My mom's family is big, 5 sister and two brothers, in Spain this means a catholic family in Franco times, a religious family. There were several monks, nuns and missionaries over the world if we count uncles, aunts, cousins and second cousins of my mom.
One is left at the moment, her brother Jeremias (my uncle). So long I hadn't visited him my father drove me there for spending one night, the monastery where he lives is "Abadia Cisterciense de Nuestra Señora de la Oliva" (Monasterio de La Oliva, shorter) from XII century a.C. They belong to the Cistercian Order. Located in the Kingdom of Navarra, the castilian part (south). The only period the monastery was without monks started at the Napoleonic invasion from some years and then again they were kicked out around 1830 until 1924 when they came back. Main activities... "Ora et Labora". Vine, olive oil, honey, cheese and the most important products they make being red wine the first.
My first time in this place was when I was 8 months old, after that during my childhood I have visiting this place once or twice a year, now living here last time was at least 8-9 years ago.
Every place you are going to watch, every roof, every stone a kid could climb to, I did it meanwhile the were praying "Nona" and "Vigilias". Im not much a church guy, but this place has something special... activities I have done in this place during my visits:
- Ringing the End of Work bell, this is inside the church, just in the middle of the plan-cross, my uncle pulled down the rope I grabbed the rope and then the bell (several hundred kilograms) took me 3 meters up and down again repeatedly
- All the process making wine, taking out bad herbs, picking up the grapes, stepping the grapes until my feet were back, making cider, etc... Btw I don't like wine
- Binding books, the only way it can be done, by hand.
- Writing the name of a past monk on its funeral tombstone.
- Playing the organ, the like Nemo Captain, they have one
and it sounds amazing when you play it.
- Climbing rock stones, walking the roofs visiting the strok nests.
- Feeding cows, pigs, chickens.
- Making cheese.
- Trying to pray. Sorry no luck.
- Sitting down in the church, nobody else, finding peace.
Well, after remembering all these things I get why its special, no bad memories at all from here, only happiness.
To business! Weather was a mix of cloudy and hazy sun with clear sky during the evening time.
1) Where the name come from, the tree of the olive.
2) Frontal of the church, storks have been nesting the church since I have memory, recently they places spikes to prevent it, hundreds of kilograms were perishing the structure.
3) Entrance gate from the inside.
4) Old hostel for visitors.
5) Old refectory, that irrigation ditch goes underground after leaving the monastery and take us to the Aragon river channel to the river 500 meters away (straight line?) when I was a kid an small monk went with a worker and a rope
The left wall is the cloister and the right one the old kitchen.
6) Favourite tree of this monastery, the cypress.
7) Cloister from the inside, north entrance. I had no chance to photograph the small basement of the column arcs, next time.
8) Cloister east side.
9) Cloister west side.
10) One big cypress on every corner
11) Well in cloister, when I was a kid the well had no grille
I never ever thought of going down
but those roofs yes I was
12) Nest on sandstone rock
Tree stroked by thunderbolt, pretty common storms during the summer time and sometimes just electrical storms. Outside the monastery.
Old cider press near the cellar, Im pretty sure I made this one work.
Thats it, on flickr there are some other pictures, main ones are here. Now you know a little more of one small place in Spain and a lot more about my childhood.
Here you have a map from 3D Google with the location and direction of every photo.
On the way back to Bilbao there is a small town named Santacara, it has a high hill from which you see all the surroundings, in Spain this means there is a castle there (Castilla - castle).
This one is mostly destroyed, only left is the half of "Torre del Homenaje" (Tower Keep)
I hope if you ever come to Spain you can go to any of the places I shoot, they are not touristic places on guides but they are worthy for all the things you have to see/watch and learn in your way.
Thank you for watching.