Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Dolmen of Abuime, in Galicia, Spain

Five big rocks that may surprise you.
Here it stands, a collection of four immense standing stones (the fifth one fallen to the side), tucked back in the far end of a field nearly hidden by trees, easily missed, if you didn't know about it. We knew about it because good friends in Galicia, Craig and Melanie, told us about it.

Craig, Melanie, and their
loveable dog, Slawit
A brief introduction here: Craig and Melanie are our friends in Galicia who sold us our house in Trasulfe.


They are from England, but they have lived in Galicia for about ten years, and Craig has written a book about their adventures. He also has a blog, and he wrote nice a post about the dolmen HERE  . Enjoyment of wine in Spain is contagious, and he has started growing his own vines and making his own wine (which is pretty good; we get to sample it whenever we go to Galicia. ) In addition, they have restored another home, and this one they rent out. (You can learn more about it at his blog site.)

So, back to the dolmen. And what is a dolmen? you might ask. Wikipedia gives a pretty good explanation of dolmens and where they can be found, HERE .  Basically a dolmen is considered a megalithic tomb. Usually it has a flat capstone on top of the standing stones. Rajan and I wonder if the stone in the picture above that is off to the right is the original capstone for this dolmen. Originally dolmens were covered up with earth mounds, and 5,000 to 6,000 years of erosion have uncovered them.
Even with enlarged photo, it's hard to tell. After all, the
trees are pretty tall, and it's hard to tell here just how tall.

Even with Craig and Melanie's good directions and the picture on Craig's blog post, we had to look for it. Despite signs, from a distance, it's hard to appreciate the size.

This should give you a better idea:
How on earth did they prop these stones up?

Anyone who know me knows I have a thing about old buildings. I love to touch old man-made structures, whether 12th century walls or Roman era bridges, whether in England or Spain. But our British friends all find this somewhat amusing. After all, they remind me, they grew up surrounded by historic buildings and Roman bridges. It's no big deal to them. But I always have to touch these old edifices that, I feel, still bear the mystical aura of humans touching them long ago.

So, you can imagine how enthralled I was to touch something that humans touched maybe 5,000 or 6,000 years ago!
Yup! Pretttty impressed. And pretty happy, too.
On another note, this week I had two pieces of pleasant news:
 1. A blog friend, Julian Hones, gave me the "Inspiring Blog" award on her great site, My Writing Life . Julia is an editor of a magazine and writes poetry and short fiction. The award carries some "pass it on and give information" duties that will have to wait for another post, but I was certainly pleased to get it. Thank you, Julia.

2. I made this announcement on Facebook, but for those of my blog friends who are not on FB, my Flash Fiction, "Persephone," is in the current issue of Fiction Attic Press and will also be in the Flash in the Attic anthology. You can read it HERE:  If you have time to read it, I'd love your feedback.

Meanwhile, how do you feel about old buildings? Do have that irresistible urge to touch them and imagine who touched them so many years ago?


39 comments:

Jon said...

Congratulations on receiving the "Inspiring Blog" award. Reading your blog is always inspiring and a learning experience.

I've never heard of dolmens before - - those stones are huge! At first glance they didn't seem so massive. I have a passion for old things and, much like you, I always want to touch them. It gives me a satisfying feeling of reaching back into history.

I haven't yet read "Persephone" but I will look forward to it.

L.G. Smith said...

Had no idea about dolmen. And I feel very much the same way about old stone buildings. All that history!

Cathy said...

Elizabeth, the Flash in the Attic was total perfection. Loved it! Beautiful writing, and so insightful.

Interestingly, the book I am currently plotting has a similar theme, only the daughter can't leave her father, rather than her mother.

She doesn't mess up her life by returning over and over. She gets things figured out in the course of a 70,000 word manuscript, and avoids a lifetime of that.

Richard Hughes said...

I've heard of dolmens but have never seen them.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Jon, I'm glad you find my blog inspiring. I love talking about these varied things. Your comment about "reaching back into history" is exactly the feeling that comes over me when I get a chance to feel the textures of these old edifices.

L. G., "All that history," indeed. It's so diffeent from the dry, dusty dates in textbooks, isnt it!

Cathy, I'm so glad you liked the story. It's a universal theme, I suppose. 70,000 words sounds like a novel, so I'm looking forward to reading your novel one day.

Richard, I had never heard of dolmens until our friends clued us in. What's interesting is that they are all over the world, which suggests some developmental stage in human evolution, where people in remote places were building the same structures: Korea, Spain, Portugal, Indai . . . I doubt that, 5,000 years ago people were sailing from Korea to Portugal, so how to account for it? Which is why this kind of history moves me more than battle dates in a history text.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

You are so right - how amazing it must have felt to touch those stones knowing that people over 5,000 years ago touched them as well. So so amazing.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Keith, thanks for stopping by. Yes, pretty amazing, all right. It's hard to imagine how they got such big stones upright, too, and then managed to cover them up, so that they were huge "mounds".

Victoria Lindstrom said...

Congratulations on your well-deserved award, Elizabeth! I, too, love old buildings - old anything. We recently visited Stonehenge, but touching was strictly prohibited and the megalithic monument is fenced off.

Rosi said...

I love the pictures of the dolmens. I'm happy you could touch them. It is something of a thrill, isn't it? I absolutely LOVE your Persephone story. So glad it is out there where people can read it. Congratulations.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Victoria, yes, I saw Stonehenge once, but it was all roped off. As during your visit, touching was prohibited. I couldn't even get close to the stones. It was still impressive, though. How it was planned and built I'll aways wonder. Those standing stones made the dolmen stones look puny! :-)

Hi Rosi, Thanks for stopping by. I'm so glad you liked Persephone. You gave me some good feedback once, and the story benefited.

Tanya Lynne Reimer said...

Touch, smell, just stand in awe! Yes. You can get so much, and see so much... I recently saw a Model T from 1909 that hadn't been restored! Oh my gosh, the stories were giggling off it.
Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures.

Julia Hones said...

Congratulations on the award and I will come back later this week or on the weekend to read your flash fiction story. Congratulations on the published story.
I find old buildings interesting but I love old houses even more. They seem to hide secrets and they spark my imagination...
Thank you for such an interesting post.

Sandra Cox said...

Fascinating, I'd never heard of dolmens before. Thanks for sharing.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Julia, I love old buildings too. You are right about their seeming to hide old secrets. New houses don't have that atmosphere. I think it's because the older houses have nooks and crannies.

Hi, Sandra, thanks for stopping by. I hadn't heard of them either, but now I'm so intrigued by them, I like to learn much more about them. (Oh the many things I would like to learn!)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Tanya, I just read your post about the old 1909 Model T. Like the houses Julia talks about, these old card do suggest stories, don't they! I'm halfway through a book that features an old Model T, a 1919 model, though.

Denise Covey said...

I adore old buildings, Elizabeth, one of the joys of travelling for me. Thanks for the post on Galacia. The home-produced wine sounds great.

When I have a little more time from this round of blog commenting, I will come back and check out the links you provided.

Denise

Denise Covey said...

Oh, and congrats on the award!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Denise, "the joys of travel." That sums it up, and these old buildings capture the histories of the places you go, better than any book, in my opinion. What's odd is that when I was younger I never wanted to travel. We moved a lot in my early years. Of course, we all know "moving" is not the same thing as "traveling". :-) Now I can't get enough of it.

Crystal Collier said...

Oh! Very cool pictures. I love old buildings and can't help but be inspired by the history behind them. They set my brain on fire.

Geo. said...

In answer to your question, I am astonished by old buildings --mounds, menhirs, leys and old paths up escarpments. Delighted with your photos and sure like how you write. Following (from the Sacramento Valley).

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi Crystal, glad you liked the pictures. My husband took those, He is into black and white photography and has a website, but his photos often start out as color photos that he plays around with. I suspect a picture of this dolmen may end up in his gallery. You can see some of his work here: http://varadanartfoto.com/home.html

Hey, Geo. Thanks for stopping by. Looks like we are almost neighbors. And thanks for the follow! I'm following your blog now.

S.P. Bowers said...

It's amazing how they got those rocks to stand up. I look at many of the ancient structures around and no one nowadays could recreate them, even with modern technology.

Honestly, I have an irresistible urge to touch rocks, anywhere, any time. I love Rocks.

Julia Hones said...

So many metaphors and life stories locked in this fruit... nice job, Elizabeth!
Thank you for sharing it.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Glad you liked the story, Julia! And thanks for the nice review of The Fourth Wish!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Elizabeth, I'm so glad you came by my blog and left a comment so I could find yours. I look forward to reading more about your traveling life! I feel exactly that way about old buildings. Sometimes it's almost like one can feel the spirits of those who went before.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

S. P. I agree: I don't think our modern equipment could lift one of the stones at Stonehenge. I think rocks have mystical qualities all their own: gemstones are supposed to have certain properties, and even in wine-making, rocky soils produce richer wines.

Hi, Karen, I'm glad you found my blog. Yes, when I touch old stone walls (or in the case of the dolmen, the rocks themselves, it feels like an aura has been left from the past.

Lynda R Young said...

Your travels are so great. (I'm so jealous, hehehe). I love visiting any standing stones, ancient sites, old buildings around the world.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Lynda, thanks for stopping by. Your comment got me wondering: Are there any standing stones in Australia? They seem to be so universal -- athough we don't have them here in the U.S. to my knowledge. We do have mounds though. (Maybe under the mounds there are dolmens that we don't know about.)

Margo Berendsen said...

I know exactly what you mean about touching history. Since we aren't allowed (for good reason) to touch things in museums, whenever I can put my hands on an old, old building, I go for it!

Wendy said...

I would have been enthralled to touch something that humans touched maybe 5,000 or 6,000 years ago too!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Margo, I have that same desire in museums, too.

Wendy, it really was an enthralling experience.

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

While visiting my ancestors' homeland of Belgium, I enjoyed seeing and touching old buildings and gravestones.
Here in Hawaii, old stones have so much history, tradition, and mythology. I love visiting the heiau sites.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Gail, thanks for stopping by. Your comment prompted me to look up heiau. Interesting the part stone has played in historic places of worship.

Carol Riggs said...

Old buildings are fascinating! I'd love to check out an old castle in Scotland or Ireland someday. Thanks for the info on the dolmen! Covered up with earth mounds, interesting; they certainly are huge.

Congrats on receiving the Inspiring Blog award! and also congrats on your flash fiction in the anthology. Such GREAT news!

Sandra Cox said...

Happy Tuesday:)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Carol, how I would love to check out an old castle in Scotland or Ireland myself! I have a thing about Celtic lands, even though I know those castles came later. Still. The history in Scotland and Ireland has such an aura for me.

Happy Tuesday to you, too, Sandra. Although now, as I type this, it's Wednesday. :-)

Sandra Cox said...

Hi Elizabeth, I nominated you for a blog award on Thursday's post.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I envy you all your travels Elizabeth. Wish I can see all these places.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Rachna, travel came late to us, except for my husband immigrating to this country. When we were younger, we didn't go anywhere. My first big trip was to India, where Rajan is from, as you know. You live in one of the most fascinating places on the planet. Even now, when we go back to visit his family, I just love that first moment I step outsdie the airport.