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The Iberian Horseshoe — A Journey

Part III. South East

When is a Bridge not a Bridge?

Steve Porter
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapOporto, Ponte Dom Luis

The students were talking excitedly about bridges. Álvaro was going to make a bridge on the beach at nearby Santa Pola, while Sabrina was going to make one up north in the Andorran mountains.

“If you tell someone in Britain that you are ‘making a bridge’ this weekend they might think you are very clever but they will misunderstand you,” I said to them.

I’ve always struggled to find a decent translation for the Spanish expression, hacer puente. It is something like having a long weekend though it could fall midweek. Many Spaniards would not expect to work on the seventh of December. The sixth is the Day of the Spanish Constitution while the eighth is the Day of the Immaculate Conception. The seventh, though not an official holiday, forms ‘the bridge’ between one holiday and another.

Unfortunately for English teachers this period coincides with exam time and I spent the December puente at home photocopying, cutting and copying exercises. I also bought a pair of trainers from Enterprising Nun, a Christian shoe shop in Elche. It might have been the Day of the Immaculate Conception but the poor still needed charity and the Sister on duty was doing her best to make a sale. She told me to try the shoes on.

“They suit you,” she said.

“I know but I’m a little bit short at the moment.”

“Don’t worry about that. You can take them away today. How much can you leave as a down payment?”

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Copyright ©Steve Porter, 2004
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Date of publicationFebruary 2007
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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