One of the great delights of travelling is your constantly changing neighbours. One morning, we wake up down by the sea in a tiny village that time forgot, about half way between Motril and Almeria. A three minute walk on the beach takes us to a very interesting neighbour, Maria Rodriguez, who has spent about 10 years creating this extraordinary sculpture garden outside her house, facing the beach.
At our parking space below Orgiva, there is a quite a lot of passing traffic, but it is at a leisurely pace. As mentioned in a previous chapter, there is a donkey, who comes right up to you, looking for company. There’s also a horse that is tethered on the wild grass for a few hours each day. Later in the day, a goat herd passes through with about 30 very well-fed goats and a handful of dogs.
One night, an Italian couple park their van near us. We meet the next morning and after an hour or so of chatting, invite them to lunch. Frank happened to cook a pasta dish. Given the choice of using our pasta or theirs directly imported from Italy, the Italians choose their home spaghetti. They also bring a bottle of Chinotto, a slightly bitter drink from a fruit similar to a mandarin, and a sweet tomato puree made by the slow cook movement. Frank’s Ratatouille passes the Italian test, he gets the nod of approval
They are very friendly and invite us to use their internet in the house they have rented a couple of hundred metres up the road, so we have a good session catching up with family and friends and sorting out Tango Mango bookings. Every time I see a booking of someone from the ‘Mango Family’, I look forward to our return in the Summer, to spending 10 days with all you precious people; dancing, reconnecting, teaching, laughing, chatting and playing some of this delightful music in the Orquesta.
For more photos especially of the sculpture garden, go to flikr. I’ve translated the sayings, you can read the translation if you hover your cursor over the picture.
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Once a month, there is a second hand market in Órgiva, so we arrange with Lynda to show us a nice way up from the river where we are parked to the centre of town.
By the time Lynda arrives, we are not quite ready – the mornings seems to draw out, what with getting Emma shipshape and me practising my bandoneón, and not to forget a leisurely two course breakfast… Frank has bought me a metronome, so now I am seriously improving on my speed for the variaciones of Juan D’Arienzo’s pieces, practising every day for the Orquesta Tipica of this Summer’s Tango Mango.
Linda and her dog have been here for many years, they know every little path. For a little while, we follow the Ruta de Olivos, admiring the ancient olive trees and listening to the many stories that Lynda knows to tell about the people who live either side of the lane before she turns off down a little path and into the fairly dry riverbed. We walk up the hill in the shade of the steep banks, coming out at the bottom of town where the gypsies keep their animals. The market is in full flow with about 30 stalls, offering all sorts of second hand things plus a few stalls with handmade items of leather and jewellery, soaps and stained glass.
I find an outlandish hat – well needed as the sun is really getting hot these days – Frank swaps some of the books we have read with new ones and we chat to quite a few stallholders. We come across a stall with a lot of very beautifully crafted jewellery where one particular pendant, a Labradite set in a swirl of silver, really calls out to me. We spend a bit more time going up and down the market before returning to the stall, only to see a second pendant, equally beautiful but different. In the end, we decide to buy both of them, they kind of go in a pair, and as we hadn’t got round to sorting out wedding rings in time for our marriage, this feels like they might be our wedding pendants.
We stroll back home with our riches, choosing another way down the hill and discover that there is a little Steiner School, set in an old olive grove (we’ll get some photos in the next couple of days when there are children), as well as a Sufi community and various other communities, all right next to each other. It all looks very beautiful and calm and quiet, with the terraces dropping down to the river, and these ancient olives everywhere.
Back home, Frank prepares lunch while I have a quick dip in the river to cool down. We have a visitor too, a very nosy donkey, looking for company…
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