It's in the suburbs of Valladolid - a large, historically important city which has much to be admired in terms of its beautiful buildings, which I shared in a post during the time we lived there, but much to be despised in terms of its unrelenting spread over the past decade. Now, apartment blocks stand empty or worse, unfinished, in all possible areas. And whilst fortunately, the many factories are still functioning in this time of crisis, the pollution and smell they create definitely detract from the overall impression as you enter the outskirts of the city.
Getting back to La Flecha - not in the country, but FR's parents' house is a little oasis in the middle of a newly developed suburb that started out as a few houses on a hill and has spread to almost small town size with a couple of schools, several supermarkets, a new health centre and a large plaza topped by the modern 'town hall' or ayuntamiento. The big difference between FR's parents house and most of the others in the town is that it has a garden. With chickens. And cockerels. And tomatoes, beans, flowers and grass. That is something very special and something I sorely miss. (Not the cockerels.)
We divided our time between visiting the coast and the house in Valdepolo, Leon but La Flecha remained our base. And we had some lovely days.
|And then there's the uncle with a really cool bike - Ruy in awe.|
|Romy in heaven|
|Picnics in nearby beauty spots|
|Time spent with cousins playing computer games...|
|Time spent in the garden - lots of time spent in the garden|
Los abuelos captured by Romy one day as she went around taking photos of the world through her eyes.
|Time spent visiting nearby towns - this is Medina de Rioseco|
|Where the streets are ancient and interesting|
|And they make the most wonderful pastries and biscuits and breads|
And where a crocodile climbs precariously down the wall....
There are various legends about how a crocodile became linked with the town but I am not sure I can explain them fully. One is that as the church was being built, parts of it were destroyed during the night and eventually, the worker discovered a huge crocodile was responsible. It was killed and its skin hung over the entrance to the chancel - apparently this still here though we never knew the legend, despite visiting the town many times over the past 16 years or so. This is the first time we've seen this new crocodile on the wall so he must have arrived sometime during the past year.
Medina de Rioseco would be a perfect chocolate shop town - maybe not the spot below the crocodile though.
*FR has just told me a more interesting version - he must have stopped to read the information on the banner...I should have done that. The legend begins the same way, in that the church building was being damaged but also townsfolk were being attacked by a monster near the river - el rio Sequilla - so the folk in charge left a slave out by the church one night, armed with a mirror (!) to see whether there really was a monster. By immense cunning and most likely divine intervention, the slave killed the crocodile - the mirror confused it dreadfully - won his freedom and saved the town from its dreadful menace. And there must be some truth in it all because I found this link with the photo of the crocodile skin.
|Corner of the garden - chicken shed on the left|
Being in La Flecha counted towards our month in the country. And we bring back happy memories of hearing the children playing in the garden, playing cards around the dining table, barbecuing delicious ribs and spending the odd evening or two in the beautiful historic centre of Valladolid - just 5kms away. Notwithstanding FR's parents' lovely neighbours, Yolanda and Ermi, with whom I spent a lovely couple of hours chatting, being in La Flecha made me nostalgic for Andalucia; for the warmth and the friendliness of the people and the constant bustle of people living their lives. I'm glad we didn't settle here. I'm glad we came south.