In Soutomaior Castle, the camellias mingle with the roses. A fragrance and a colour which should take pride of place in the coat of arms of the Castle, in contrast with the fierce medieval fortress that it once was..
Pedro Madruga once lived in Soutomaior as a feudal lord quite given over to hangings and the sword and who went so far as to lock Bishop Don Diego de Muros in a cage, parading the spectacle throughout the region, making a laughingstock of that man of the cloth. In those days there were no camellias in Soutomaior, but certainly there were chestnuts in abundance, and perhaps grapevines as well.
Much later orange trees, eucalyptus, palms and of course camellias arrived. In the beginning there were clusters of camellias here and there in the park, finally spiraling around the hillside, forming garlands of colour. White camellias, as immaculate and fresh as cream cakes in a basket. Big ones, open like yellow and red dahlias. Then there are the roses, of course, in every shade and shape.
Rose-coloured in this case means shell-pink, the almost inevitable colour of fallen camellias. Their dark golden petals, almost ochre, are arranged like carpets in intricate arabesques in the streets of many Galician towns for funeral processions or for the important celebration of Corpus Christi. Perhaps so as to make amends.