Tuesday, May 3, 2011

La tercera finca


Our third and final farm in Spain was also in Galicia, outside a city called Monforte de Lemos. The farm had several hectares of land with vegetable gardens, fruit trees and bushes, forest, and fields for crops and grazing their horse and donkey. It was owned by a couple, a German woman and an English man, with three kids. They lived in a massive stone farmhouse that they think is at least 400 years old, and the story is that the name for the farm comes from the surname of a French knight who was given the house as a gift from the Spanish after helping them fight in a war.

We worked mostly with the woman, Emmely, and an American named Laura who is living in Spain for the year and comes to Tanquian every weekend. And boy, did we work. We worked for five hours in the morning before lunch, and then worked in the afternoon until 8 o'clock, when we had dinner. It was a lot of varied work, which was good: planting, weeding, pruning, digging, cleaning, baking, more weeding. It was good to work so much because we learned a lot, but it was incredibly exhausting and by the end of our stay I was pretty burnt out. It was fun to work with Emmely and Laura because they knew so much about plants and gardening and permaculture (sustainable agriculture and land use). The days when Laura was there were always more enjoyable; we learned a lot from her and our interesting discussions made the work seem easier. Even though we only spent a handful of days with her during our stay, she made the experience all the more enriching and memorable.

After about a week at Tanquian, Christopher and I took a little impromptu spring break and flew to Paris to meet up with my brother, Chris, and my next door neighbor Peter. They have two friends who are studying abroad for the year in Paris so they decided to visit during their spring break. We stayed in a hostel in the Latin Quarter and had a wonderful time (obviously... it's Paris) with Chris and Peter and their friends. I've been to Paris before but it was fun to see it with a group of friends and from the perspective of students who live in the city. We did the museums and monuments; Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe etc., etc., as well as go to a very exciting Taylor Swift concert! It was so fun to see my brother and friends from home, and it was quite a change from life on the farm. It was an amazing trip and I was so glad that we were able to go.

We flew back to Galicia and got back to work. We stayed at Tanquian for another week and then at the end of March took a train across northern Spain to Santander. From there we took a ferry to England for the last leg of our WWOOFing adventure!