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Spanish Secrets: School's Out For Summer

...Like a mirage in the desert, our eyes feasted on an unimaginable site. A body of water surrounded by conifers and framed against a backdrop of lilac toned mountains, topped with a cloudless, pale-blue sky...

Craig Briggs brings another gorgeous glimpse of rural Spain.

The first win of the season is always a cause for celebration.

‘Town have won,’ I announced, ‘1-0 away to Millwall.’

‘That’s nice dear,’ replied Melanie, trying to sound interested.

‘Do you fancy going out for a drink to celebrate?’ I asked.

‘That sounds like a good idea,’ replied Melanie.

Within half an hour we were heading off to the bar at Os Chancis. It’s not the closest watering hole, but it’s one of our favourites. We ordered a bottle of red wine and relaxed: sipping the wine and soaking up the scenery.

Customers came and went. The evening slipped by and the sky darkened. From behind the distant mountains, the moon drifted upward into a cloudless night sky. Hundreds of feet below us, dappled patches of silver light danced on the dark water of the river Sil.

‘This is the best hour of the day,’ said Alex, as we stared out across this mystical landscape.

Alex, and his partner Keka, run the bar as part of an outdoor activity centre based in the nearby village of Rosende.

He had just finished his final shift, captaining their luxury river pontoon. His small launch offers guests a far more intimate and personal experience of the river, than the larger river cruisers.

‘Do you know anywhere nearby that will still be open for dinner?’ I asked.

Other than tapas, at one of the bars in Sober, he thought not; but the mention of food prompted him to tell us about the Escola de Hosteileria in Rosende.

This educational academy provides training for those wishing to enter the hotel and restaurant trades. Throughout the academic year they hold public events, at discounted prices, to allow their students hands-on experience.

We were aware of the academy’s existence; there are signposts in the village, but not its exact location.

‘It’s opposite the lake in Rosende,’ said Alex.

Surely there couldn’t be a lake in Rosende, the village is situated on a high plateau, but Alex insisted. We thanked him for the information, settled the bill and headed home.

The existence of a secret lake in Rosende had aroused my curiosity. The very next morning we set off in search of this mountain reservoir. We drove through the village and past the church as Alex had suggested. Before leaving the village we turned left and crept slowly down a narrow lane. A short way along, the asphalt ended and the surface became uneven and potholed. After another 50 metres the track opened up into a small parking area. The place was deserted. We parked in the shade and set off to explore.

A flight of old, stone steps led upward and away from the car. The morning air was still and warm. A bead of sweat ran down my brow as, with a mixture of excitement and apprehension, we climbed the weathered steps.

What would our climb reveal?

‘Look at that,’ I said in surprise, as I peered over the top step.

Like a mirage in the desert, our eyes feasted on an unimaginable site. A body of water surrounded by conifers and framed against a backdrop of lilac toned mountains, topped with a cloudless, pale-blue sky.

We strolled around the edge of the lake, viewing its natural beauty from every possible angle. On returning to the car, we were greeted by another impressive site: a gracefully ageing Pazo (manor house). Nestled within its extensive grounds was the hospitality academy. This modern building fitted comfortably into its ancient surroundings.

Our doorstep discovery has left me eager for the school term to start and the opportunity to sample some gastronomic delights.

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To have a look at the secret lake at Rosende and the gracefully ageing Pazo, click on
http://openwriting.co.uk/gallery/index.php/Spanish-Secrets/PICT8049

***

Craig has written a book, Journey To A Dream, a vivid and entertaining account of how he came to live in Spain.

It is available from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Journey-To-Dream-discovery-industrial/dp/1480254932/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374567185&sr=8-1&keywords=craig+briggs

Do visit Craig's Web site
http://www.journeytoadream.co.uk

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