Ilivetolearn's Blog

November 7, 2005

Pedraza…and more language study

Filed under: on the road,Spain — ilivetolearn @ 12:56 pm

We have a new favorite town—Pedraza de la Sierra, a beautifully-preserved 16th century village near Segovia, an easy day trip from Madrid. We went there Saturday on an excursion with our neighbors…twelve in all: Pilar and Miguel Angel (our landlords), Rafa and Nacen (next door), Carlos and another Pilar, Andres and Maria, Jorge and Alicia, and the two of us. Evan babysat the girls from 10 AM to 8:30 PM. What a guy.

These outings have a definite rhythm. Start an hour after you plan to…drive about an hour, getting lost once…stop at Puerto de Navacerrada (the high pass just north of Madrid) for its famous caldo (chicken broth)…drive to Segovia…admire the aqueduct…stroll to the Plaza Mayor for beer, aperitif, and tapas while you call all the absent parties on your cell phone and figure out where to convene…drive on to Pedraza, meet at Bodega Manrique for their famous cordero (roast lamb)…stuff yourselves…stroll and shop in the lovely stores…on to the Plaza Mayor for another stop for coffee and the village’s famous pastry…stroll on to the castle, which of course is closed for siesta, take a few photos…at this point we begged off as half the assembled multitude was headed off to another town for an evening gathering…cognac and cards. It’s a twelve-hour party…eat, drink, walk, shop, chat, and so on. It was lots of fun but by the time it got dark I was tired of struggling to understand the mostly-Spanish conversation and ready to be home.

We didn’t learn all those “muy fuerte” words we had hoped to, though I am now able to pick more of them out in conversations. And a few pesky questions of slang were answered…I had been wondering why people were talking about their uncles all the time, until I discovered that “tio” means “guy” too. I’m still working on the annoying words that differ from each other by one strategic letter, like “pollo” (chicken) and “polla” (male reproductive organ). More innocently, I apparently mixed up “quedar” and “quemar” while trying to say “we stayed home last night,” and actually said “we set fire to the house last night.”

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