Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Culture, cultural

Went off with the local walking group for the weekend, we went into Spanish speaking Spain....which was something of a challenge to say the least.  

We visited a church that used to be a Cathedral back in the middle ages....and onwards a bit I think.  I like the door of the church....

Vaig anar amb la grup de muntanya pel cap de setmana cap a Aragó, Espanya que parla Castella.....una repte per mi.

Vam visitar una esglesia que solia una catedral fa molt de temps....m'agradava aquesta porta.

The guide, to me, was utterly incomprehensible, between the echo and her accent I was lost, and then as any of you who have spent time in a place where understanding the language is a challenge will understand, I simply stopped listening.
No podia entendre ni una paraula que deia la guia....amb la seva acent i que resoni l'esglesia.....i si mai haguès visgut en un lloc a on has de treballar per entendre l'idioma, saps com a vegades, simplement, pares d'escoltar.  

This cloister though was LOVELY, and like folks have done for hundreds of years before as well, we found the side with the sunshine and sat on the benches bathing in it like cats.
El claustre és molt maco i com han fet la gent per cents d'anys, vam trobar la cantonada on hi havia sol i ens vam seure als bancs i vam banyar-nos en el sol com si fossim gats.

Those monks had a little too much time on their hands, no?  Really, who designed that.  Qui va designar aquest?  Seriosament.

Lots of carvings.  I don't know if these are in the right place as the whole thing had been razed a couple of times.  Moltes pedres tallades...que han destruit l'esglesia unes vegades, no sé si aquest estan a on haurien de ser....

Walking around town, a little bit that suddenly looked quite Swiss.  En donant voltes del poble, aquest part sembla força suïss, no?

Then we visited a Buddhist monastery, after visiting several cafes to warm up as well.  This was the main entrance, it is a Tibetan style monastery, complete with some Tibetan monks, though the man who showed us around (that would be a bit of a misnomer, as he took us into the main temple and then talked about Buddhist philosophy for over 2 hours) was from Mallorca and started in Catalan, to my delight, but when one (unregistered) hanger-on to our tour commented that she couldn't understand Catalan he switched to Spanish, which I understood about a third to half of, but as I knew about most of what he was saying already, I eventually stopped listening here, had a head bobbing kind of nap in a corner and eventually went out to walk around.  Fine.

Llavors, vam visitar una monastí budhista desprès de visitar unes cafes, feia fred aquest dia.  Aquí a vaix tens l'entrada central d'aquesta monastí tibeta...monjos tibeta inclòs.  L'home que feia la nostre guia era de Mallorca i ens va ensenyar el lloc, però en realitat ens va portar al temple central i parlava per més de dues hores sobre la flosofia budhiste. Començava en català, a mi, fantàstic, però una parella - no un part del nostre grup- va anar amb nosaltres i la dona no podia entendre Català, llavors va canviar per castella i vaig entendre un tercer o mig part d'el que deia l'home.  

Em sap greu, però estic massa cansada per continuar en català i vull penjar les fotos.  Intentaré fer més desprès.

They had these paintings on the road on the way in, which I really liked.

Prayer flags of course,

Prayer wheels

I liked these flags better than the massively printed ones.

That evening we went into the town of Graus in Aragó which is quite small but has a spectacular main square, as it was dark, this is the only photo that turned out OK.

They were also having a truffle festival/tasting, now that's tough, isn't it!
 They were selling them too, only 550€ a kilo, half price!

Then we went to dinner where we were staying.  It was not an improvement.  I have never ever eaten off a tray like this, felt like I was in the military or prison, and all the men who had had to do the 'mili' made the same comment.  Worst food yet.  No that's not true, it's better than the hospital food they offered Eldest.  Though hospital food, does it count?

Next day....the mountains.  It was glories and spectacular, lots of snow, mostly sunshine, the snow at the top was icy, with slopes that lead off to crushing falls, so on went the crampons, that was fun, haven't put on crampons in YEARS!

The group who guided us were very friendly, very open, and quite disorganized.  We even managed to break into several different groups, all of them lost, and all of them going their own way.

New resolve.  Never going on high mountain excursions ever again unless they are guided by someone from our group or a professional. Especially in winter.

A good excursion, but marred by disorganization that with luck did not evolve into a problem, though it could have.

Also somewhat astonished by how close people were standing, all of them in a pack like frightened fish and all talking at the TOP. OF. THEIR. VOICES.  Ya know, mountains are big places and this Canadian managed to feel really very claustrophobic.  They probably all thought I was incredibly rude, but I kept stepping away and standing by myself at a bit of a distance.  Oh. my. god. the NOISE and intrusion into personal space!  On a bloody great mountain no less.

Never again.


Anonymous said...

I tend to switch my brain off too when I visit some castle or museum and the guide only speaks Czech... I can understand bits and pieces, but I'm still far from being able to follow the tidbits of the noble family trees and stuff...
Too bad the mountain was so packed. Seems like a waste of beautiful landscape...

Helen said...