Friday, July 27, 2007


Ham and Hospitality

I'm in Trevelez, the highest village in Spain, staying at an official campsite that is probably the highest campsite in Spain. I'm on the highest level of the campsite. So I'm high. But not as high as I was when I went to the hippy camp near Orgiva a month ago... Poor joke.

Sore legs are mine, as I've been walking a lot. I walked a lot when I was staying in the Valle, taking every opportunity to visit the surrounding villages. I remember a long hot tramp back from Ugijar and two much more pleasant hikes up to Montenegro, one with Djembe the dog, another with Barbara, a German visitor to the Valle. But Trevelez is a base for much more serious walking, up into the Sierra Nevada, mountains that frown down at the Alpujarras in the same way that a metaphor frowns down at a simile, or a simile frowns down at a smile... Well not quite that way.

I left Cadiar late and couldn't find the path to Berchules: it was too dark despite the moon. So I slept in a field just beyond Nechite (another pretty Alpujarran village) and listened to the sounds of the night -- chiefly the echo of hunters' guns and the squawks of unknown animals, probably birds. The Spanish love hunting. It's slightly disconcerting: there's always the worry that a hunter might shoot a wild camper by mistake. There were many shooting stars. And once a rocket... The Spanish love fiestas. In the morning I walked up to Berchules, a fairly short distance but uphill all the way under a blazing sun. Although it was early in the afternoon, Berchules was preparing for a celebration of some kind. Rockets went off and loudspeakers blared distorted flamenco music.

I caught the bus to Trevelez and enjoyed the ride along winding roads, higher and higher. A sign outside the village proclaims it as a significant home of 'Ham and Hospitality'. Trevelez is divided into three parts, the bajo, medio and alto sections. The alto is the smallest and most engaging, a cluster of maybe 20 houses on a conical hill. I walked up to No.10, Calle Fuerte, which seems to be the highest house in the highest part of the highest village. The path to Capileira begins near here. Tomorrow night I'll probably be sleeping closer to the stars than I've done before. Sleeping outside has its disadvantages as well as its pleasures: this morning I woke to find a dead ant in my left ear.

lol dead ant!
i got an live insect inside my inner ear once...
it's funny trying to convince several medical doctors that you're not imagining things...
Tell me Rhys, are you planning on publishing a travelogue? A sort of wierd Bill Bryson-type journey through the non-tourist parts of Espana?
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