The Hard Work of Finding Mediterranean Antiques (and Some Stork Watching)
Posted on October 01 2018
Forty-five years ago I spent a pleasant late spring afternoon observing
a pair of storks as they took off from and returned to their nest perched on
top of an abandoned mill's lone remaining brick chimney in
Almazan, a small medieval village located in the province of Soria in Old Castile, Spain.
I was accompanied that day by an 82 year old friend from the village who took great delight in explaining the finer points of "stork watching" to an
impressionable 21 year old American who, previous to that, had only seen
them in Disney cartoons about the origin and arrival of babies (FYI, in Spain they say that "babies come from Paris" ... go figure ... it must have something to do with importing them duty-free from within the European Union).
But I digress ... who knew that when storks take off they usually just "step" into the void, fall like a leaping paratrooper for a few meters and then begin
to flap their enormous wings? Or that storks mate for life? At any
rate, ever since that day Old Castile for me has always been
synonymous with storks (and roast lamb, of course).
I think that storks symbolize the quintessential nature of this ancient
region better than the ochre-colored sandstone villages, the red
terracotta roofs or anything else that comes to mind as typical of Old
Castile. So whenever I drive into a town or village in the area my
first inclination is to scan the bell tower of the local church to see
if I can spot any storks.
Located 35 kilometers east of the provincial capital of Segovia,
Pedraza is no exception (although I must admit that I was really
surprised by the sheer number of the giant birds in the town when I
got up early this morning to take pictures).
No amount of photos can convey the sheer beauty of this medieval
Castilian village, so bear with me as you go through these shots.
I'm driving north 2 1/2 hours to Zamora after I finish here in Pedraza.