Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Day in the Country

Dear readers, I'm sorry I don't have exotic escapades to report--rockin' on high seas, heeling in a storm, or swimming with sharks. Alas, our days in southern Spain consist mostly of picking, eating, shoveling, relaxing, reading. I am content. Next week I leave Pope behind and travel via three buses, a ferry, and a train for Fez, Morroco; perhaps a more daring endeavor...?

For now, our most exciting adventures are excursions beyond the farm. On this Easter weekend, we joined our hosts, Dave and Gill Armstead, owners of Finca La Paz, for an afternoon in the country. A haze over the hills allowed glimpses of distant, higher peaks. (Today, Easter Sunday, they will climb one of the mountains. Normally I would welcome such a hike; this year, however, I must baby my foot with mini-walks.)
First stop on our sunny Saturday: the market. Not just any street market, but an organic eco-fest with spelt flour, dried figs, candied ginger, homemade chocolates, body oil, organic dog food, and bohemian people.

We tested the coffee, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and carrot cake. We munched on tiny coconut meringues on edible rice paper, We decided we favored the manzanilla olive oil (bottle on the left).
Onward to the La Vinuela Hotel, tucked into an oases among the dry slopes, for an elegant lunch--Dave, Gill, Dave's father Raymond, Pope, and me feasting on baked manchego cheese, freshly made tortellini stuffed with wild mushrooms, passion fruit sorbet.

We finished the day with a screening of Monty Python's "Life of Brian" at a community center in the next town, Nerja--complete with wine. (Our hosts are British; this area if full of expats), followed by tapas accompanied, of course, by more wine.

Last week, Pope and I borrowed the Renault with the right-handed steering wheel and headed down the hairpins and up the other side of the valley to Torrox, one of the Costa del Sol's "white villages" and the closest town to the farm. A favored pastime: lounging in sidewalk cafes, or on a bench in the main square, soaking up sun. When in Spain, we feel obliged to do as the locals do: have a beer.

Today, as our hosts make elaborate preparations for their mountain trek, Pope and I commemorate Easter Sunday with another jaunt back to Torrox to see a religious processional from the church to the town square, followed by another drive into the countryside.

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