Thursday, March 25, 2010

Arrival in Trasulfe, Galicia, Spain

Here it is Thursday, and we arrived in Trasulfe last Saturday. That’s what happens with time in Spain. We have a small house in Galicia, in a village called Trasulfe, and much of that time has been spent opening the house, cleaning, shopping for groceries, meeting up with our neighbors, and contacting other friends in the area. Some of our time has been spent reading. But a good part of the time would really be hard to account for: In Spain, time has a way of slipping away, and time spent in Galicia is no exception. Already we have drifted into late lunches: tapas or raciones (a slightly larger portion than tapas). Already we find ourselves eating supper at 9:00 p.m.

Galicia is the northwestern corner of Spain. It’s the bump above Portugal. The local language, Gallego, is similar to Portugese, though it is considered a “sister language”, rather than a dialect. Castilian is a second language for Gallegans, although—unlike us—they speak it quite fluently.

Due to its location and topography (two coast lines and endless hills and dales) wind-borne rains keep Galicia lush and green. In winter some parts even get snow. Summers are hot, but spring and fall have alternating rain and sunshine on and off during the day. For that reason, Galicia is sometimes called “Green Spain”. Sometimes it’s called “Ireland with sunshine”. It’s completely unlike the tourist Spain one reads about, but utterly lovely. The region has a Celtic history, to the point that there are cultural exchanges with Ireland. (Some regional musicians are famous for their mastery of the bagpipe.)

We arrived following a particularly wet, harsh winter. And then, after howling winds that first day of arrival, we had warm, sunny afternoons, sprinkled with rain. Then for the past two nights we’ve had howling, whistling winds that sound quite eerie, and we had to close the persianas (a particular kind of window blind that shuts out weather) and content ourselves with happily snuggling up indoors. But then the following mornings are so beautiful: wisps of fog rising from the valleys; mottled clouds or rolling thunderheads or smears of pearly white clouds in the lapis skies; and the shadow-and-light dappled fields and the webs of tree branches that haven’t filled in yet with leaves. It’s a painterly landscape and one that never gets old, as the light is continually shifting.

More tomorrow. Or the next day. That’s how the time is here: More whenever. For now, "hasta luego". Or, as they say in the region, "Ta luego."

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