Landing : Athabascau University

A Trip Back in Time . . . Recuerdos de Jaca

So far, Lori and I have visited Lancaster, London, Zaragoza, and Jaca. We will be on our way to Madrid on March 31st.

Marguerite & Lori at the Three Mariner's Pub, LancasterWe have been posting pictures of us having beer at various pubs, but the honest-to-goodness truth is that we are actually very well-behaved. Normally, we have ½ pint or one glass of wine with a meal and return to sight-seeing or whatever else we had planned to do.

I’m writing from a nice little bar in the Spanish Pyrenees. It’s Sunday and there are two small families here and a few other individuals coming and going. The people of the “alta-montaña” are less friendly than the people in Zaragoza, but it is still a wonderful place to visit. I love to walk on the narrow, cobble streets amidst the stone buildings. The cathedral is the oldest in Spain, dating back a thousand years. (I have noticed, however, that wherever we go, the locals tell us they have the oldest something-or-other in their country.) There are churches in Spain that are older, but this is supposed to be the oldest cathedral. This cathedral is of late-Roman architecture. It is unusual, apparently, because of its size. Roman-style cathedrals were not usually so large.

Marguerite walking down a street in Jaca, SpainSince I lived here 18 years ago, the town has changed greatly. There are so many new condominiums. Many of my favourite bars are long gone. But, the oldest part of town is still the same. And, the population has not changed much (approximately 12, 000 people). Apparently, many of the new houses and condominium complexes are investment properties. The owners stay, perhaps, one month out of the year. Lori noticed in one of the newspapers in England that they were considering banning the ownership of 2nd homes because the practice destroys the local economy; the prices of home ownership goes up, and the owners do not really contribute substantially to the economy. The law was subsequently struck down.

I was so happy to see some of my friends here. Carmen, is the proprietor of the B & B where we are staying. Her house has a large new addition, but has retained its warmth and charm. Two of her children are helping her run the “Hotel Chalet Puigdefabregas.” It’s a gorgeous little place. Carmen, Cayo, and Liliana are so friendly. We enjoyed the quiet as well as the cozy duvets in our rooms. 

The English Centre, JacaCarmen called Noreen for me and we had a nice visit later in the evening. Noreen was the owner of the English Centre in Jaca where I spent the better part of a year teaching English. We had such a great time that year. I was only 22 or 23 years old and had never traveled by myself before. It was tough at first. But, by the time my contract had ended, I LOVED Spain—the food, the music, the café con leche, the wine, the language . . . I learned a lot from Noreen about teaching and surviving abroad. It is good to see that she and her family are doing well.

I am hoping to see a couple more friends here before I leave: Miguel and Roberto. Miguel’s family owns a bodega here and supplies wine and beer to the local establishments.

 Miguel's bodega in Jaca, Spain

Roberto is a former lieutenant in the military here; he used to take me hiking in some of the most beautiful remote places in the Pyrenees. With him, I went sneaker-skiing on a mountain slope on the Spanish-French Border (one foot in Spain and one foot in France), I saw dolmens and menires (ancient stone structures), gently meandering rivers in snow-covered valleys.

Now, if I can talk my husband into doing the Camino de Santiago . . .


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