ESPANA JULY 2007

Segovia – I found my eye gravitating to an old woman sitting in front of a building that is probably representative of the type that was torn down for the monstrosity of a gothic Cathedral built next to the Plaza Major in the 16th century.

She is scouting for potential sales among the turistas looking at her shawls. I obliged and bought two colorful crocheted items, a direct contrast to her own dark attire. Perhaps her husband is dead. Our guide, Miguel, said women, both Catholic and Muslim, are consigned to black in widowhood.

An elegantly dressed elder walked passed me with a small bright gold cross on his lapel, minus the Christ figure.

It seems his wife is alive, but of course, who would know since men have never been constrained by this black garb tradition. The people of Segovia, and Spain in general are a mixture of the stately, peasant, and entrepreneurial middle-class type. Not so different in that regard from populations everywhere.

Madrid – Parque del Buen Retiro – my refuge in the UNO workshop storm. My years living in Manhattan taught me the value of Nature in an urban environment.

The landscaping in Retiro Park feels more sculptured than Central Park, and Retiro seems to have more older trees; certainly not from rainfall that averages 17 inches a year (Manhattan gets about 47 inches), but from the springs and aquifer under the Madrid basin…more research. I did notice extensive sprinkler/watering systems in Retiro that water at night.

I found oak trees in Retiro that look over 300 years old, and the Cedars of Lebanon are very old and majestically tall with a canopy over 60 feet – at least 300 years. The plaque says they were brought from Lebanon in the 17th century. (Keith standing at the base of a cedar)

Mérida: Roman Theatre – The Temple of Diana – Roman ruins galore – Established in the year 25 BC with the name of Emerita Augusta by order of Emperor Augustus to protect a pass and bridge over the Guidiana River. Two legions of Romans settled here and built a cultural outpost. The Amphitheatre was the stage for bloody entertainment.

But, Roman culture is in my blood – and gene pool.
I love all things Roman!.

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