Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Venta Viña P


All over Spain, at the side of the road, there are places called ventas. From the outside they just look like restaurants or bars but, as the word venta is related to sales and selling I wondered if, traditionally, they were a bit like roadside inns cum general stores. Ventas get a mention in el Quijote, Don Quixote in English, and in the Richard Ford travel books so they must have been around for quite a while. I imagined farmers buying their seeds and tools there whilst they drank large quantities of rough wine.

My thinking was conditioned by the traditional difference between English inns and taverns. As I recall, technically, an inn is a place to stay, drink and eat whilst a tavern is a place to drink and eat. It's a distiction that's long gone of course. I thought it was probably something similar with ventas. But the definitive Spanish dictionary says simply of ventas: a posada established by the side of the road to put up travellers. For posada it says a place to put up travellers. The only difference then is that a venta is, traditionally, out in the countryside and not in a centre of population.

I went in a venta today for the first time. It was certainly away from a centre of population.

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