Sept. 13, 2022-Spain and Portugal – Santa de Somoza

We took a bus ride out to our destination in rain today. The weather we saw on the horizon last night has arrived.

This village has around two hundred inhabitants who are called “la Maragatos.”

They are believed to be the last living descendants of the North African Berbers who arrived on the peninsula in the eight century.

We toured the mayor’s office with a pleasant, young, male city guide and learned about the local efforts to bring more people back to live in this region.

The initiative is called “filling the empty Spain.”

These people remained separated from the culture of Spain after the Reconquista due to their isolated location. They were famous as successful traders.

By the way, the Reconquista was the centuries long battle to rid the Iberian Peninusla of the Arabs and their influence there..

They live in stone houses with doors wide enough to bring in their wagons onto the ground floor.

The advent of the railroads changed their lives for the worse when the railroads began to carry products in their area. These competent traders couldn’t compete with the faster and cheaper more modern ways of transport.

So many of the younger people moved away to the larger cities to start their lives over.

We had a great lunch of soup, cod fish and yogurt with a family in their very old and interesting home.

We sat in a large room watching them as the food was prepared. The walls were made of rough stone with a few wooden timbers placed at intervals and at a forty five degree angle now and then for lateral stability.

The ceiling planks and beams were covered in a dark smokey residue as this room was also used to smoke and preserve meats. The stone floor was used as a hearth in the old days and a flue is situated in a corner over a spot on the floor where a fire was built and then lit to cook on. There is no fireplace needed here.

We ate our fine lunch and visited with our wonderful hosts. The younger woman was pregnant and her mother and husband were nearby helping as needed.

We then toured a handicraft center where young people come to learn to create ceramic products and leather goods like saddles, shoes and purses. These are skills where one can always find work in this area.

We then had a great lecture by Oscar who is a part time bee keeper and wonderful teacher on the subject. He had many hats and props to make his story interesting and fun. He was very informative and goes to schools where he lectures children about the importance of bees and the honey that they produce. He sells his honey on the internet and has a YouTube channel.

We dressed for the weather and it was a good thing. It rained very hard off and as we walked the small picturesque town on on the way back to our bus and Leon. Luckily we were in the bus and not on horse back like years ago, so no harm done.

We walked the city of Leon in the rain when we returned and had a wonderful day and another night there.

By the way, my wife and I travel with two carry on bags, her large purse and my smallish backpack.

No heavy Levis or polo shirts or checked baggage.

My clothing is made for traveling and my pants are made of hand washable windbreaker material and dries quickly. My shirts are thin and don’t need ironing. They keep me plenty warm by the way.

My wife’s outfit is similar. Her uniform of the day is a pair tights and a no iron blouse. We only carry two pairs of shoes for each of us. Walking shoes or tennis shoes for me in white and black.

I will have the photos of this trip up in a few days after I finish with the written stories of our most recent adventure.

As always, thanks for coming along on our travels and do get out into the world when you have the time. Remember, living to see tomorrow is not guaranteed.