Tuesday, 28 June 2011

In search of culture

Studying the map of Sanxenxo today, I noticed “Pazo de Emilia Pardo Bazán” just up the hill on the edge of the town and decided to go and have a look.

Emilia Pardo Bazán is a bit of a feminist heroine: journalist and novelist at a time when women weren’t really doing much. She was noted for her naturalistic descriptions and by all accounts was rather influenced by the French novelist Zola. She was born in La Coruña in 1851 and despite being married off at 18 to
a Galician country gentleman, she was still active in Galician politics and a defender of Galician rights and so on.

There is a monument to her in La Coruña and I was interested to see what the pazo here was all about. Not terrible easy to find, was my first discovery. As with most tourist maps, there were roads that appeared to connect but in fact were blocked off by new developments. Some roads quickly turned into fairly open country. (Like many seaside places Sanxenxo has a few streets running more or less parallel to the beach so that no-one is ever more than a short walk away from the sea.)

But there were signs directing motorists towards the place and eventually I got there. It was a bit of a disappointment, I must say. I thought at first it was a new modern police station. It was the rather misleading sign saying Policía that did it. But in fact the police station was just next door. I did think it was odd that a police station should have a statue of a (rather plump,middle class matronly) lady novelist outside its doors, but then all things are possible.

Be that as it may, I had found the pazo and it was a
brand spanking new modern building with no obvious connection to the novelist apart from its name and the statue outside. It is, in fact, a local cultural centre where concerts can take place and cultural activities for Sanxenxo people of all ages. I am sure Emilia would approve.

On my way back I went past the new(ish) Sanxenxo church, identified on the map as the “Templo Nuevo” and was so struck by this strange and rather oriental looking edifice that I just had to take a photo.

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