October 18, 2004
I was to call Manolo at three o’clock, and I was nervous. Talking in Spanish on the telephone is difficult for me. Without seeing one’s facial expressions and gestures, it can be very difficult to understand what is being said. And, I haven’t spoken to him for over two years.
|Having done my domestic chores for the day, I decided to do a little sightseeing and tour the city. Gijón has a very modern look compared to most cities in Spain, and that is due to the fact that it is mostly new construction that was completed after the severe destruction of the Civil War in the 30s.
|I especially enjoyed the walkway along the marina because my home is next to the ocean and I like all things nautical. It is somewhat grander and more luxurious here than the boardwalk back home in Newburyport. (Although I’m partial to Newburyport!)
Everywhere I go, I take pictures of public art for my stepdaughter, Laura, who is an artist. She works in both oils and watercolors and her landscapes are really evocative. I’m trying to convince her to come to Spain where she would have an infinite number of subjects and motifs to work with. I figure that if I show her enough examples of contemporary public art, she will realize that there’s more to Spain than just castles, cathedrals, and religious icons.
|In order for her to come, I have to also convince her husband, Carl, who is of the Hibernian persuasion. So I’m always looking for an Irish motif, which usually ends up being a picture of an Irish pub. I want to convince him that Spain is an Irish-friendly country and he can always find his Guiness Stout.
|Carl could be right-at-home in|
|Actually, the Irish connection isn’t all that far fetched. In fact, the pre-Roman population is referred to as Celti-Iberian and there are many similarities between Galician/Asturian designs and those of the pre-Christian Irish art. Also, in the Asturias, they play an instrument known as the gaita. The gaita is a bagpipe. But it is unlike the Scottish version with which we are all familiar. Whereas the Scottish version has three drones (sound-emitting pipes), the gaita has only one—just like the Irish bagpipe.
Of course, there is a Spanish connection in Ireland, too. Many of those dark-haired Irish folk are descendents of the survivors of the Spanish Armada. The sailors ended up on the coast of Ireland in 1588 after being sunk by Drake and the rest of the English commanders.
|I finally found what I was looking for on the crest of a hill overlooking the harbor. It’s a sculpture known as el Horizonte (the Horizon). Perhaps Laura can explain it to me!
|When I got back to my room, the laundry was gone from the window. The shirt was hanging in el armario (the armoire). But the underwear and socks were missing. I tried to look down to see if they had fallen, but it was too dark to see.|