Rachel’s Wanderings in Spain – 1 Introducing myself and ‘my’ bit of Spain
I’m very happy to be joining this eclectic group of rambling writers from all around the world. I’m in Spain, but let me start at the beginning and introduce myself. Born in Yorkshire more than half a decade ago, my family moved to the south of Birmingham and I spent all my school years there before moving south to Somerset for work.
I met my hubby and we lived in Devon, until 1996 when with two young sons we moved to the olive growing province of Jaen ( pronounced Hi-en) in the north of Andalucia (I use the Spanish spelling). Now three sons later, the youngest unbelievably 20, we will soon have been in Spain for 23 years and married for thirty years next year.Which is incredible. Where did 30 years go?!?
Anyway Jaen, or the Sierra Sur de Jaen (Jaen’s southern mountian range) is, as all of Jaen province, covered in olive trees. There are over 66 million of them just in Jaen province, I’ve no idea how many there are in Spain, I guess Google knows, but I’m not asking. Not right now anyway.
So, I live in a tiny hamlet with elderly Spanish neighbours up the road and down the road but not too close! My real next door neighbours are olive trees, walnut trees and now empty barns. The old ladies of the hamlet were my introduction to local recipes and foraging, they helped me learn Spanish and I amused them with my ‘lack’ of knowledge.
Peace reigns here in Andalucia except sometimes the birds are incredibly noisy and my chickens too can shout at times! Around 80% of the year our door is wide open and quite often when we go out too. We don’t bother locking the cars in front of the house and if someone we don’t recognise walks past we wonder who it is.
I can walk from the doorstep(s) in any direction and try to do so for an hour a day (not telling you how often I fail!) The downside of living in the middle of nowhere is that a car is needed to do any chores.
So here we are at the end of April, having had a late and wet Easter or Holy Week and heading for our next Bank Holiday or Fiesta – 1st May which isn’t May Day but Labour Day or Day of the Worker here. May is the month of a spectacular natural display of wild flowers, which this year after the recent downpours should be an incredible tapestry of colour and variety.
In the larger towns and cities 1st May is May Crosses, a time when huge flower-decorated crosses appear in nooks and patios to welcome the spring. In Cordoba my neighbouring city the May Crosses festival then leads into the internationally known and Unesco listed Patio Festival. A time when private patios are open to the public as well as the judges for viewing and judging the display of plants, pots and water features belonging to private individuals across the city. I’m hoping to get there again this year and also to some of the smaller towns across the province which also have a competition for their floral displays.
This last week saw hubby and I off on a hotel review visit between Granada city and Malaga city in the town of Villanueva del Rosario – Cortijo Sabila was our destination, a write-up will soon be on one of my blogs – Luxury Spain Travel, it is one of the hotels we visited for my portfolio of Spanish Boutique Hotels – Only Spain two years ago. I always like to return to see the updates hotels in the portfolio have made.
Having always been in tourism and hotels I do enjoy visiting and writing about them, we also have a holiday rental home, not too close to our house, which we rent out all year round. This year we’ve gone digital detox. No TV, no wifi and no mobile coverage inside the house.
As a teacher of English, these days only private classes, the long summer holidays for me start at the end of May (not long now.) The schools finish around 22nd June, until 15th September, infants and secondary respectively but our local town feria is on 22nd September so I don’t start my classes until 1st October when the feria has finished all the kid’s extra classes have been sorted.
So four months holiday you’re thinking. Yes! But it is summer then and the temperatures can and often do exceed 40c – that makes working, even thinking difficult at times. But long, lazy evenings on the patio, shorts and vest from early morning until early evening, siestas (for hubby) or retreating indoors until around 8pm when it’s a little cooler outside. Each season is very different, but the one we’re in right now, spring, is my favourite. Not hot, not cold but bursting with life, colour and budding olive trees for the next harvest beginning in December.
See you in two weeks!
If you want to check me out I can be found here..