Thursday, 10 October 2013

a misadventure and a slaughtered sheep.

It is a very tired and weary couple of Will and Jordans that greet you from blog world today. Turns out, after two months in genteel Europe we've gone soft and are having trouble re-adjusting to the crafty "sales techniques" of those who live in the not so lucky world. But. Take it back about a fortnight.

We ended up staying on at the finca in Spain for an extra week, not really for any particular reason, just because we liked it and both decided it would be stupid to cut our time there short. And it is a good thing we did. We gained two anecdotes to add to our repetoire from that week.

After finishing work one afternoon- and after our afternoon nap- we decided to walk out to an old monastery, set in the hills behind the finca. We set off at about 5, and it was quite a pleasant walk, through the valley, up along the ridge, down through olive and carob groves...then we realised we had been walking for more than an hour and the monstery was still a mirage in the distance. Being sensible, we thought, 'we should go back, don't want to get stuck out here in the dark'. Hahahaha...oh how we laugh. Now. It was most definitely not funny when we were running around like panicky idiots on the top of a mountain at dusk, staring at a wall of impenetrable, prickly shrub that stood between us and a delicious pizza dinner. (Actually, it would have looked quite funny...we were in no mood for frivolity though, you understand.) Anyway, we were on the ridge because we knew we could walk down a slip in between two of the hills. We just didn't know that by the time we found the slip it would be dark. So there we were, panicking our way down a rocky, prickly, slippery, ankle-breaky "path", in the dark, with only the thought of the wild boars that would surely snuggle up to us if we didn't make it home to keep us going. We made it home. Scratched up legs, huge appetites and a story and we were home.

Then the week went on. We went for a couple more walks- strolls really, safely along flat ground. Visited another old English couple who fed us a huge roast dinner with banana split chasers. Saw more charming villages. Hung out with the dogs. Painted a bit. Then it was our last day- for real this time- and we were ending it with a memory that will last forever. Our first sheep slaughter. That's right, we are well on our way to becoming real country people, who can kill and chop up a sheep for many a future dinners (I say well on our way...that may be an exaggeration. We were in fact giggling hysterically through most of the "operation", and I may, at one point, have had my photo taken holding a knife and fork next to a dangling sheep carcass...). But it's a start. I know what bit loin is know. And I know I will never be a vegatarian- seeing all the neatly cut up joints on the table set my stomach a-rumbling, even as the dog was licking up sheep's blood off the floor.

So, we knew we stayed for a reason. But then we really did have to leave (it was getting to the point that we probably would have adopted the finca as our second home and Cathy and James would have found themselves with two new grown-up children). We took our cue from the ducks and headed to Granada.

A wonderful city is Granada. And not only- though this is probably a large part of it- because of the 'free tapas with every drink' thing they have going on. Seriously, 2 or 3 euro (that's $3 or $4) and you can have a beer or wine or sangria and you will also get a little dish of stew or a piece of pizza or some meatballs. These Spaniards, they know a thing or two about the good life (you know, except in regard to the economy and running the country smoothly; food, drink and sleep though- they have it down!) But Granada is also a very wanderable city. The Arabic area climbs up a hill in all its whitewashed, tiled charm to several fantastic panoramic city views (edit out all the ipad-wielding tourists). The main city centre is walkable and dotted with little plazas of fountains and trees. There is the majesty of the Sierra Neveda mountain range in the background. There is a river and watching, steadily and serenely over the city, the Alhambra. An Islamic complex comprising palaces, unimaginably beautiful gardens, and everything else needed in a royal complex back in the day. It is a relic from the days of the Moors and (I'm sure) a world heritage sight. It would be a huge mistake to come to Granada and miss it (and we nearly did). But we lined up from 7am, in the rain, to get a ticket and it was truly worth it.

And for now, that is the end of our European adventure. I do, however, get the feeling we will be back on its welcoming soil before too long. Morocco is a little more difficult than we'd like at the moment and it is, after all, just a short hop across the water. Those Portuguese tarts are calling to us...

(Also P.S. no photos again, back to the imaginations I'm afraid, at least for now).

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