Two At Large in Spain 2006-7

December 27th

Our first hike


We rose a little earlier this morning, and headed out of town on our first ramble.

The walk took us through that strange mixture of chaotic building site and rubbish-strewn farmland that is this region of Spain. Paths and tracks are paved with a mixture of broken bricks and tiles, rusty iron, plastic bags, rubble and concrete. Here and there electricity cables criss-crossed our route, dangling from rusty pylons. Everything is either not quite finished or is beginning to crumble. The poshest new houses are still surrounded by heaps of crap, even when they've been lived in for a while. How can people live like this? I'm generally an untidy bugger, but the edges of my property are edges, not blurs of concrete and weeds and bricketage and flapping plastic and half-built breeze-block walls. Every fence is sagging or collapsed. Every roadside tree contains a tattered plastic bag or two. Everywhere lie fragments of those hollow red bricks from which all the local buildings appear to be roughly constructed, the clumsy brickwork being hidden beneath generous layers of concrete. Am I being a snob? Probably I guess. There is certainly a general lack of, well, taste amongst the barbeques, the blue-tiled swimming pools, the clunky distressed oak furniture, the cheap ceramics, the rooftop water tanks, the webs of wires, the satellite dishes, the dark grey locals, the flabby ex-pats with their too-short trousers and splayed feet and grumpy teenagers, the fat women, the beer-bellied men, the sour shopkeepers and tourist office clerks...

This late afternoon we headed for Nerja and its healthfood shop, where we found unsweetened soy milk! The town was full of wandering (perambulating, bored) Brits and Germans. A sea breeze was blowing. Two skinny early-teenaged long-legged girls in tiny denim skirts strolled through town with a dog, all innocent awareness, enjoying the illicit effect they were having on every male they passed (including me). We bought maps. This evening we sat for a while in the Roca bar in the centre of Cómpeta, simply absorbing the atmosphere of a Spanish town in winter. Then back home to make rissotto...



Canillas de Albaida