The propellers of the Army helicopter transporting the King and Queen provoked the first applause among the residents who had been waiting for Don Felipe and Doña Letizia since nine in the morning in the Pinofranqueado town hall square. The Kings have complied with the tradition established by Alfonso XIII of visiting Las Hurdes, a territory that Felipe VI’s great-grandfather knew a century ago and whose 35 farmhouses have nothing to do with what the King’s ancestor witnessed.
Don Felipe and Doña Letizia have found an area with progress, good road communication and a thriving tourism and agricultural sector, with beekeeping as one of the most prosperous businesses. Thousands of residents of the 500 square kilometers that make up Las Hurdes have moved to Pinofranqueado to welcome the King and Queen. The streets leading to the town hall were crowded. For this reason, Don Felipe and Doña Letizia -who winked at Extremadura wearing a green shirt and a white printed skirt- took 20 minutes to walk the 300 meters that separated them from the town hall. Everyone wanted to shake their hands and the Kings have squeezed all the ones they have been offered.
There, two girls dressed as hurdanas have received them and a group of students from the Los Ángeles school from the Caminomorisco farmhouse performed the paleo, a pastoral dance in which the rhythm is marked by the drum, the flute and sticks played by the locals themselves. dancers. It is a dance that had disappeared and was recovered with the visit of Don Juan Carlos and Doña Sofía in 1998.
“It is a joy to come to this region remembering the historic visit of King Alfonso XIII a hundred years ago,” wrote Don Felipe and the Town Hall’s honor book. “We want to greet and support all efforts to meet the needs of rural Spain” he also wrote before continuing the tour on foot through the municipality towards the Documentation Center of Las Hurdes.
Always accompanied by the music of the Tamborilero School, Felipe VI and Doña Letizia have not left a neighbor without greeting, nor a request without complying. Like two ladies who, crouched on the corner of a fence, begged for a greeting; or that mother who taught her month-old son to the Queen and she held him in her arms. They also listened to the anecdotes of the older ones, such as the ninety-year-old María, moved after shaking hands with the Queen, or that gentleman who brought them a book from the area. In a personal capacity, Don Felipe and Doña Letizia had an aside with the parents of the legionnaire Jordi Oñoro, who died while practicing military maneuvers in Almería and who was from Pinofranqueado.
The Kings discovered a plaque in the Hurdes Documentation Center that recorded their visit. Inside, they projected a video of the trip that Alfonso XIII made a century ago and held a meeting with a group of neighbors from the region. The famous uncle Picho, whose liqueur, Pichín Real, is famous throughout Spain, was not missing.
“It is an extraordinary experience to move around this country, through the most remote areas such as Las Hurdes”, confessed Felipe VI during the meeting, in which the Queen was interested in the educational system, in addition to soaking up the most traditional of the area. In the center there is a recreated Hurdana street and an exhibition of festivals of tourist interest in the region: the carnival and the enramá.
Don Felipe and Doña Letizia ended the day with a new walk, this time towards the Los Angeles River area, where there are some natural pools. It is the same river in which Alfonso XIII bathed naked. On its shore, the last residents of Las Hurdes who were waiting for the Monarch and his wife have been able to greet them and shake their hands.
Don Felipe and Doña Letizia have said goodbye at the foot of the Pinofranqueado bridge, where some curisos were still shouting and cheering the kings, who did not stop smiling, excited: “It’s wonderful. The cheek of the people is the best”, Don Felipe has confessed.
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