between the lands

Jessica and Andrew’s travel journal

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Lost in the Land of Jamon-Perdidos en la Tierra de Jamon0

Posted by Jessica in SPAIN (March 22, 2007 at 7:47 pm)

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We finally made it to las Alpujarras (Al-poo-har-as), a gorgeous area of several small pueblos nestled among beautiful mountains. The Alpujarras are well worth the nauseating 1.5 hr bus ride thru twisting mountain roads. Yee haw! Our friend Dino came, too. He’s mad cool y’all!
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We took the morning bus to Orgiva, the hippie conclave of the region.
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There we saw flyers for a protest that very day, in another town we weren’t scheduled to reach until sunset. Oh well, it was nice to see that folks were saying NO to developers. Spain has a lot in common with Florida………

ANDREW SEZ: CIMG0113 a up bannister.jpgYeah basically rich Spanish, English, Germans and others are buying up all the land, building condos and golf courses in the countryside or in ancient pueblos. Rent and the price of housing is now more than 10 times the average yearly salary, and there is a constant drought in a semi desert environment. You can click here to listen to a radio story I recently did about an anti-development protest in Granada.(its the last story in the show).

Pampaneira—-This town was SO QUAINT! ALL the buildings are painted stark white.
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Several towns in the Alpujarras have old-school public laundry stations where all the ladies used to… FROLIC… washing out their family’s underpants… in cold water over stone scrubbing platforms. In Morocco we saw women doing wash in an identical old-school setup. AL-ANDALUZ!!!
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Here’s where things got interesting. We decided to skip the bus to the next town and walk it instead! It was a beautiful day and the sun was smiling… we took the ancient footpath to Bubion. The view was fantastic, and the trail was just challenging enough to be fun.
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In Bubion there was a cool little folklore museum. Just an old house (500 YEARS OLD!!!) preserved in its last lived-in condition (1950’s). We could see the INTERIOR of a house of the region (CUTE) and see the typical tools of everyday life. This particular house belonged to rich folks, so they had the rooms for animals, wine-pressing, pantries for storing the fruits of the fields, etc. CIMG1084 winepress.jpg

ANDREW SEZ: These towns maintain some pretty slow rhythms..
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We strode easily to the next town, Capileira. Also gorgeous, and also all striking white on the side of a mountain.

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We loaded up on local wine, cheese and bread to get us thru the night. I also got a new belt and wallet at a very nice leather shop—they made the holes in the belt for me while I waited. My pants had been falling down so I was quite pleased.
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A night in Trevelez– THE JAMON CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!!! And MAYBE the highest point in Spain, although the claim is almost always qualified in some way that makes me suspect… CIMG1168 trevelez with clouds.jpg
Anyway, they make a shitload of Spain’s favorite snack – Jamon Serrano. Yes, it really is just a raw pig leg, salt-cured and air-dried. Then you slice it paper-thin and eat it up – every single day. And in Trevelez, they make the best jamon Serrano in Spain. There’s jamon legs hanging in every window and the stuff is literally pouring thru the streets! Those lucky dogs of Trevelez…
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We spent a nice night in Trevelez, drinking local wine – which was VERY STRONG! Then got up (hung over) with every intention of walking the 4 hours to the next town on our agenda – Busquistar. But, the fates were against us this day…….
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Unlike the other paths we had walked, this path had FORKS, had OPTIONS. And we, without fail, took the WRONG fork EVERY TIME. As it was Sunday, and the following day was a school day, we really needed to make the last bus back to Granada. But, we didn’t. We walked all day. It was beautiful, but we knew we were lost.
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ANDREW SEZ: in a bit of cosmic humour, we could always see villages across the giant valley, but there was no way to figure out how to get to them, or how many hours they were from us. The most poetic moment came around the time our bus was to leave, a rainbow appeared, and led directly to the town which we think was Busquistar: our planned destination.
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Finally, at sunset, we found the LAST trail to the FIRST village we could find that day.
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We took the trail in the dark, with help from a novelty lighter which some kind folks had given us along the way. We made it, at long last, 20 km and 8 hours after setting forth from Trevelez, to the blessed village of Portugos.
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And we found a hotel to let us sleep in beds. And we took the 6am bus back to Granada so we could make it in time for class in the morning…

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