Monday, July 25, 2011

Saturday, July 23, Excursion

La Rioja:  San Millan de la Cogolla y La Guardia

These two plaques inside the monastery Yuso in San Millan de la Cogolla (La Rioja region) show the first record of written Basque (Euskera) on the left and Spanish (castellano) on the right.  Below you will see copies of the Latin texts that the monks were working on and trying to translate into the common languages that the people in northern Spain were speaking before these languages had a written history. 
Hardly visible here, but obvious in the margins up close, are what are called the "glosas emilianenses."  That is, glossed notes in the margins of the Latin text written in both euskera and castellano to explain the Latin, since only the very well educated could understand the written Latin in the eleventh century.  These glosses are like the annotations we write in the margins of our Shakespeare books so we can understand what Romeo was really saying to Juliet. 

Even though truck stops have certain reputations in the US, our lunch on the way to Laguardia (in English) was quite exquisite.  The "patatas a la riojana" were some of the best stewed potatoes I have ever tried.  I'm not a big fan of cured meats, but this Iberian ham (jamon iberico) was sweet and buttery.  They take great pride in feeding their pigs acorns to produce the best jamon iberico possible.  We then went to Laguardia (in Spanish), a walled city full of narrow streets and charm to walk off our lunch.  The town specializes in bodegas that cater to the wine aficionados of the world.

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