Making The Most Of The Sun

This was my view of a neighbour's clothes line a couple of days ago!


Excitement For The Kids

As we enter the final few days of the school year, the timetable was set aside at the village school (7 - 13 year olds) on Tuesday of this week, so that the children could learn about various aspects of safety and first aid. No boring classroom lectures, though. Instead, all the various emergency services turned up, ambulance service paramedics, firemen, 'civil protection' volunteers, the Traffic division of the Guardia Civil and the local police. There were sessions covering first aid and resuscitation, mountain rescue, safe use of the internet, and firefighting.
Late morning a breakdown truck arrived in the centre of the village and dumped two elderly cars on the coach park. Those of us enjoying a coffee outside Bar Virtudes just above the scene, were then treated to the sight of our larger local policemen, aided by firefighters, jumping up and down on the roofs of the cars, whilst swinging sledge hammers through all available windows. Once the roofs had dropped considerably lower, the 'injured drivers' and 'passengers' crawled inside and settled down to wait.

The kids were assembled, the accident was spotted, 112 was dialled and shortly the sound of sirens could be heard as Guardia, paramedics and firefighters rushed to the scene from Nerja 6km away. On arrival, they secured the scene and began a major rescue operation, by the end of which the injured had been extricated and transferred by ambulance to hospital. All except one, whose injuries were of such concern that rapid transit was called for. And, lo and behold, round the mountain clattered the air ambulance which landed on the road. The final casualty was loaded safely aboard and whisked away 'to Malaga'.

They never dished up days like that at my school!


A Date For Your Diary

At last the dates and programme for the Festival of Three Cultures have been. I've raved about this festival before, and this year it looks even more packed with dance, music, art and crafts drawn from the rich heritage of the muslim, jewish and christian traditions of Andalucia, not to mention exhibitions, film, lectures and conferences, and, of course everything you need for a fiesta - sun, street theatre, food, drink.

You've got to get here if you can. And, if you're coming, let me know!

Once again, my attempts to embed a link have failed, so paste this in your browser:


A Day Out In The Country

Several years ago I came across a language exchange website through which I made contact with two people giving me the opportunity to work on improving my Spanish in a real communication context. One lives in Peru, the other, Isabel, in Sevilla. Isabel also has a village house in the Contraviesa de Granada, a range of mountains between the Mediterranean and Las Alpujarras. I knew Gualchos, the village where she has her house, from visiting there briefly many years ago when we thought prices in Frigiliana might escalate beyond our reach. So we were delighted to accept Isabel's invitation to drive over to Gualchos and finally meet up face to face, instead of communicating solely by email.
It was a drive of about an hour. Or rather it would have been had not my satnav been convinced that the autovia is open all the way through to Motril. It isn't. It should have been, but delays are endemic in road-building and so the misplaced optimism results in a major glitch in the database. Not to bore you with the details, I eventually got fed up with following one narrow, pot-holed road after another through hectare after hectare of plastic hothouses, and seeing a sign back to the coast, switched off the satnav and followed the longer, coastal route that I was familiar with via the town of Castell del Ferro.
From the coast the road then climbs steeply up the mountain for some 6km to reach Gualchos at about 400m above sea level. It's not the best of roads at the best of times, but yesterday was quite alarming as we encountered the aftermath of the winter rains. Great chunks of tarmac had simply split off from the main carriageway and headed off down the mountain, to such an extent that at one point the bare mountain had been bulldozed above the road to provide a way through. Fortunately my car has raised suspension and a sump guard, but I was down in first gear and still pitching and tossing like a small boat in choppy seas, while my wife turned an appropriate shade of sea green; partly motion sickness and partly rank fear! It made me realise just how lightly we had got off in Frigiliana, despite our moans about the volume of rain. We suffered hardly any damage to the road system by comparison.
In the village, we met up with Isabel and her friend, Paqui,who gave us a conducted tour, pointing out on the way a couple of houses which had collapsed under the volume of rain.
Gualchos is a much more 'Spanish' village than Frigiliana. It is sufficiently far from either Málaga or Almería airports to be protected from the mass influx of expats (Yes, including me!) that has changed the character of so many towns and villages along the Costas of Spain. There is, finally, some new development on the edge of the village, and a few of the old village houses have been bought and done up by Brits and Germans, but in essence it remains an arab village of the muslim era in Spain. The village church seems very large for the size of the population. That is because back in the days of Al-Andalus - like so many churches in these villages - it was the mosque for what was then a much larger community farming the sierras.
After a rare opportunity to spend several hours immersing myself in Spanish chat and conversation, most of which my wife could follow although she is not yet able to speak as well as she understands, we drove back to Motril by the old road along the high ground of the Contraviesa with wonderful views of the sierras and the sea, the slope of the land hiding the appalling sea of plastic from our view.


Some Interesting Background.

If you go to http://www.soltalk.com/Features/March%2009/Frigiliana.htm , you'll find an interesting article by Dave Jameson which appeared in the magazine, Soltalk last year, and which gives a fascinating insight into the street names you will encounter around the village.

I tried embedding it as a direct link, but for some reason that would not work.