Friday, 7 October 2016

Alcalá de Henares: La Casa de Miguel de Cervantes

Wandering around the center of Alcalá de Henares on foot even without a map was as easy as munching down churros with a hot cup of chocolaté. Each turn was as interesting as the street before, just like each churro bite was as interesting as the one I just gulped down.

And since I was in the birthplace of the great Miguel de Cervantés, it was a must that I visited his casa. And right along the Calle Mayor, his home welcomes admirers of his literary works, as well as tourists.
The tour of his home is free, and thanks to the Comunidad de Madrid that turned his ancestral home into a museum, it is well maintained with professional curators watching over the place all year round.
    (La puerta de la casa de Cervantes)

To keep the house protected, they extended a plastic roof over the house to add a cover over the yard sitting in the middle of the house. But according to the curator, the temperatures around the area weren't that freezing or scorching during the time of Cervantes. They were just generally mild, as far as I understood his spanish. Yes, I had to make use of my years studying spanish at school and at Instituto Cervantes. So, I conversed with the curators in the language Cervantes wrote his works in, and I think I probably understood what they were saying. I think. Ja-ja-ja!
(Grade schoolers playing around the statues of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza)

I had to buy a souvenir from the museum, and I got me a book about this famous casa in Alcalá. And coincidentally, Seńor Juan Jose Lleno, one of the curators, told me he had an ancestor named Fernando de Campo Redondo, a friar who used to live in Manila during the 18th century. I was surprised Señor Juan could remember his own ancestors from three centuries ago! He must be a very good historian.
        (I think this is the fanciest arinola                  (chamber pot) I have ever seen; 
           it's sitting inside a bedroom)

As I roamed around the Cervantes house, I wondered which part of the house Miguel would sit down to write his stories. He probably would have picked the most quiet corner and just scribbled on because, as the house was along Callé Mayor, it would have been a noisy area. Or perhaps, he would walked to the nearby gardens and wrote from there?

Just outside the house are statues of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, a very popular photo spot. That day, a few grade school students were having fun posing with the two famous characters created by Miguel de Cervantes. These students probably have studied his works and might have had some fun doing so. 
And just like those young Spanish students, being welcomed to the Cervantes home by Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, I also learned a few things about the man who became the greatest writer in the Spanish literary world.

¡Muchas gracias, Don Miguel!
(Pretending to be reading the book about Miguel de Cervantes' house. Muchas gracias, Señor Juan for taking my photo!)