Another lazy afternoon and my friends and I was looking for something to do during siesta. They tell me that siesta is really not practiced widely in Spain anymore so we decided to make the most of our free time. We had two hours to kill time. One of my friends invited me to go for a drive in a little mountain town about one hour south of Salamanca. This little mountain town with old buildings and steep alleyways is called Mogarraz. From La Alberca where we were staying, Mogarraz is just a 10 minute drive a curvy mountain road.
From the moment we entered the town, I knew it’s going to be at the very least, different. You will see portraits of people’s profiles hanging in the exterior of most of the old buildings in town. As we walk from the parking lot by the road, we saw several stone crosses and a small chapel. This stone crosses was a gift from the city of Salamanca when the people of Mogarraz helped rebuilt the cathedral after an earthquake. You will also find another stone cross on the way to town. This one is more ornate than the other and stands in front of the chapel. In these parts of Spain, this normally means this town was part of the route of the pilgrimage on the way to Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrims would stop here to rest and for refuge for food and water.
But the most fascinating thing you will see are the portraits of people hung in the exterior of the buildings in this town. A local merchant told us that the paintings of these people was done by the same artist which explains why you only see one style of portraiture in all of the paintings. The merchant also said that these are the portraits of people that once lived in this town and they where only installed in the town’s old buildings in 2012.
When we reach the town square, my friends and I decided to stop for beer at a local tavern, where photos of matadors, bullfights and Ernest Hemingway hung on its stone walls. The town square was not far from the town church where more portraits of old locals hang on the church towers.
I personally enjoyed my short visit to Mogarraz and this was a last minute invitation from someone I met in the volunteer program I was participating in Spain. It was one of those visits that makes you realize sometimes it’s good to venture out of the big city to really see the different cultures of the country.Google+