Letters from Spain – numero tres

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” – Blaise Pascal

Mum and Dad editedHola folks…I believe I left you back in 2005, when there was excitement in the air due to the imminent short story competition being run by the Cultural Department of the Ayuntamienta (Town Hall) There was a natural, keen interest among members of our Torrevieja Writing group to enter and everyone was busy scribbling away like mad, me included. Being fairly new to the town, compared to several others, I needed to do more research, which is something I always enjoy, so set to reading up on its history.

salt lake tour editedI soon discovered that Torrevieja and environs was home to a valuable substance, once known as “white gold,” now a common or garden product – sal (salt!). Roman soldiers in the area way back were paid salt in lieu of wages it was so precious, and put the town and countless acres firmly on the map of the world. In fact, Torrevieja was such a tiny pueblo, it depended on the product for its economic survival. The famous salt lagoons of La Mata and Torrevieja are now designated as National Parks and are home to a huge variety of bird species, with over 200 sighted on the lakes.

Delving further back into history, I was fascinated to learn that via 15th C Roman Chronicles – in fact – local salt funded the travels of Christopher Columbus! As it also preserved fish, salt was found to be invaluable when travelling long distances, and who could eat a boiled egg without it!

Flamingoes editedMeanwhile, just how was I going to handle writing a riveting story about such a place?! I’d already written a few, modest tales but never entered one in a competition before…Umm. An idea then struck which sounded a reasonable ‘peg’ on which to hang my story. I’d become a TIME TRAVELLER. I knew nada about such a mode of travel (Who does… ), but what the heck, I’d give it a go and it worked out a treat. I mentally travelled backwards and forwards at will, incorporating actual history, linking it neatly to fiction. Of course annoying doubts gathered along the way; they often do. But at least/last it was finished and the dreaded judging time arrived. The Palacio de la Musica was packed, fingers were nearly nibbled to the elbows, etc., and I thought I heard my name called out. It was! Wow and eek… I’d won first prize. Being something of an introvert when it comes to crowds and public speaking, AND being interviewed in Spanish, twice, was a bit disconcerting, while sweetened by a generous cheque and a most friendly reception. The international competition was held for two further years, when I was one of the judges, which was great fun and a privilege.

Before moving on, I’ll just share a few excerpts from my story:

“…Spain – after much barbarism (via) the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans – finally emerges as the most advanced of the provinces under the Romans. I became a Time Traveller before the Visigothic Kings succeeded Rome’s domination and witnessed too many tragedies… and did much century hopping when the Vandals were around…”

Moorish edited“Spain attained her most triumphant success – that of expelling the Moors at the end of the 15th century. Although bloodthirsty, that period was exciting and the Moors left behind an admirable legacy of wonderful architecture, intricate wood carvings, (and) exquisite textile designs…”

“Men seem to have a penchant for war but, although the colour red dominates time, I choose to look to the sky.”

“It is March 2lst, 1829 – the beginning of the Spring equinox. Earlier, the sky was calm, the atmosphere clear. Around lunch-time, there is a slight tremor and I again feel a great sense of foreboding, for there have been over 70 worrying days and nights of seismic activity in the area of late. Suddenly, the wind drops, the sky becomes overcast, and there is an uneasy calm over all. My palms are damp; my throat dry. I do not want to re-experience the inevitable … I am fearful as the earth begins to tremble and, inside Carlos’s villa, plates fall and smash on the filed floor. Then, a huge tremor wreaks havoc where it strikes: in Torrevieja and all the towns and villages in the Vega Baja. In a little over five seconds, 32 people perish, along with 36 animals and 67 people are injured. As in many other households, tragedy descends on the Rodriguez family, for Carlos’s wife Maria is making paella in the kitchen when the roof collapses on her. Fortunately, Carlos is out in the open with his two sons. All three survive. Uncle Jose – now a bent, old gentleman – is still asleep when the earthquake strikes; a sleep from which he will never awake. I am again overcome with sadness as Maria was so full of life. The reconstruction of the decimated town is ordered by King Fernando VII.”

***

Treasure Island Ship editedTorrevieja slowly grew into a town buzzing with activity and industry and 250 ships were built in sight of the Casino. Two of the ships became famous in later TV and films: one in ‘The Onedin Line’ the other ‘Treasure Island.’

Today, it is a modern-leaning, fascinating and cosmopolitan town of 100,000 people, with beckoning, clean beaches and green parks aplenty, eager to cater to the curious traveller.

Adios until next time.

© Copyright Joy Lennick 2019

Pics via: Euromarina.com, servigroup.com, Michael C Snell. Treasure Island painting by Geoff Hunt

27 thoughts on “Letters from Spain – numero tres

  1. olganm 30/11/2019 / 7:40 pm

    What a fantastic experience! And the story sounds like a must-read, Joy. I’ve never visited Torrevieja, but now I’m intrigued. 😉

  2. Jacquie Biggar 30/11/2019 / 7:57 pm

    Joy, I love this line: “Men seem to have a penchant for war but, although the colour red dominates time, I choose to look to the sky.”
    No wonder you won!

    • joylennick 05/12/2019 / 6:21 pm

      Mother Nature knew something when she painted the sky blue!! Thanks, Jacquie. Hugs xx

  3. Librarylady 30/11/2019 / 8:53 pm

    Congratulations. I love Spain – have been twice and never tire of writing about it.

    • joylennick 05/12/2019 / 1:09 pm

      Thank you, ‘Library Lady’- it’s certainly a rich place to write about!! Cheers. x

  4. Yeah, Another Blogger 01/12/2019 / 12:00 am

    You’re a time traveler! Your talents are amazing.

    Hi Joy. Enjoy the upcoming week. See ya.

    Neil

    • joylennick 01/12/2019 / 3:52 pm

      You don’t know the half of it, Neil…..(not telling!) Only joking

      You have a good week too.

      Cheers x

  5. Sartenada 01/12/2019 / 8:46 am

    Great post. Thank you. I have not been to continent Spain many times, but visiting some of islands of Spain like Mallorca, Tenerife and Gran Canarias. Las Palmas in my favorite town.

    Happy and safe travels!

    • joylennick 05/12/2019 / 1:07 pm

      Thank you for reading and your kind comment. You too must have some wonderful memories. Best wishes. xx

  6. D. Wallace Peach 01/12/2019 / 6:01 pm

    I love the history that, unlike in the US, is so old and full of interesting details. Torrevieja sounds like it has a vivid and memorable history. Fascinating info on the role of salt. Happy December, Lay. 😀

    • joylennick 01/12/2019 / 6:56 pm

      Thank you Diana. I too love the sometimes interesting, often entertaining and fascinating nuggets of history. Greedy, but is one lifetime ever enough to savour it?! Have a peaceful and happy month.x

  7. dgkaye 03/12/2019 / 2:34 am

    Joy, you are a joy to read! Love the mix of humor, history and learning more about you and your shenanigans. ❤ xx

    • joylennick 03/12/2019 / 11:15 am

      Delighted you enjoyed my ‘shenanigans…’ Debby. Love to Toronto. and you of course! Hugs xx

      • dgkaye 03/12/2019 / 5:04 pm

        Thank you Joy. Hugs being sent right back at ya my friend! ❤ xx

  8. stepupandstandout 03/12/2019 / 11:03 am

    Absolutely fabulous stories! So vivid and full of wit and fun. Some excellent snippets of history mixed in with your personal point of view. Love your writing Joy!

  9. joylennick 03/12/2019 / 11:18 am

    Hi Georgia,

    Your kind comments are appreciated Looking forward to reading YOUR next, wise and sassy book!

    • joylennick 05/12/2019 / 1:04 pm

      Appreciate your reading and comments, Willow. Thank you. xx

      • willowdot21 05/12/2019 / 1:35 pm

        It always a pleasure Joy 💜

  10. Darlene 03/12/2019 / 11:19 pm

    Excellent! The story of the earthquake is well done although sad. It must have been quite a thrill to win first prize.

    • joylennick 04/12/2019 / 11:04 am

      Thanks, Darlene. To think the earthquake actually happened, did fill me with sadness.There’s so much tragedy in history and life…that’s why i love humour so much! Hugs x

  11. Wonderful Joy and what fabulous story.. so pleased but not surprised that you won first prize. Another lovely post and will share in the Blogger Daily later… hugs ♥

    • joylennick 04/12/2019 / 10:17 am

      So pleased that you enjoyed it Sally. Many thanks as always. Hugs xx

  12. Tandy | Lavender and Lime 05/12/2019 / 9:12 am

    Thanks for sharing the history, and part of your story. The Moors were an amazing culture with all their learning and understanding of the things around them.

    • joylennick 05/12/2019 / 1:02 pm

      Thanks Tandy. One thing about history – apart from the obscene butchery – is the rich culture, discoveries and talents of so many people along the way. Shame they can’t become more peaceful! Living in hope.Hugs xx

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