I remember that afternoon earlier this year, while it was still Christmas holidays, when we were enjoying the warm temperature on the terrace of the riad. It was a good idea to set aside a day in our tour of Morocco to do nothing and rest; and even better to take advantage of that day to walk around and have tea with those delicious almond pastries we had bought the day before. I don’t know if we could recommend that anyone buy those pastries, impossible to remember the place in that labyrinth of streets that is the Medina of Fez.
You and I focused on writing a list of New Year’s resolutions, in the silence only interrupted by the hours of prayer. How are your resolutions coming along? You have already told me that some of your resolutions have been fulfilled. Among mine there are some that are elusive and I often forget them, despite my tendency to habit.
But today, almost without scheduling it, I have fulfilled part of one of those resolutions. As we said that day, it is wonderful to travel far away and explore different cultures, but sometimes we forget to visit the places that are closest to us. And today, just like that, we went to Lebrija, a village near us. It wasn’t a tourist visit in the strict sense of the word, as I didn’t research the places of interest, nor the history, nor did I draw up an itinerary to follow, as is our custom. It was an excursion with the intention of buying bread.
Buying bread, yes! I know you’re surprised because you know that I’m not much of a foodie, but my friend had been wanting to visit Domi Vélez’s bakery for a long time because it has awards and a lot of recognition. I am sure that you, daughter of a professional in the sector and who brought us the best panetone we have ever tasted, would know how to appreciate this humble yet exquisite delicacy, and when you come back we can go, and not just for the bread, but also to walk around the town.
We wandered aimlessly and randomly through the streets following the signs of a tower and the ruins of a castle that were on a promontory in this flat and fertile area. The tower is known as La Giraldilla, as you will easily understand from the attached photo, it is inspired by the Giralda in Seville.
It seemed to me that the town was lively, people in the square, sitting on the benches or on their way to run an errand; the streets looked spotless and the façades well cared for by the locals, with that white that you know from the Andalusian towns. On the way we came across the statue of Elio Antonio de Nebrija, born in this town; you may know him as a linguist and writer of the first Spanish grammar. It seems that there are events in his name because it is the anniversary of his death. Tell me, is he on the list of those you know?
We went into a church to admire its decoration and its images already prepared for Lent and Holy Week; we enjoyed the scent of orange blossom wafting from the orange trees that adorn the streets and squares. I don’t know if I have told you, but spring is here; you have to come around this time of year. As is my custom, I looked at the post office signs, but they are in a new building with nothing to highlight; however, I did notice the name of a shop in beautiful tiles on its façade. A lingerie shop, you know how much I love these shops, especially when they have a counter and wooden shelves full of neat little boxes. Of course I went in, chatted with the owner and bought something.
Before leaving this destination, like any traveller, we took the time to enjoy a cool drink and some olives (green, not the black ones I ate in Morocco even at breakfast). The bar shared space with a grocery shop, still displaying a nativity scene, and a calendar with the date frozen, 24 December. This reminded me of you, you would have liked to see it. We congratulated the owner for Christmas and after the break we returned home.
As you can see, dear friend, I have already visited a nearby town, one of the three I have decided to visit this year. I don’t know what the next one will be, because I set the intention and then you see that life chooses them, we had a nice morning, and we brought different kinds of bread to taste. I hope you are having nice days, and enjoy the visit to your family home.
I will write to you soon, telling you more about it in more detail. Even if we talk to each other on a regular basis using our mobile phones, you know.
“more than kisses, letters mingle souls”
P.S. Thanks to Andrés for putting this post into English. He always supports me for keeping on learning English, as a good teacher always does.
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