|Early morning in Maqueda - by the|
15th Century Juridical marker
The town was important to the Moors and the name comes from the Arabic Maqqada - meaning stable, firm or solid. The castle dates from the last third of the 15th Century and the town used to be the capital of the Dukedom of Maqueda. The only part left of the Moorish fortresss is the remains of the watchtower. The church forms part of the town's defences (as does the cathedral in Ávila). There are also Roman remains including a capital which is now a holy water stoup.
|In Maqueda just next to the juridical marker|
When reading about Maqueda the guidebook mentions (on more than one occasion) the novel called Lazarillo de Tormes. Apparently Lazaro was given a thrashing by the parish priest of Maqueda and had to beg alms in the neighbouring villages to survive. Curious as to what this was all about, I met with our helping friend "Wikipedia" to gain more insight. It is a Spanish novella which was published (in 1554) anonymously because of its heretical content. It is referred to in Don Quixote.
|The obscured right turn off the old carretera out|
of Maqueda. The arrow is a little way down the track
when usually there would be one on the road or the
triangular sign on the left here...
Besides its importance in the Spanish literature of the Golden Age, Lazarillo de Tormes is credited with founding a literary genre, the picaresque novel, from the Spanish word pícaro, meaning "rogue" or "rascal". In novels of this type, the adventures of the pícaro expose injustice while amusing the reader. This extensive genre includes Cervantes' Rinconete y Cortadillo, and El coloquio de los perros, Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, and Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Its influence extends to twentieth century novels, dramas, and films featuring the "anti-hero".Lazarillo de Tormes was banned by the Spanish Crown and included in the Index of Forbidden Books of the Spanish Inquisition; this was at least in part due to the book's anti-clerical flavour. In 1573, the Crown allowed circulation of a version which omitted Chapters 4 and 5 and assorted paragraphs from other parts of the book. An unabridged version did not appear in Spain until the nineteenth century. It was the Antwerp version that circulated throughout Europe, translated into French (1560), English (1576), Dutch (after Flanders revolted against Spain in 1579), German (1617), and Italian (1622).
Lazarillo introduced the picaresque device of delineating various professions and levels of society. A young boy or young man or woman describes masters or "betters" with ingenuously presented realistic details. But Lazarillo speaks of "the blind man," "the squire," "the pardoner," presenting these characters as types.
Significantly, the only named characters are Lazarillo and his family: his mother Antoña Pérez, his father Tomé Gonzáles, and his stepfather El Zayde. The surname de Tormes comes from the river Tormes. In the narrative, Lazarillo explains that his father ran a mill on the river, where he was literally born on the river. The Tormes runs through Lazarillo's home town, Salamanca, a Castilian university city. (There is an old mill on the river, and a statue of Lazarillo and the blind man next to the Roman bridge [puente romano] in the city.)
Objections to characters not being "high-born" continued to be made in the literature of other countries for centuries. It resulted in censorship of novels by Pierre Beaumarchais, one of whose plays was used for the operatic libretto of The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The 1767 première of the German comedy Minna von Barnhelm, by Gotthold Lessing as well as the 1830 première of the French drama Ernani, by Victor Hugo caused riots simply because these dramas featured middle-class characters, rather than nobles or religious figures.
Lazarillo is the diminutive of the Spanish name Lázaro. There are two appearances of the name Lazarus in the Bible, and not all critics agree as to which story the author was referring when he chose the name. The more well-known tale is in John 11:41-44, in which Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. The second is in Luke 16:19-31, a parable about a beggar named Lazarus at the gate of a stingy rich man's house.
In contrast to the fancifully poetic language devoted to fantastic and supernatural events about unbelievable creatures and chivalric knights, the realistic prose of Lazarillo described suppliants purchasing indulgences from the Church, servants forced to die with their masters on the battlefield (as Lazarillo's father did), thousands of refugees wandering from town to town, poor beggars flogged away by whips because of the lack of food. The anonymous author included many popular sayings and ironically interpreted popular stories.
The author criticises many organisations and groups of persons in his book, most notably the Catholic Church and the Aristocracy.
These two organisations are clearly criticised through the different masters that Lazarillo serves. Characters such as the Cleric, the Friar, the Pardoner, the Priest and the Archbishop all have something wrong either with them as a person or with their character. The self-indulgent cleric concentrates on feeding himself, and when he does decide to give the "crumbs from his table" to Lazarillo, he says, "toma, come, triunfa, para tí es el mundo" "take, eat, triumph - the world is yours" a clear parody of a key communion statement.
In the final chapter, Lazarillo works for an Archpriest, who arranges his marriage to the Archpriest's maid. It is clear that Lazarillo's wife cheats on him with the Archpriest, and all vows of celibacy are forgotten.
In Chapter 3, Lazarillo becomes the servant of an "Escudero" or squire. Wikipedia
|The beautiful walk from Maqueda to Escalona|
|You can jump over here or there|
is an even better place more to
the left with a deeper channel
and slightly higher ground
|Arrow is on the red roofed shed on the right - some|
distance from the left turn onto this track
|Escalona Castle through the trees - a very Medieval|
|Akina admires the view from|
the bridge into Escalona
After the "big climb" up we followed the arrows through the narrow medieval alleyways toward the Plaza Mayor - a lovely open space with a veg market - even on this Sunday! Next to this was a fabulous "churreria" where we had a tasty tostada, a coffee and some hot chocolate with fresh churros! Yum. Well deserved I'd say! The lady was wonderful, as being a Sunday the ayuntamiento was shut and she did not have a stamp, she called the local police and arranged for me to go and get a stamp there. I trotted off to the station and after a few moments hunting for the bell, a young policeman came out and pointed to where I could get in. He was keen to speak English and was a huge fan of Liverpool Football Team and told me he had spent holidays in Liverpool and London and was going again. I chatted a bit in Spanish and him in English and what wonderful, friendly and helpful policemen - pretty much as I have experienced in every encounter with the police here. He wished me a Buen Camino and I headed off to the cafe to finish another coffee and then stock up with fruit in the market before heading off toward our overnight stop in Almorox.
|A "welcome" sight - the welcoming committee!|
|The Sunday market and sign to|
|The wonderful churreria itself! Do visit!|
|Puerte de San Miguel|
the exit gate from Escalona
The track is then one hellish rough and rocky climb up onto the plateau that leads to Almorox. It was tiring and only reminded me of the hill climbs to come (!) There were also an abundance of scrambler bikes who were a tad surprised to see us on the track - but the lead rider slowed and signaled to the others that there were other "users" of the track ahead.
|The "Roman bridge" below Escalona and before the|
rocky pathed climb!
|The view from my balcony in Hostal San Jose|
It was in Cadalso de los Vidrios that we had an unexpectedly good meal. It's always the way, you aren't expecting anything, it's a small town and not busy. You are recommended a place to eat and you will take anything as you are hungry, tired and just want sustenance before bed. The bar looks average and then you get served the most delicious and delicately cooked meal! I'm not into veal, but Michael had the thinnest and tenderest of veal steaks cooked to perfection - and he's been looking for the same standard ever since of course. This will turn into another "perfect crème brûlée" hunt - sorry readers - an in-house joke! Sadly I can't even remember the restaurant, but if you stay at the San Jose, the lady there is bound to recommend it! This same wonderful lady also had a private and quiet parking area at the back of the hotel (just under my balcony) and allowed us to park there and use it as our camping area with the dogs. Perfect! It also meant that in the morning, with our drive back to Almorox, we would leave in good time as Michael did not have to drive back to pick me up. Having located the start of the next day's route, we were all set... but mentally, I had no idea what lay ahead. It was to be my hardest day on the Camino, and not at the expected point either!