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Galicia, Land of Celtic Magic

me in Galicia, in front of my abode

Galicia, Land of Celtic Magic

 

 

I am living and working in a region of Northern Spain called Galicia, which has long been isolated from many even born in Spain. Partly because of its remoteness and perhaps partly due to its strong Celtic background, Galicia has been a fiercely independent region of Spain for most of its history. The Galicians pride themselves on doing things their way and consider Madrid a foreign country almost. Galicia is one of the greenest areas of Spain due to its high amount of rainfall. In addition, the countryside is covered with a small oak tree that is native to this region. 

 

Ferns are abundant and the area I am staying in is like a mini rainforest. The people are warm and hospitable, and when I opened a bank account in the village, the bank director who assisted me, invited me to drink some wine with him and a friend of his who lived in Florida for thirty-seven years. That was definitely a first for me. Many of the locals have small vineyards and make their own wine, which they gladly share with all.

I went to my first fiesta (party) last week and what an experience. It was the birthday for a woman turning forty and was in full swing when my host and I arrived. The partiers ranged in age from forty to sixty or better with a sprinkling of younger folks and kids running back and forth. Most of the women were dancing and shaking their skirts like flamenco dancers, laughing & singing as they sensuously sashayed around the small cement patio. It seemed that everybody played the drums and half a dozen drums from bongos to African type larger drums were passed around along with a couple of guitars and a hammer dulcimer from Russia. I have never been to a happier gathering and was made to feel welcome from the moment I got there. I am still a bit awkward at the kiss on both cheeks greeting that is so common here from women upon meeting. The birthday girl’s husband had his long hair in pigtails to the side of his head and I thought at first that I must be at a transgender party but discovered that it was just a silly thing he chose to do. Before long, everybody’s hair was in a pigtail on top of his or her heads’. The women did not look bad, sort of like Pebbles of the Flintstones (because of their pigtails, not because they weren’t gorgeous).However, the guys looked hilarious and I was not able to escape having my hair put up either because a sweet lady approached me & insisted that I join in.

Petra, my host

 

my rooms, were in bldg. on right; main house in background

The hosts’ had a long table laden with delicious local foods, wines, & beer. The sausage here is better tasting than any I have had in the States. I am told that there are no preservatives in it. In addition, I tasted baby goat for the first time, which was also delicious. I met an English couple who had retired here and were starting an ecological community and we had an interesting conversation about politics. In fact, most of the Europeans I have met so far have been eager for my views on the coming presidential election inAmerica. The fiesta lasted until about three in the morning and I am told that it is not uncommon for fiestas to last all night. A couple of guys got a little tipsy but most of the party-goers took it easy on the spirits and did not seem to need any help to get into the party frame of mind or mood. My host has a very fascinating history, which included driving a small bus, which they call caravans, around Europe for fifteen years, and making her living by playing music on the street, living in a squat in Berlin, where her homemade bread became legendary and sometimes she  cooked for as many as a thousand people. She would park her caravan sometimes and fly to India,Central America,Indonesia, etc. Petra, my host, and her best friend, Maureen, from Glasgow, are a musical duo, Petra plays percussion, and Maureen plays guitar. They have released a couple of CDs and their music is amazing. On Petra’s property is a labyrinth, which is from ancient Celtic rituals and it is said that if several people walk the criss-crossing circles that make up the labyrinth, a magic is created. I certainly believe it in this land of enchantment and charming people who live life at a natural pace. Viva Galicia!

Rob DeLoss, June 2008

P.S. (just a bit of speculation here? And I could be wrong? But I believe that I heard somewhere that the term “Black Irish” is in reference to the Irish who came to this magic land & inter-married with the Spanish beauties they met & fell in love with? Perhaps that’s why I’ve had such an infatuation with Hispanic beauties since my fourth grade sweetheart & my Jewish “princess” Jeri, who had all the exotic beauty of the ladies of Galicia?)

Jeri, pub near hostel, N. of Galway

 

 

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