On our final field trip, during a coffee break at a small bar off the highway, we saw TV footage of police clubbing peaceful protestors and dragging them out of the Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona, much to the distress of those of us looking on, especially the PhD students among us. One official reason given was a need to clear the streets before the footbal game between Manchester United and Barça the next day. Protestors, primarily young adults, had been camping out in Barcelona as they had been in Madrid’s Plaza del Sol. Hard to find any coverage of these nationwide protests in any Canadian media. But I did find a clip on BBC.
Between visits to stands of Maritime Pine in decline and an area where there is Gremmeniella abietina affecting Aleppo Pines, we had the pleasure of touring the Real Sitio de Ventosilla winery. It’s an impressive operation located in the heart of Ribera del Duero in the province of Burgos.
While tasting some of their white, rosé and red wines, we learned that the Spanish people have a much better term for “legs”, i.e. the glycerin content. They call them “lagrimas” – tears. The winery also produces its own incredible olive oil, which we sampled with crusty bread in between tastings.
For lunch we stopped in Reinosa de Cerrato at La Playa restaurant where several large paellas were waiting for us. Wow. Another wonderful meal.
At the stand of pines with Gremmeniella, Thomas Kirisits gave me a boost up into an infected tree to cut a sample branch. Then Mike Wingfield said maybe we ought to be looking at the roots 😉
When we got back to the bus, there was a picnic thougtfully set up under the trees for us with crusty bread, Manchego cheese, serrano jam, cold beer, pop and wine. By now it was almost evening, with a warm breeze flowing over us. After a presentation to Gaston Laflamme from Québec City, who has played a pivotal role in IUFRO, Mike Wingfield made a few final remarks to summarize the week. Then he asked me to lead a wrap-up that we had chatted about briefly earlier.
Since there were so many non-English speakers who had worked so hard all week to present their work or to listen to others in English, I thought it would be appropriate to hear all the languages represented at the conference. So I asked everyone to take a turn to share a highlight or insight from the week in their own language – we wouldn’t translate anything into English for this round. I invited Keiko Kuroda to go first, since she had come the farthest. Everyone participated, and I felt very moved to hear the music in each person’s voice as we went around the circle. There was a brief interlude for a group song that a few delegates had improvised in the smaller tour bus. Then we carried on. Another moment to cherish from an amazing week.
It was dark by the time we got back to the monastery for our last supper together. A few delegates had to leave before dawn, with various PhD students from the organizing committee getting up early to drive them to Palencia, etc., so the farewells began. Some took the opportunity to do a final email check – not always easy to pick up a wireless signal in a stone building, so a small group was clustered at the entrance near the router!