Farming in Spain: Days 4-6
Day 4 – Saturday April 11, 2015 – The Rally
Tomorrow is the big Community Walk where 300 people will come and walk 12 km through the town, neighboring villages and mountains. Our host family is part of the organizing team and so we help them put up arrows and signs today throughout the route.
We hike through expansive grassy pastures, past peaceful brown cows with bells around their necks, past two gorgeous “gorgas” or swimming holes, and up and up and up a tall mountain. One detail lost in translation was the length of the walk and so we did not bring enough water or wear the right shoes. Exhausted, sore, hungry, and parched, we finish the route in four hours and come to find out that we only did 1/3 of it!
Suddenly, a call from Marta: “Hola Carolina! You want to come to a traditional party? I will bring lunch for you.” We respond, “Claro!” (of course!) On our way, Marta’s friend Janina explains to us that the party is a rally for Catalonia’s Independence. Catalonia is one of the four main regions that make up Spain. It includes Barcelona and Catalan (sounds like a mix between Spanish and French) is the main language but everyone also speaks Castellano Spanish (the kind we know). The party consists of lots of good food, flags everywhere, and an improv singing competition where a random topic and rhythm are chosen for the competitors to sing to in Catalan. We don’t understand much but we laugh and clap when the others do. When we arrive home, the Czechs who have been very ill the past few days are out of their room and looking well. They say they can work tomorrow. I will keep a close eye on them. Overall, today was incredible as we got to see so much of the town and countryside during our hike, we learned about the region and Catalonia, and felt special to be at such a festive and authentic gathering that we would never have known about had it not been for Marta. One of the many benefits of becoming friends with locals while traveling.
Day 5- Sunday April 12, 2015 – The Walk
Today is the big Walk! Somehow we are talked into doing the part of the walk that we did not do yesterday. My feet are still blistered and my buns sore, but hiking through the valleys of Catalonia sounds too good to pass up. Yes, FOMO kicking in here. We hike with Marta’s mom, Dolores and her gal pals. She greets many of her friends on the trail in Catalan and we often hear the words “California” and “viajeros” (travelers) as she points to us. They look at us in awe and say “hello!”, excited we have come so far to visit this small but mighty town. Along the way there are three “Controls”, which are stops where food, water, and wine (why not?) are provided. It is quite the spectacle as everyone scarfs down sausage wrapped in cheese and fresh bread, and pour wine, water, and menta (a mint -water drink) into their mouths out of the communal jugs provided. Along the route, the people are loud, boisterous and laughing the entire time. We have so much fun and enjoy more beautiful views of the mountains and countryside. After finishing the walk we return to the farm where we enjoy a big family lunch. The Czechs are well enough to join us today. Spanish, Catalan, English, French, German, and Czech are the languages spoken at the table. We eat well and laugh a lot, mainly because of all of the funny misunderstandings. After lunch we play games on the front lawn with Marta and her cousins, play ping pong, cozy up next to the fireplace, and then head to bed around midnight. Another wonderful day spent in the countryside and with the family.
Day 6- Monday April 13, 2015- The Movie
Finished moving the wood pile with the Czechs. They seem well. Jon cuts grass with the weed wacker. I unclog a dam with Miguel’s help (confession- Miguel unclogged it in two minutes after I struggled to do it for at least 30). Finally, the Czechs and I planted a tomato garden. It was quite the funny cultural exchange the way we worked together. Miguel gave instructions in Spanish to me, I translated in English to Liliana, and she translated to Czech to her boyfriend. The end product proves that language does not need to be a barrier to effective team work! At night we attempt to watch a movie. It ends up being another funny cultural exchange as we try to find a movie we can all understand! After literally an hour of searching online and through Marta’s movie selection for a movie in Spanish with English subtitles (this would satisfy the most people’s needs) we somehow wind up watching horror film in Tagalog with English subtitles. After 20 minutes of watching teenagers being followed by a car with no driver, we switch to another movie. This time we wind up watching Blow, in English with English subtitles. Bored and with half of the people unable to understand it, we all opt to go to bed. FAIL. I guess language really can be a be a barrier. I think we will stick to ping pong tomorrow night.
Coming next: Days 7-10!