Navarredonda de la Rinconada: The Capital of the World

By Nick Cortina

“At this table you learn a little bit of everything,” my host father Agustín loves to say at mealtimes. And it’s true; now retired but with a nearly 40-year career as a teacher for adults, Agustín imparts lessons of all types to me and my apartment mates at lunch and dinner.

One of his favorite activities is speeding through country capitals. “What’s the capital of Lithuania? Malta? Estonia? Cyprus?” he rattles off. (For those playing at home, the answers: Vilnius, Valletta, Tallin and Nicosia).

I admit that no matter how often he repeats those obscure capitals, geography just does not come very naturally to me and I always struggle to answer. Yet there is one that I will always remember, one that he has taught to us since my first day here in Spain.

“And the capital of the world is…” he says, smiling as he pauses for us to fill in the blank. “Navarredonda de la Rinconada!” we exclaim.

Chances are you haven’t heard of it. It’s both Agustín's and his wife Isabel’s pueblo, their hometown village just an hour away from Salamanca. I recently had the unique experience (dare I say honor—after all, it is the capital of the world) of accompanying them there.

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