Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Simple pleasures...

It was Luis' birthday this week and we celebrated in the way we have become accustomed: each choosing what you want to do for your own day. We stopped buying presents many years ago and believe that if we really want something and can afford it, we buy it at any time of the year, the same applies for Christmas. It fits in with our thinking that: life is short; we should all make the most of what we have; less is often more. Somehow, we seem to need less and value simpler pleasures.


The day started well with our friend Birgitta arriving with a glorious chocolate-covered birthday cake with candles. Later in the day we visited Birgitta and Manfred with the cake and took tea in their garden, chased chickens, fed geese and harvested salad leaves.


Luis chose to visit Santa Cristina de Lena, a pre-romanesque church south of Oviedo and to have a picnic lunch and short walk... A bit of background might help here if you do not know about pre-romanesque architecture (which I didn't until coming to Spain). Pre-romanesque architecture is found only in Asturias and is also known as the Asturian monarchy architecture.


We parked the car and walked the rough track that leads to the church which is sited on a hill jutting out from a larger hill/mountain. As we approached, tethered goats and their young kept the grassy entrance and hedges that led to the church, cut and managed. Two elderly ladies sat chatting and told us that this was their daily walk before lunch. A perfect spot for a catch up and intrigue...


The church was attended by a guide who helped point out the features we should look for, chiefly the stone carvings that adorned the pillars, medallions and walls.




Originally, the church would have be painted and highly decorated with brightly coloured murals, motifs and religious texts; reflecting the beliefs and loyalties of the times. This no longer exists and the church has had two known major renovations in the 1800's and, just after the civil war in Spain (1936) when it was badly damaged by artillery.


I am personally not into churches but you cannot but admire and appreciate the grace, simplicity and tranquillity of an 8th century sanctuary. It is not hard to imagine a distant time when the ecclesiastical elite and the noble families met for worship and intrigue amongst other things.


We called at the visitor centre which was housed in the old and rather dour looking railway station: La Cobertoria. This exhibition was particularly well executed with panels and photographs explaining the period in history and setting the context of the church within the other centres in Asturias and further afield in Europe. In addition, the panels had English translations which always helps.


We didn't know of any local picnic areas so we decided to head back to the coast and call at La Isla, always a favourite beach to wander. We ate a great lunch, watch the para gliders descend from the Sueve mountain range and with great precision land on the narrow strip of beach. We took a walk along the beach as far as we could (high tide) and looked at pebbles.




Simple pleasures...



6 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday! Looks like a lovely day.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks - it was a great day.

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  2. Replies
    1. The best kind of day :-)

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  3. Simple pleasures, indeed. And all the better for it! Many happy returns.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jack. Keep up the writing..any more books due?

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