did, though, label the bridge as ‘Vieje Puente’ … which I believe is Spanish for ‘old bridge’.

It’s a quiet, tranquil place. I took my pictures and video, and wished I could stay longer. But, I had an 11 am session with Alicia. I had to get back.

On my return, I saw a flag with St. George’s cross on it, hanging from the window of one of the Anglos. I was wearing my St. George’s cross wristband … you can see it on my avatar … for today was his day. It’s the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, too, as well as being reputed to be his birthday, It’s also the anniversary of the death of the Spanish author Cervantes,

Although St. George is the patron saint of England, there are only a few places where his day is celebrated. I’m lucky enough to live near Salisbury, which is one of the handful of places where it still is. But, they do celebrate the saint’s day in some parts of Spain.

It works rather like our Valentine’s Day but, instead of exchanging cards, a man would give the object of his affections a rose, and she’d give him a book. So, if a Spanish guy has a lot of books, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s well-read. It could just mean he has a lot of girl friends!

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