For the last nine years, “Siesta” at Spring Break has meant Siesta Key, Florida. Spain gives it a whole new meaning. Hola, this is Kenda Friend, sister-in-law of the travelling Friends, taking over the keyboard tonight as a guest blogger. In this land, siesta is commonly referred to as the break in the middle of the day. (You may have noticed Elizabeth’s recent post regarding how that mid-day slow down could be altered to impact the comeback of the Spanish economy – quick fact; 27 percent of the Spanish population is unemployed.) But perhaps more than stores closing in the early afternoon, siesta can mean finding magical moments to savor. This week has been full of them for our family! For example, the unbridled joy of the Friend cousins seeing each other when we connected Saturday in a breezy mountain parking lot could be called a “siesta moment.” Another siesta moment can be finding the flour in the grocery store so Tia (aunt) Elizabeth can make more hot cross buns. (Grocery shopping is a game of chance and a bit of charades when one doesn’t speak the language.)
Siesta moments have also been found on this trip as we’ve found the “hidden item” to which Rick Steves’ has referred to in his guidebook. For example, as we walked into the hill town of Segovia today, we gleefully spotted the Casa de los Picos (house of a thousand beaks) – a wall designed to hide a fine courtyard of centuries ago. Part of the adventure is moving as a pack of 10 – somehow in cathedrals and castles we all scatter in different directions, yet always find each other with ease. Siesta a few moments ago could refer to Brent figuring out how to get the electricity back on – important in this cool house. As advised by a Spanish co-worker of mine at Dow AgroSciences, we are staying in the “hill country” to where the rich of Madrid flee in the summer when the temps in the city are oppressive. (Sort of like what Lake Wawasee is to Indianapolis). The wind whips around this three-story villa in a mystical dance – which sounds romantic except when we are trying to sleep. The bedroom of Brody and Kaden seems to be the most quiet, and to where I fled last night at 2:30 a.m. seeking some siesta.
Siesta can also mean exploring the power of imagination. In Segovia, Alcazar was a fortified palace of the middle ages – turned prison for 200 years and then Royal Artillery School before the “museum” gig which began in 1862. As we walked through the stately room , we ponder things like why in the world were the ceilings so high, how could these rooms have EVER been warm? How could they have built this amazing aqueduct more than 2,000 years ago without mortar (or Advil after lugging those stones 100 feet into the air)? What would it have been like to live in this castle that overlooks the Rio Eresma – as a royal, or as a prisoner? What was on the mind of the person who named the nearby mountain “Mujer Muerta “ (dead women). One can only hope this spirit of wonder sticks a bit when exploring close to home in Indianapolis.
Siesta can also mean Sangria (yummy!), creating new inside jokes we’ll always share, taking a break to eat pastries and watching the kids master the metro system. Our time together is quickly fleeting, as we’ll return to the U.S. on Saturday (but only after we do our fashion walk on Grand Via and enjoy Tapas with our new Glee Club buddy!) Next year, this faction of the Friend family will likely be back on a Florida beach, but we’ll always have a bit of Spanish siesta in our memories to savor!