Maria, who read the poem in the last blog, said to us before we said goodbye, ‘Tomorrow morning, cycle over the bridge and see just how beautiful my town is.’
It didn’t disappoint. We stood gawping. It was like a photo-shopped Spanish Tourist Board fantasy of Spain. Castle, cathedral, Moorish-influenced architecture. Under a crayon-blue sky. A stork sailed over our heads to its nest on a high tower. The morning sun poured fresh as an invigorating shower. You felt you could scoop a cup of the Duero and savour it like Verdejo wine.
That stork was the first of many. In every village we went through they sat on their thrones, high above spires and towers.
Liam had been looking forward to Tordesillas since before we left. El Gran O has lived in Mexico as well as Spain, and has travelled widely in Central and Latin America. I’d never heard of the place, but he knew we had to visit.
The castle and church in the 15th and 16th centuries were used by the Catholic Kings – and that, as we’ll see, had an impact that still affects us all. We went to see the chapel first. Drenched in gold leaf, the insignia of the Inquisition on display, a surprisingly gentle light, and softness in the cool alabaster walls and statues. But it’s odd how one vision of the past can lead to another, more personal one….
Then we went to the Palace where a momentous agreement was negotiated, then signed, by those Catholic Kings and their Portuguese counterparts. Liam explains:
Unfortunately the main museum was closed for repairs. But there was a guide there, Patricia, who knew some more about the history of the treaty. What she and others said got the three of us talking (not hard to do!)…
Coming out of the palace, we came across a statue of St Francis. It’s great being wi’ intellectuals, they always have a fitting and uplifting lesson wherever you go:
So finally. While I was trying to make sense of all this, the boys found an old Bluegrass song that got to the heart of the matter. This version, in my opinion, is soulful, insightful, and performed with surprising artistry and feeling….
And THAT is why they speak Portuguese in Brazil!