Iberian Magpies and Spanish Light

photo of the tower
Tales from the Tower
May 8, 2020

Travelling along the A7 from Barcelona to drive to Aix Emporda and our medieval village, 1 of 3 villages within a 7 kilometre radius designated medieval and protected by the Spanish government, I’m mesmerized by the varying hues of the sky. Spanish light, dove grey, lavender, muted ochres, olive green, soft, with a gossamer film that mutates everything you see. No wonder Spain gifted the world with Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya, Jan Miro and Luis Bunuel. The landscape shifts before your eyes. Is that a dragon, a lion, a women’s body with a sphinx head I see in that cliff face? Are those hands praying? A man’s face? The terrain varies constantly. Catalonia translated is The Land of Castles. Medieval fortresses are perched atop small mountains and cliff edges or beckon visits setback on gorgeous farmland. Their stunning locations afford them the best road and river views.

Chattering Iberian Magpies sporting glossy black top hats and coats with a white cravat throat, tails of azure blue, greet you before you see them. The stories they tell promise adventures galore.

Sentinel to one of the central town corridors is our medieval haven for the next 2 weeks. We’ll call home the ancient main house and tower of a 2 house and tower compound. The massive dark walnut doors require a 10 inch long medieval iron key and a few turns to unlock the handcrafted lock bolt. The doors open onto a vast arched entrance about 15 feet long. The stone floors shine, polished by wheel carts that for centuries brought produce for the compound from the market. Fatigued, bewitched and bewildered we spill in. At the end of the hall is a door with a few step walk up to the main part of the house. A few of us gasp. Stone floors, walls and arched stone ceilings frame a small living area and a beautiful dining room that easily accommodates 12. You think you might be in a huge wine cave but you’re above ground. The open kitchen, to the right, can hold its own court with its island for 4, sparkling new steel appliances, white walls and stone ceiling. The view from the kitchen is the whole floor and the stone stairway to the second, third and tower floors. No one would be left out. No one would miss a conversation! We are desperate to explore more…

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