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Observations on a New Life in Spain

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A weekend in Viladrau (Montseny)

22 October, 2008 (09:03) | Living in Europe | By: admin

I am writing from the mountainside village of Viladrau, a 45 minute drive from Barcelona. Mark, Haka and I have been invited here for the weekend. Our friends Sara and Ricardo have a countryside compound. It belongs to Sara’s family. We are staying in the apartment of her brother, who never comes here. He is very absorbed in his life in Barcelona. We meet Sara’s mother, Conchita, who is 83 years old and looks it. She is in the apartment next to ours, Sara and Ricardo in the apartment on the other side of her mothers’ place. All 3 of our apartments share a common entryway at the top of a stairwell. The steps go down to a big barnlike room with an apartment on each side, one occupied by Sara’s sister Anna and her dog and kid, the other by her sister Jema. We all have self-contained apartments. Mark and Haka are resting. Conchita is delighted to have her full brood of daughters around.
photo below: Conchita and Mark, Sara

Below – photo of the compound taken from the yard. The left middle floor window shows our apartment. You would go in the door, up the stairs and to the left. The double doors in this photo are the top of the stairwell that leads to all 3 upstairs apartments:

This afternoon Sara made a “paella del bosque”, a yummy rice dish with 3 freshly killed (by a neighbor) meats; chicken, rabbit and wild boar. It was quite an experience! Freshly killed Spanish peasant meal.

Then we took a digestive walk down a chestnut laden trail with ferns, oaks (bearing young acorns), wild berries and mushrooms – dog heaven. It looks a bit like New Zealand (the ferns) and a bit like Los Angeles (the oaks), it is an autumn wonderland. We come across people carrying baskets which they are busy filling with fresh acorns. Our trail is an acorn and wildflower and berries laden wonderland.

Unfortunately we cannot return next weekend for the castaña roasting traditional weekend festa because we will be participating in the 4th annual Barcelona Cortos (short film) Festival. This is our second year as participants. We had 3 submissions last year, this year we have two, and my best friend Nicole has one. Mark and I have also been asked to play some music at the event, the details of which will be sewn up this week. It would have been fun to come back for the castaña roasting festival though, I simply love the smell of chestnuts roasting. It brings back fun childhood in Italy memories.