SPAIN: In Search Of Spanish Gold - Coronado's Children

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Europe' started by Jfet, Feb 10, 2019 at 10:50 AM.

  1. Jfet

    Jfet AH Elite

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    I was born in Texas in the late summer of 1964. Summers in Texas have a habit of running really late. I was not born into one of the flashy up and coming cities of Texas like Dallas or Houston but in the sleepy backwater of San Antonio. A city at that time was still very connected to its past. I have fond memories of family walks along the river. The smells of freshly made tortillas coming from Casa Rio on Commerce Street. I was always fascinated by the sounds of a mariachi band as you walked under the live oaks on Military Plaza on your way to the Alamo. It did not take much imagination to hear the Spanish voices on the street in front of the Spanish Governor’s Palace for a boy of 10 to 12 years to imagine the fate of the Spanish Frontier being decided on the patio besides the tree shaded garden.


    My parents came to Texas in the late ’50’s. Maybe like many southerners, trying to escape a clouded past but mostly looking for opportunity. They would both earn college degrees and become educators. Dad would become a college professor. My father came from a family of story tellers. In the times that I spent at my grandmother’s house in Alabama there were many evenings in the summer with the kitchen windows open and the soft southern breezes drifting through that I listened to my uncles tell amazing stories. Yes, I have an uncle that during WW2 engaged a Japanese submarine off the coast of Attu Island with his M1 rifle and sunk it. Well, he did empty his clip at the sub and the sub went down. I never remember those evenings being sweltering. I recall being amazed and hoping that one day I could have stories to tell like that.


    Most of the year I was isolated in Texas from these amazing men and their stories. One day, though, Dad came home with a book entitled, “I’ll Tell You a Tale” by J. Frank Dobie. It was filled with stories that enchanted a young boys imagination. These were stories of a time in Texas when the six flags were colliding. There were stories of Spanish Conquistadors surviving brutal winters and severe draughts in search of El Dorado. There were tells of pioneer women outsmarting Comanche Indians and of bears fattening their own pigs on pilfered corn in the stump of a dead live oak tree. It was great reading made even better when my Dad would read aloud. He could master the accents of the characters which made the stories real.


    As I moved into being a teenager, my uncle’s stories and J. Frank Dobie’s’ books were not forgotten, but put aside. High school football, girls, college, Princess Bride, jobs and man cubs brought me into the 21stcentury. In 2016, as I was preparing for safari in Namibia, I was at a local used book store when I ran into Dobie once more. The book, “Coronado’s Children,” had been placed on a table haphazardly with other books but like an old Spanish treasure map, it was just visible to the passerby. I knew I had found a gem. I had not read this book. So, I decided to bring it with me to Namibia as reading material
    during the daily siestas. In this book Dobie compiles the stories of lost gold in the southwestern U. S. It start with Coronado and his search for the golden cities of Cibolo. Eventually, you read of others that have gone on that search for Spanish Gold and thus can trace a lineage to Coronado. Little did I know as I sat in the shade of the camel thorn acacia tree reading this book while waterbuck came to drink at the water hole in the warmth of a Namibian winter day that I would be starting my search for Spanish Gold and join the family of Coronado.

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  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    :A Popcorn:
     
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  3. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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  4. stug

    stug AH Fanatic

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  5. Jfet

    Jfet AH Elite

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    (Note to Dear Reader: Dobie, O’Henry, and Jack London wrote with the most modern technology available to them. In the same premise the Dear Reader may want to click on the link below for the soundtrack from the Indiana Jones movies as they proceed forward in the account of this adventure. )


    Saturday of the Dallas Safari Convention 2018. It is almost to the end of the day. The floor is starting to clear as my son and I wonder through the exhibitors. We come around a corner and there in front of us is a living conquistador. Bruno Rosich, is the owner of Trophy Hunting Spain. He is a lean powerfully built man. A man that in his youth probably was a decent soccer player but today is a man that makes his living pursuing Ibex and sheep through the mountains of Spain. I am convinced that his smile causes the scales at his home to tip 20 pounds heavier. We are drawn to his booth almost by fate, and for the next hour Bruno spends a tale of Spanish treasure. He speaks of mouflon sheep in the Pyrenees. He thrills us with the accounts of Ibex hunting in Beceite Mountains. There are tales of Spanish cuisine, wine, and hospitality. He takes us back into the history and glory that is Barcelona.


    As the potential for adventure germinates in my mind, I realize that it might just be possible to travel to Spain and hunt. I have spent my career coaching high school football in Texas. That means you kiss your wife good by on August 1, the first day of practice, and tell her your will see her hopefully after Thanksgiving. You do this, though, you know your players are great kids and will be fine young men. However, you know they just are not athlete enough to get that far into the playoffs. However, if you make plans for going to Spain to hunt over Thanksgiving Holidays, those little football players will rise up and do the impossible. During the preveous football season, I had noticed that my ability to outrun my offensive lineman had decreased. I had started discussing with school administrators the possibility of not coaching and just teaching. If this plan could be put in place then I could go to Spain in November.


    I mentioned to Bruno about coming and hunting with him during Thanksgiving and I watched his smile diminish. He showed me his calendar and that week in November was full for the next several years. He asked if it was possible to come in October and we could also hunt red stag. I said no that would have to wait until retirement which was several years away. With some sadness we shook hands and parted ways.


    In late July, Princess Bride and I had finished unpacking from our family adventure in South Africa. I was checking my email and saw that I had received an email from Bruno. He had a cancellation. It was during Thanksgiving. I was not coaching football. I looked at PB. She looked at me. I sat down and wrote YES back to Bruno. The search for Spanish Gold was going to take us back to where it had started. I was going to the land of Coronado and Cabeza de Vaca!

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  6. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I like where this is going.
     
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  7. huntermn15

    huntermn15 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Looking forward to one for sure. Great start!
     

  8. Jfet

    Jfet AH Elite

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    The Caballeros


    (Note to Dear Reader: If you are in Austin, Texas and find yourself on the campus of Texas University, the Dobie Center, a major residence hall, is named for J. Frank Dobie. That is not bad for an English Professor. Dobie was born on a ranch in Live Oak County, Texas. He grew up learning to handle cattle from the caballeros that worked for the ranch. It was their stories that inspired his writing.)


    November 16 departure day.

    In my previous trips to Africa, I have purposely planned the departure for at least a weak after school finished. This gives a leisurely time to pack and make last minute runs to Cabela’s. The week prior to this departure would be much more intense. A biology test to give. A review to be finished. Consoling parents and instructing them that their child’s life was not ruined because they made an 85 on the test.


    4pm did finally arrive. Princess Bride and I headed to the airport to catch the 8:30pm flight to Heathrow. If I need to save money, I should not be going on trips like this. Thus I do not feel guilty about booking my overseas flight as business class. If this was the 19thcentury I could book a cheaper passage aboard ship for I would be able to stand and walk about for the week it took to cross the Atlantic. I cannot sit in those small seats in the economy section of airplanes for multiple hours and be able to guarantee that my legs can work afterwards.


    Though business class in American Airlines is not as overtly luxurious as Emirates there is a comfortableness that comes with the easy American grins of the flight crew. A good meal and a little 18 year old Glenlivet single malt scotch had me waking up just before arrival in England. I assume it was a good flight.


    Stephan Maturin, a major character in The Master and Commander series of books, tells his particular friend Captain Jack Aubrey of the British Navy that the only civilized contribution that the English have made to world culture is breakfast. A quick stop at the Admiralty Club allows me to participate in one of my favorite hobbies, eating breakfast. I am on vacation. I am hungry and thus a brick would have tasted scrumptious. Princess Bride is not in agreement with me. We quickly clean up, grab our bags, and start boarding our plane to Barcelona.


    Barcelona, the heartbeat of Catalonia. I learned about Barcelona from reading the Patrick O’Brien stories of Capt. Jack Aubrey and his surgeon Stephan Maturen. Many of their adventures are based on Lord Cochran’s very real exploits. In the book, “Master and Commander,” Aubrey and Maturen use a sloop of 12 guns to attack and capture a Spanish frigate with 36 guns. As we fly over the Mediterranean into Barcelona I realize that this story took place below me. Treasure is already being found.


    Princess Bride and I are met at the airport by our driver that has been arranged by Bruno. Growing up in Texas I was used to hearing Spanish spoken with great rapidity. I was amazed to hear our driver speak slowly with the gate attendant as we left the airport parking lot. He had a soft southern drawl to his voice. He drove us to our hotel in the Ciutat Vella of old Barcelona. We were maneuvering through streets that are 100’s if not 1000’s of years old. There is a reason European cars are small. They have to fit through those streets.


    As the sun sets we arrive at our hotel, Hotel Banys Orientals. It is a little boutique hotel in old Barcelona. We are warmly met at the hotel by the staff. Though, I have grown up in Texas I do not speak Spanish. The staff, though, is very fluent in English and exceptionally willing to help you in any way possible.


    If you think the roads are small in Europe, the elevators, that have been added to buildings that were built before Ben Franklin started playing with kites, are very small too. We did manage to fit our luggage and both of us into the elevator. Our room was a comfortable, cozy, and very small with a welcome shower and plenty of hot water. Our Thanksgivings are usually spent at the 3BH Ranch where there is no showers.


    Armed with many recommendations from the hotel staff, we left the hotel to find adventure and supper. We turned left down Argenteria and joined the people of Barcelona as they enjoyed their Saturday evening. The weather was pleasant and it seemed that the rain would hold off until Sunday. We strolled a hundred yards and came to the Placa de Jacint Reventos. There we decided to eat at the Basque Restaurant. I was introduced to tapas and a tapas bar. Tapas are small finger foods. These foods may consist of cured meats or seafood on hard bread. You pick up a plate and walk down the bar choosing the different tapas. When you are done eating the waiter counts your toothpicks and calculates your bill. There was a time in my life where I could have spent a very large sum of money at such a place.

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    As you walk into this restaurant you walk past the butcher shop. This restaurant is known for their steaks.

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    PB and I decided to sit at a table on the plaza and order one of their steaks. The waiter brings out a platter on which you may choose between a small steak or a large steak. Both steaks are large even by Texas standards. PB and I choose to split a small steak. At the end of this meal I am tremendously thankful that in Texas we learned to handle our cattle from the Caballeros of Spain. I am especially grateful that we learned to cook our steaks from them too. IMG_6197.jpeg


    Treasure found
     
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