It ́s not difficult to get into a conversation with the friendly locals, who love to talk! In case you do not
speak enough Spanish, we tell you here a few fascinating stories.
Our neighbours are in their 70s and 80s and only in their short lives have they seen dramatic changes.
When they were children, they had no running water, no electricity, rubbish collection nor toilets. The
road was a dusty donkey path. Eli had to go every day up the hills to collect spring water – the springs are
still running today. She then had to go down to the river to wash the family clothes.
There was no time for school, therefore many of the older people go now to night school to learn read and
write, having said that, they are all very intelligent people and full of wisdom!
During the worst Franco times, there was nothing to eat and the farmers took turns in protecting their
crops with guns, since people were desperate. Some remember having to eat soup made of grass, as there
was nothing else! One herb, which nowadays is used to season food, they call “life saving plant”.
The children had to guard the sheep or help with the harvest. People were totally self sufficient, growing
even grains like wheat and rye, they made their own bread and during winter also sausages and ham
etc..They had no fridges, so the meat was par-fried and kept in earthern pots filled with olive oil. They
still do that today – order a dish called “Lomo a la orza”.
Even today they take us up into the hills to look for wild asparagus or cactus fruit, tell us how they had to
collect esparto, a local grass, which was used to make string and all kinds of utensils!
There are many derelict houses in the hills, they all still have names, mostly the nicknames of the past
owners. Nearby is a hot spring, which is called the “fuente de la marana” (the wild pigs ́hotspring) – the
healing qualities of that spring was discovered by a wild pig who suffered from rheumatism!!
In autumn Elias takes us to pick almonds from a long abandoned orchard, for that we need to walk a few
ks along the river, which we have to cross also various times, an amazing day out!
One couple lived across the river in the Contraviesa mountains on their self sufficient farm, to get
married, they had to get up very early and then had a few hours trip on a donkey ahead of them to take
them to the church, down the valley, across a river and up the other side….sounds extremely romantic!
Now and again they gathered on someones farm for a small party with life music. The youngsters were
allowed to dance, but had to “keep distance” – all the older women sat on chairs next to the dancing
couples eyeing them carefully and if someone got too close they stepped in!!
…..if you would like to learn more about this amazing area and its people, you need to stay in one of our
holiday rentals in Andalucia and ask us.