What could Castilla La Mancha and Navarra have in common? Is it possible for some kids from Pamplona to have any interest on visiting a small location in the Alcarria region, more specifically, the town of Pastrana? And why would visitors from Pastrana would come to Pamplona in such a weird season as the middle of April?
Let’s organize all these ideas first. The common link between Navarra and Pastrana is a pipe organ. Yes, as you read, since the pipe organ from Pastrana was built by Domingo de Mendoza, a Navarre from the School of Lerín.
More curious facts: Both the parish church of San Román de Arellano, in Navarra, and the Cathedral of Sigüenza, share many decorative coincidences. I invite you to take a look to the parish of Arellano here
What Unites Us Today
However, the biggest link between Pamplona and Pastrana, and the reason of this strong relationship, is pure affection. This friendship was born through an exchange between Patrimonio para Jóvenes and the Association of Ladies and Gentlemen from Pastrana. They are the soul of the annual ducal festival of this town, as well as the stars of the theatrical visits that are held on the first Saturday of every month
Summary of our Shared History
One day while exploring different social networks, I discovered the account of the Tapestry Museum of Pastrana. It caught my attention immediately, so I got in touch with them as soon as I could. What a lovely surprise it was to find out they are an amazing group of people. That kind of people that motivates you to visit their hometown. Besides, I had already heard about Pastrana, because of the story of Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda, Princess of Eboli and Duchess of Pastrana.
As I put the Tapestry Museum on my pending list, I started to run the project about fashion in the altarpiece of San Julián de Ororbia in Navarre, with the help of Consuelo Sanz de Bremond Lloret. And well, I found out that Consuelo happens to be very close to Celia Alegre, one of the participants of the ducal festival in Pastrana.
9 AM and 22º C:
Summer. August. Madrid. It’s 9 in the morning and the day promises to be burning hot. However, this is the only day I have to visit Pastrana, so I don’t think about it twice. The fresh air running through the ducal palace, the parish church and the Tapestry museum soothe the heat. And so does the great treatment I am receiving.
It is an absolutely interesting place. To make the Navarre boys and girls get there is almost impossible. So I write down on my notes “Pastrana is extraordinary. But impossible to include on my list of places to visit”.
As I saw how the chances to organize a visit or an activity vanished, I wrote to Celia in order to propose a collaborative post. The kids from Pastrana had to send me their pictures, write and tell about what they do during the ducal festival and the theatrical visits. They did it. And suddenly, it happened: Pastrana. You can remember this activity here:
So Celia Alegre had an idea…
In order to discuss some issues about that post, I met Celia in Madrid on December, having a cup of coffee near Moncloa on a Christmas´ Eve morning. That’s when I told her that we won’t make it to Pastrana due to distance, a lack of direct transportation and additional costs like hotels and such. In conclusion, because of time, money and interests, a visit to Pastrana clashed against the main characteristics of Patrimonio para Jóvenes. We had to understand that both the kids from Pastrana as well as from Pamplona aren’t retired seniors willing to spend a lot of money and time in cultural activities. But Celia didn’t give up, and used her wildcard: an exchange
This meant we had to set a timetable and, in the case of having underage visitors, we had to let their parents meet each other, for them to coordinate and approve the trip of their children. It was January and everything was already going pretty well. The first weekend of April, the people from Pamplona, with some friends from Cuenca and Víctor Choza from Madrid as a photographer, would go to Pastrana, and the next weekend the pastraneros would come to visit us.
The coordination to pick up the people from Atocha, and Víctor from the university (poor Víctor had just finished a final exam) was excellent. As soon as they arrived to Pastrana they tried out the costumes. By the next day, our people were pastraneros who were right in the middle of the guided visits as part of the staff, involved in their presentation, being part of the place.
It was Patrimonio para Jóvenes at its purest. Add to the experience the Alcarrian food, the visit to the Tapestry Museum and the Carmelite Convent as well as the long walks and longer talks with their hosts.
That might be our key to success. We open our houses, spend our time and give our biggest efforts in order to offer a unique experience to the participants. We get involved so all the art and cultural heritage they discover remain in their memory as an exceptional experience, rather than vanish as useless facts.
In order to turn this dream into reality, we need tons of people. Generous people willing to help others without expecting some kind of reward, people with true love for their heritage, their history and their homeland. Just like the guys from Pastrana.
Pastrana is not only not imposible to reach, but it has become one of the best experiences of our association. Does anybody remember the “Adventure in the Mudéjar of Aragón”? Their protagonists will never forget it, and that will happen to the visitors of Pastrana.
Now I would love to tell you about the visit of the pastraneros to Pamplona… But that will be saved for the next post.