Local Heart, Global Soul

October 2, 2010

Nigrán’s Ponte da A Ramallosa, has a kinky Legend….

Filed under: SPAIN — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are still in Nigrán, the town  across the river mouth Miñor at the estuary of Baiona (Pontevedra), Spain, and are walking back to where we parked the car earlier in the day.

Now it’s time to investigate that intriguing  small bridge that I first saw as we came though the town.

The old bridge runs parallel to the new bridge that carries the main traffic but whilst I took photos the older one was well used by pedestrians.

The stones have been well worn and are big heavy, polished slabs that have obviously had centuries of use.

Parts of the bridge have clearly been renovated, but the sense of history, it’s age  and charm are still very evident.

It’s construction at first looks like the architect had an over active imagination, liked geometry a lot or wanted to allow for a space for a small marketplace on the bridge, but it turns out that the over-abundance of pointy bits is a structural means of reinforcement to help the bridge cope with the forces of the tidal waters that it stands in.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The medieval builders certainly knew their stuff, because it’s still standing firm some 800 years later. .. and that’s a lot of water under the bridge , as the saying goes (and quite literally too of course).

I find out from a plaque close to the bridge that there is a legend to go with it’s quizzical beauty… and a rather kinky legend at that.

Here’s what the plaque tells us;

Middle Ages (13th Century) It was built during the first half of the 13th Century, a mixture of semicircular arches, some of them slightly pointed and others very pointed.

There are ten spans, with a double system of cutwaters to resist better the action of the water and the tide.

In the middle of the bridge there is a cross with the image of Saint Telmo, patron saint of sailors. On a stone table, there is an altarpiece with three souls.

Fertility rites were celebrated on this bridge: After midnight women who couldn’t get pregnant had to persuade the first man crossing the bridge to pour water into their wombs and to be Godfather to of their babies.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The isn’t a lot of additional information to be found on the bridge (OK, granted, there probably is, locally, and in Spanish)

Alas, my Spanish is almost non-existant and so all I could find out in English was that “this medieval bridge of  A Ramallosa on the Minor River separates the municipalities of Nigran and Baiona.

It is possible that the bridge is of  Roman origin but was completely  reconstructed  by San Pedro Telmo, Bishop of Tui around the 12th Century.

I am left to ponder the strange fertility rites, Firstly:  How desperate for a child would you have to be to accost a strange man in the middle of  a bridge after midnight?

… and Secondly: After being infertile ( long enough for that  fact to be obvious) and taking part in this ritual on the bridge that the woman might suddenly be pregnant?.. and to require the man concerned should have the role of “Godfather” to the child? (e.g.. remain in contact after the event, even in an auxiliary manner)

Hmmm… we will never know for sure of course, um,  but did anyone else reading this also maybe jump to the conclusion that the ” water” being poured here might just be a euphemism for something else?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Three Souls…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A ramp for access from boats leads down to the water at one end of the bridge…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The view up river…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On the bridge, looking left, looking right…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

So the old bridge bears the burdons of the childless and the new one the weight of modern day life…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s the new bridge that takes us away up the coast…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 1, 2010

Dogs, Bridges and Accidently Spying on Someone’s Eternal Rest.

Filed under: SPAIN — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

The children have seen something by the river and dashed off to investigate, Himself runs to keep up with them and I’m taking photos whilst bringing up the rear.

The kids are first excited about fish they can see swimming in the water, but loud splashing s and other noises quickly divert them further and soon I am following two squealing kids as they head towards the bridge.

We are  still in Nigrán, across the river mouth Miñor at the estuary of Baiona (Pontevedra) Spain, the day is a scorcher and we are being leisurely and lazy.

There is a ramp leading down to the water, and standing there a lady with her dog. The temperature  is close to 40 C and the  dog is happily plunging into the water to fetch sticks, our kids are delighted not only with the process but also with the dog bounding back close to them each time and shaking all the water off in a big arc.

Both the dog and the lady are friendly and Himself stops to chat whilst everyone enjoys the fun.

(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

I take some photos of them but then spy something in the trees a little further back… we missed seeing it as we headed in to the carpark by the park.

(Small boys starting to yell ” Now I’m  really Really REALLY bursting!!!”  in the back seat of the car tends to lead to that kind of distraction)

I excuse myself from the dog entertainment and go for a little investigate.

I find myself looking at a little chapel, it’s standing all alone, there are no other buildings here by the side of the river.

(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

There is a tall column in front of it with a cross and figures and according to an information board, clearly someone important is buried inside the chapel.

(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

That fact is reinforced by a painting in tiles on the wall. I peer though the small dark glass window in the chapel door.  It’s dimly lit and I get a fuzzy photo by pressing the camera lens as close to the glass as I can…

(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

Inside is full of decoration and ornament and there is an alter that appears to have a figure resting inside it.

Wow, imagine spending your eternal rest on full display of the local parishioners? I’m not sure I feel too comfortable looking.

(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I turn my attention quickly instead to the column outside and stonework detail.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Other views…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

.. and then eye up the bridge, no, not this modern one, lets walk around to the beautiful ancient one hiding behind behind it….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 30, 2010

This Park, Really IS a Workout…

Filed under: SPAIN — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

The day is hot and it’s taken me until now to figure out exactly where we have stopped.

We are  in Nigrán, across the river mouth Miñor at the estuary of Baiona (Pontevedra) Spain.

Right by the waterside where we found the wonderful ice-cream, there is a wonderful, well planned park.

There are deep avenues of shade trees,  and at regular intervals under and around them, children’s play equipment has been installed.

There are lots of playhouses, swings, climbing frames, a lot suitable for smaller children for whom playgrounds are exciting places to be explored.

I do spy some items for slightly older kids too, even a flying-fox.

At the end of the trees, more in the open there is an installation of park equipment that  is also adult exercise equipment and naturally, along with the kids we all have a go at flexing our muscles and testing our strength.

(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

I’m always rubbish at anything that requires arm strength, and we laugh at my puny attempts to pull the levers down, the kids have a massive laugh at their lack of strength too but give it a valiant effort.

(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

We linger there until the heat  and lack of shade by the exercise equipment eventually drives us back towards the end of the park where there are more trees and suddenly the kids are off, completely distracted and diverted… by what?

(photograph © Kiwidutch) 

…I follow to find out.

Additional note: Updated 01 Oct 2010, I’m having some technical difficulties with WordPress, the post for Oct 1st is on the page where we prepare the posts, complete with photos but when I try and view/preview it, I get an error message that says “Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.” and a blank page.  I’ve contacted WP support and hopefully this is NOT what you will see when this posts just after midnight my time!!) If it is, please bear with me, I’m trying to get the page to view a.s.a.p. Cheers,  Kiwidutch 🙂

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