Thursday, October 27, 2011

All Roads Lead to . . . . Santiago. The Santiago Connection.

Santiago Cathedral, photo by my husband

     I am visiting my nephew and his family in France. Their home is just on the edge of the small village of Moisin, about 20 minutes away from Geneva. I'm able to make this visit because I had mileage with United—miles I had to use before October 31st or lose
The Alps from the French side (my photo)

As it turns out, a small chapel at the top of a hill in the village of Moisin is one of the pilgrim stops for pilgrims walking to Santiago de Compostela. A road edging the village has the familiar clam shell icon that signifies St. James and the pilgrim's road. I must say, having looked at similar sign posts on roads in Galicia less than a month ago, I was quite moved by this connection.
The road (el camino) runs right through the village of Moisin, where my nephew lives. 
     I was also pleased to find out earlier this year that Martin Sheen (one of my favorite actors) has a personal link to Galicia. His father came from Galicia, near Santiago. Sheen's real name is Ramon Estevez, and he's made a movie with his director son, Emilio Estevez, called The Way. It's a fictional tale that takes place on a pilgrimage (often called El Camino de Santiago, or The Way of St. James). I am so looking forward to seeing this movie. 

     I'm not sure exactly where the French pilgrimage begins, just as I'm not quite sure where the pilgrimage in Portugal starts. Obviously there are more roads, and I'll be interested to find out how many more countries have a pilgrimage walk to Santiago. Meanwhile, tomorrow I plant to wander up the hill to the chapel where pilgrims walking this leg of the journey stop. And, who knows, one day I might actually go on the walk myself, or at least a portion of it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rachael's Third Challenge

Rachael's third challenge for the campaign has come round, and once again it's quite a challenge. Here are the rules:
             Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:
  • that it’s morning, 
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.
Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: "synbatec," "wastopaneer," and "tacise."   (NB. these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them).

So here goes: It's a flash fiction, exactly 300 words, using all 5 senses, all 3 made-up words, showing instead of telling. Whew!

Cry of the Synbatec  

Opal finger-combs her straggly gray hair, wriggling her toes in the sand. She stares at the rose and golden clouds, trying to imagine faces in them the way she did as a girl. No luck. She turns her head and watches Ralph wading in the dawn-flecked waves. A scene meant to recapture earlier days, along with last night’s bonfire and roasted hotdogs, along with sleeping under the star-powdered sky. 
“Opal!” Ralph waves a flabby arm. Opal sighs and looks farther up the shore, where a young couple in tank suits and flippers stride toward the waves. The salt in the air has a sulfurous undertone, probably from seaweed strewn along the sand, although it seems behind her as well. Behind her, too, a shrill cry cuts through the rumbling surf and lapping waves. 
Damn seagulls. Last night they kept pacing around their hot-dog roast, and Ralph would throw pieces of bun! 
Frankly, Opal would like to go home and shower off all the sand. She swallows, thinking of buckwheat pancakes drenched with sweet, viscous honey, topped with foamy Cool Whip. Then she’d stretch out on the sofa and watch re-runs of Tacise. Morning after morning, criminals prove no match for Tacise. No thief is wily enough. No drug lord’s hideaway secure. The actor who plays Tacise is a Republican, too. Opal nods to herself. She has read his biography on Wikipedia.
“Opal!” Ralph calls, louder this time, hands cupped around his mouth. His face crinkles with worry. A breeze swallows his next word. It sounds like wastopaneer! Or maybe, what’s it near? But that makes no sense.
“Watch out! It’s nearer!” he almost screams. 
The shrill cry behind her comes again. Opal turns in time to see the Synbatec’s wings billow wide before enfolding her.

If you like this, it's #35 on the linky list.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Belated Award Passes

We are back from Galica -- got in late, late Saturday night -- and now I'm playing "catch up". Just after arrival in Galicia I received two nice awards from Michele Helene at A Wanderer in Paris . My apologies for dragging my heels on passing them on, but I didn't spend a lot of time on the Internet this trip.

Here are the awards:

The 1st Award (Liebster Blog) is for someone who has less than 200 followers. This award has five rules:

1. Show your appreciation to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them. That's Michele Helene (see link above). 
2. Reveal five picks more pics, let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. (Done; see below.)
3. Post the award on your blog. (Done; see above.)
4. Bask in the camaraderie of the most supportive people on the internet. (So true. Bloggers ARE supportive.)

5. Have bloggity fun and spread the love. (Siempre!)

The Second Blog Award (One Lovely Blog Award) has only two rules.
1. Thank and link to the person who nominates you: Michelle Helene, merci and gracias! (See link above.)
2. Pass this Award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it! (Done. See below.)  

The Liebster Blog Award goes to:

1.  J. A. Bennett at A Book, A Girl, A Journey 
2.  Jess at Write. Skate. Dream
3.  Gail Shepherd at Paradoxy
4.  M. G. Higgins at M. G. Higgins
5.  Máire Rua at Máire Rua Writes

The One Lovely Blog Award goes to these recently discovered sites:
1.  First and foremost is Rachael Harrie's blog, Rach Writes, a super blog designed to help other bloggers discover each other. It's through her blog I've discovered so many of the sites below.
3.   Ali Cross
4.   Eve.E at Clueless Eve
10. Kelley at Between the Bookends
11.  Lauren Boyd at My Path to Publication
14.  Sheril Swift   
15. Jennifer Burke at Jen's Bookshelf

And there you have it. These are all good sites to visit, do go and enjoy the reads and information these bloggers share.

Meanwhile, I am eagerly looking forward to Rachael's third challenge which is supposed to be posted sometime today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

From Imagos to Vendimias and Burras

The Campaign and a cold have bumped my blogging a little on this trip. (So many entries, so little time to read them!) It’s been quite a pleasure clicking around, seeing the various takes on Rachael’s challenge. The stories and poems have been truly impressive. (I will never look at any of those challenge words the same way again!) And one good thing about a cold is that it gives you permission to loll around and read books loaned by friends. 
Meanwhile, life moves on in Galicia. Our neighbors finished their vendimia (grape harvest) Saturday. It was a two day process, as the grapes have been plentiful this year. Friends and relatives pitch in with one person's harvest, and then it's reciprocal. After Saturday's vendimia, quite a few gathered at the bench at day’s end, pleased to be done with the picking. I could understand some of what they said, but we are learning Castiliano. When our neighbors get together, they lapse into Gallego, a language similar to both Castiliano and Portuguese. I could pick up bits of vocabulary I knew: “grapes”, “yet”, “field”, “town”,  "tractor", etc. But it’s always a pleasure just to listen to the musical rise and fall of their voices, their good-hearted laughter; to watch their mobile expressions, their gesticulations. And they have a way of making you part of the gathering from time to time with a sweeping glance, an arm pat, or by throwing out a question they know you can answer.
This has been one of our warmest trips. (We come in spring and fall.) Evenings and mornings are temperate, when normally they would be quite cool during this season. Days are downright hot. We’ve had to use a floor fan for long periods. There was only one day when we had a bit of rain. And the flies and mosquitoes, alas, are plentiful. I have a fly swatter on a hook in every room, and at night we leave a small lamp on to keep the mosquitos away.
Earlier last week we went with friends to a beautiful coastal town called Baiona, a bay town on the Atlantic coast (farther south than Fisterra, where we went during our spring trip.) Baiona has an interesting “old town” with stone columns supporting walkways under 2nd stories, colorful tiled walls, a stone church full of carved saints, narrow cobbled streets at angles. Cafés overlook the sandy beach and tde wall across the road and the colorful fishing boats beyond. Several islands dot the pale blue waters. On the southern curve of the bay an old castle has been transformed into a parador with a hotel and restaurants. The main building, the part with hotel rooms, looks modern, but there is still the ancient tower and a crenelated wall surrounding gardens lush with red and orange lantana and angel trumpet bushes. It was an all day trip and we finished up with a late dinner at our friends’ house, getting home around 2:00 a.m.
Usually we rise around 6:30 or 7:00 (when it’s still dark then in these parts). But after late nights, we sleep later and are wakened by Miguel’s burra from one of his outbuildings across the lane, hee-hawing for her breakfast. When we first started coming here, Miguel kept his sheep in the building and we would wake to their pitiful bleating. This year he’s moved them to another outbuilding to make room for the donkey. She’s a beautiful creature; deep gray with a black mane, a thin black line down her spine, and a black stripe down each shoulder. And, I must say, a sweet expression on her long face.  
Meanwhile, we've been visiting friends and having friends over for Indian food, and a week and a half ago we took in the local fiesta in Toiriz:: I’ll write about that later, as well as another fiesta we are going to in Lugo this Sunday, since fiestas deserve their own posts.

I am sorry to say we haven't downloaded any pictures from this trip yet. The two pictures above are from previous trips, one of the burra, and one of an early stage of our neighbors' winemaking process a couple of years ago, after the grapes were all picked. Meanwhile, today they are all pruning the vines to get ready for next year. 

More to come, so stay tuned.  Hasta entonces, and ciao for now.