Underneath a framework of the wooden beams, the main wash house has been drinking the waters of the Remonicio river since 1872. And it does it amongst reflected threads of light and beams of sun, and also the luminaires placed on its three walls known as daughters of indiano. Because it was only thanks to a group of indianos (Spaniards who migrated to the Americas), who, once again, offered this gift to the village. Nowadays, the plaque “To their countrymen, from the children of Vinuesa, residents of Veracruz” tells us about philanthropic societies that sent their money (little or much) to the land that gave birth to them.
Its gable roof also speaks of the voices that no longer wash. Its fulling mills are no longer working, nor are those other wash houses under which the history of markets, huts and cattle tracks was woven. It was the powerful Mesta (officially known as the “Honourable Council of the Mesta”, a powerful association of sheep ranchers in the medieval Crown of Castile), which would profoundly impact the economy and the future of a region which thrived along its merino sheep herds. Because, although there was always grazing, the arrival of the Bourbons boosted trade relations with France, and, with them, the demand for quality wool. This was the beginning of a trading activity that would turn the province and the village into a prosperous place, whose fine wool, they say, was paid “at the price of gold”.
And it was so, because the wool had to be transported to France or to the harbours in Northern Spain, which became a parallel activity and one of the main livelihoods of the region: transport by cart. At the passing of the oxen and the robust carts under the wing of the Catholic Monarchs, the Cabaña Real de Carreteros, Trajineros, Cabañiles y sus Derramas (the collective name by which traditional agents of land transportation of goods are designated by ox-drawn carts) was created, based in the neighbouring village of Molinos de Duero. Just look at the large semi-circular doors that dot the area and imagine those cars that passed by, taking a break in many of this pinariega (from the pine forest region) houses. Other related testimonies also come from that era: in the current village festivals, when women wear the traditional piñorra costume, we can see the trace of the falda de carro (“cart skirt”) in them… And maybe this happens before or after having a serving of ajo carretero (“cart garlic”).
The 19th century brought the decline of the Mesta and, with it, the downfall of a village that once had three wash houses, and where 90% of the wool traded was washed, together with the town of Soria, the capital of the province..
Nearby, the Remonicio river makes its way underneath bridges and walkways. Among them is the Mari Pablo bridge, next to the main wash house, with low arches, built with elegant stone and pebble pavement.
Upstream, the more modern construction of the Calvera bridge offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the village. Further on, we find the Tinte bridge, made of ashlar stone and with a single semi-circular arch. It also boasts a stone balustrade, with a banister made of flagstones, and a peculiar drainpipe in one piece, also made of stone.
Other wooden bridges and walkways take us from one bank to another, to the wet and fertile riverside dotted with orchards and meadows.
In them, the smell of damp, the scent of a recent world, and the seasons leave their singular footprint: mycology, aromatic herbs, snowy landscapes, mountain flowers… and always the promise of a lavish land where roads, unspoiled nature and beauty abound.
And amongst them, another wash house, this one smaller, with a mono-pitched roof and rafters of beams. It was built in 1905, this time thanks to a donation by Juan Benito Mayor.