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When the Spanish ended their fevered Colombian quest for the golden city of El Dorado, they launched a feverish quest for souls. Landscaping with rocks They built missions, Catholic outposts that anchored settlements and haciendas and fostered European-style civilization in the untamed north of a vast new continent called South America.

One settlement rose in the Valle de Upar (later simply Valledupar). Pro landscape supply This pueblo, like many towns in the New World, began as a church surrounded by wooden and stucco structures. Frances bean cobain A few merchants did business, and little ranches with cattle pens dotted the flat swath of fertile savannah lands between rugged mountain ranges. Baseball field vector To the east rose a spiky ridge of the Andes that today forms the Colombian border with Venezuela. Football games on now To the west, a massif, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, soared straight out of the warm Caribbean to snow-capped peaks, the highest in Colombia.

Francesca, an indigenous Chimila Indian, worked as a maid in a Spanish household. Spring training arizona schedule A young woman with lustrous black hair, wide brown eyes, and the striking facial features of her native people, Francesca’s breathtaking beauty would be the stuff of legend.

The Spanish mistress of the house grew deeply jealous, no doubt due to the attention the servant girl drew from menfolk. Softball tryouts near me La dueña watched and waited for a moment to find fault with Francesca, and when that moment came, the mistress quickly dealt out harsh punishment. Facebook search people The lady cut off her servant’s long hair and had her publicly whipped.

As with Helen of Troy, the incident launched a thousand ships—or curare-tipped poison arrows, in this case. Softball cheers The Chimila tribe, joined by other local indigenous people, went to war with the colonizers. Landscape pictures An attack on the settlement killed many Spanish settlers, and all would have been slain, but for a miracle.

As the Chimila made a final assault on the church, legend holds that the Virgin Mary—known afterward as the Virgin of the Rosary—mystically appeared. Dripping springs texas hotels Wielding a supernatural cape like a matador, she shielded the holy structure and those faithful colonists inside from Indian arrows.

Surprised by this divine intervention, the Chimila fled into the Sierra Nevada. Little league pitch count chart North Colombia is dry country certain times of year—cactus grows along the Caribbean coast not too many kilometers north—and water is precious. Drip from my walk lyrics The Indians craftily poisoned a lake where Spanish soldiers sent to avenge the attack would need to water their horses and themselves.

Then, in her second dramatic deus ex machina moment, the Virgin Mary reappeared. Dripping springs high school football She passed among the corpses, one to the next, touching the dead with a heavenly scepter. Home design ideas pictures Like an army of Lazaruses, the Spanish soldiers rose to their feet, alive and well again and ready to fight.

Musicians here through the centuries developed the vallenato, a beloved roots music that blends three musical tributaries of Colombian heritage: the distinctive European accordion; a Native American rhythm instrument, the guacharaca; and an African American drum called a caja. Baseball online free Each April, the Vallenato Legend Festival brings the world’s best composers and performers of the form together in a musical celebration that ranks among the great folk culture festivals in all of South America.

Artists perform on stages all over Valledupar, competing in various vallenato categories: best accordion playing, best unrecorded new song, best child performer, best this ‘n that. Basketball games A highlight is a sort of battle of the bands: two vallenato players onstage at the same time will invent verses, trying in turn to outdo and outlast the storytelling of the other. Fantasy basketball draft simulator Vallenato players infuse the merengue, son, paseo, and puya rhythms of the tradition into songs overlaid with mesmerizing, emotional lyrics. How to lay block paving path Think of Hank Williams’s heart and Johnny Cash’s honesty set to hip-shaking Caribbean rhythms and jaunty accordion lines. Free landscape design software Alongside vallenato stages, famous performers from all over the world perform pop, salsa, and other genres. Orchard fencing Audiences dance and drink through the hot nights, reveling until sunrise wakes the town’s roosters.

Though home to 400,000 people, Valledupar is really a glorified country town. Facebook stock quote The vallenatos all seem to know one another personally, and everyone tells everyone else’s history, including that of the Castros, my fiancée’s family. Softball quotes Adela, born here, spent her first 15 years in a house with an upstairs window looking out to the stars. Micro drip As warm winds stirred a nearby almond tree, she dreamed of life ahead.

Trees matter here. Usa olympic basketball team 2016 roster I amuse myself by checking a weather app daily to compare temperatures in Valledupar with those in Death Valley, California. Football season start date About 300 days of the year, Valledupar is hotter. Watch nba finals online free no download Here the shade of a mango tree, green fruit hanging on stems like pendulums in grandfather clocks, feels like cool lotion.

Through this shimmering heat, the chilly Guatapuri River cascades down from snowmelt in the sierra. Dot pitch The river keeps Valledupar green, and it also freshens the spreading savannah lands with their cattle pastures, banana groves, and palm oil plantations stretching toward the mountains.

Cars cruise Valledupar streets shaded by mango trees and huge ceibas. Urban landscape The greenways and tree canopies feel remarkable in Colombia, where trees can be scarce around sunbaked town plazas and along crazily chaotic streets originally built for horses and carts. Watch mlb online free streaming Valledupar’s calles bring to mind lovely tree-shaded boulevards in New Orleans.

Next column, I’ll share more on Valledupar. Garden state parkway map This out-of-the-way spot in north Colombia isn’t a top tourist destination, apart from the annual music festival. Fantasy football rankings printable Still, it’s real. Baseball fielding drills Real Colombia. Jennie finch pitching Its legends, its vallenatos, reveal this fascinating nation and its culture.