Moasterio de la Armedilla, Spain

Driving south from PeƱafiel toward Segovia, I came upon the ruins of the Monasterio de Armedilla.

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The plaque above shows a rendition of how it once looked. Today, you’ll find ruins of the main buildings:

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And here’s a look inside:

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It’s amazing how many ruins of structures like this exist in Spain. One need only drive along some of the more rural roads to encounter them.

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Just be careful doing any exploring. There many be dangerous conditions and creatures about.

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Ruins, Part 2

I’m working on a scene for my next novel, Under A Blue Flag, that takes place in this ruined house.

Ruins are great places for dramatic scenes. They’re abandoned, forgotten places where a character can meet his destiny or decide what it will be. If you remember some of those other posts I put up about atmosphere, you’ll know that ruins are also great for that purpose. They’re moody, full of history, reminiscent of the past, and sometimes pessimistic about the future.

The abandoned cunucu house shown in the photo above is actually in an area on the island of Aruba known as Paradera. My characters end up here after a series of wrong turns. I don’t want to say too much more out of fear of revealing too much. Under A Blue Flag ties in directly to its predecessor, An Island Away. Nonetheless, I’m writing the sequel to be a stand alone volume so that it is not necessary (but it would be a good idea) to read the first book.

Published in: on September 3, 2008 at 6:58 am  Comments (1)  
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Gold Mine Ruins, Aruba

There was a time in the early 1800’s when gold was mined in Aruba. It was nothing like the gold strikes in South America, but still, there were some thousands of ounces to be recovered. A massive stone building was constructed on the east side of the island. Here’s a look at what remains.

You can grasp the scale of the building by looking at the mini-van in the right hand corner of the photo. Those are big blocks they used. At any rate, these ruins are on the stop of most tours including the bus, jeep, and ATV programs that you will see advertised. This location is also not far from the natural bridge. Let’s have another look.

I’m not sure how that volcanic rock was cut. It must have been a difficult job. You can also see the size of the massive boulders on that pile of them to the right. Aruba is strewn with rocks like this, some of which are ten times the size of those. I’ll post photos of them later. For now, know that the gold has been taken from Aruba so there’s no sense bring your pans the way you might to Alaska. Still, the sun shines, the breeze blows, and the beaches are fabulous. Don’t forget your hat and sunglasses.

Published in: on August 2, 2008 at 2:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ruins, Part 1

Ever wonder… what happened to the people who abandoned a house you’ve seen? Here in Aruba, I come across the ruins of old homes from time to time. Judging by the style of construction, they are at least 80 to 100 years old. And given the condition they’re in, they must have been forgotten for at least 30 years. Here is one particular example.

This old cunucu house has suffered it’s share of abuse. The roof is gone. The east wall is pitching outward. Even the wall of the cistern has a crumbling corner. Of course the windows have disappeared. But if you peek in, you’ll see remnants of life inside. Take a look through the wall.

There are shades of paint on those walls. The lower portion featured a different color than the upper, indicating someone had a sense of style. Further on, in the distance is yet another color. Seeing these details leaves me wondering what happened to the people who lived here. They invested their lives into this house, chose the colors, ate their meals, slept under its roof. And yet, at some point, they left, never to return, never to leave the place in care of someone else.

It’s easy to think that hard times befell the former residents, or perhaps a tragedy. However, it’s also possible they inherited a fortune and left for some grand residence in another part of the world. Or, maybe they found somewhere new to live, one which provided them with so much more that their beginnings became irrelevant.

Either way, it is fascinating to think that someone would simply walk away from a perfectly serviceable dwelling, leaving the elements of nature to ultimately reclaim it. I have more photos like this and a few stories to tell about them. Keep checking for updates.

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 12:06 pm  Comments (4)  
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