A Walk on the Wild Side

11 Apr

Andalucía is a region of contrasts. Magnificent cities, historic monuments, skiing, countryside and the famous Costa del Sol.  It´s all there and usually not more than a couple of hours away from wherever you are.

At the weekend we drove slightly north from where we live, over the border from Malaga province into Granada province, Big Man´s heartland and into some wild and rugged scenery.

Near his home town of Ventas de Zafarraya is an area of fertile plains.  A huge amount of vegetables are cultivated and grown there and this provides much needed employment for many people.

Moving north again you come to the beautiful town of Alhama de Granada and between these two towns are a series of lush green plains divided by area of rough, rocky, almost lunar landscapes.

Water comes up through the rocks and provides irrigation and drinking water for plants, animals and Cortijo dwellers.

Some Cortijos sadly remain abandoned, mainly due to the inheritance laws here in Spain which pretty much oblige you to leave your property to your offspring. When families have 10 or more children, it´s understandable that families were often unable to come to an agreement regarding whether to sell, divide or buy each other out.

After a magnificent lunch of goat cooked over an open fire we set off to walk to a local goat farm and buy cheese.

There were plenty of goats…

….and it was milking time.

Some of the group also bought milk, luckily I had been given some that morning by one of our local goatherds.

Posh Milk Bottles!

There were one and two week old kids….adorable!

A family of strange looking turkeys were keeping everyone in line out in the yard.

Our walk took us past a tree which the locals called a Millennium tree, because of its supposed age.

It took five women to get their arms around it….and sometimes it´s good to hug a tree!

And finally a walk back to the Cortijo for coffee and cake.  Sometimes the simple things in life are just what you need.


64 Responses to “A Walk on the Wild Side”

  1. cookinginsens April 11, 2012 at 09:19 #

    Goat is the other lamb.

  2. ChgoJohn April 11, 2012 at 09:31 #

    What a nice day you had! You are so lucky to have so many good dairy products readily available. I’d be up to my neck in cheese! And I know of baby goats. When I was 5 or 6, Grandpa bought a baby goat, which turned out to be our Easter dinner. We weren’t allowed to see the kid, so, of course we all had to sneak a peek before it was slaughtered. One peek wasn’t enough for me and I got in trouble a few times for being caught petting the kid in the few days it was with us.

    I was fortunate to spend a few days in Torremolinos as we drove along the Costa del Sol. I really enjoyed that holiday and hope to get back there again one day. Of course, when I do, I’m gonna find that mountain of yours and shock the heck out of ya! You’ve been warned! 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 09:34 #

      Your room is ready! And yes, those goats (well, the male ones at least as it was a dairy farm) would be destined for the table. Just like lamb….it was a fantastically clean and well run place so you can´t get all sentimental about it. Well, I try not to, I can imagine how you kids all felt!

  3. Tandy April 11, 2012 at 09:33 #

    how bleak some of the places look 🙂 I need to hug a tree! and try some goat …..

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 09:36 #

      It´s true – the contrasts are so amazing. I often think they could use some parts of that area to film something about moon landings! It was also a very overcast morning, so the dark clouds rolling in overhead made it all the more dramatic. Luckily it brightened up as the day went on. Can highly recommend hugging a tree 😉

  4. chaiselongue1 April 11, 2012 at 09:48 #

    What a beautiful journey with such contrasting scenery. The goats look lovely too – a different breed from the ones at our local farm. The kids are always sweet but I unsentimentally accept that without kids for the table there would be no milk for the cheese. Sad that the cortijos are left to go to ruin – it’s the same here with the village houses that end up being owned by 20 or more people because of the inheritance laws and then they don’t agree to sell, or it’s not worth it once the proceeds were to be shared between them all, so the house falls down.

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 10:00 #

      I think there are so many similarities between where we live – culture, food, music, way of life! It is indeed such a shame about the run down cortijos, and it´s almost impossible to buy one to restore as you need to get all family members on board and agreeing to sell!

  5. thecompletecookbook April 11, 2012 at 09:55 #

    What a fantastic day out you enjoyed Tanya – I loved all your pictures. So many wonderful places for you to visit on your door step – awesome. I wonder where I could get hold of some goat to cook and eat – really quizzy to know what it taste like.
    🙂 Mandy

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 10:51 #

      We are lucky and we have so many choices of places to go. Goat is very, very much like lamb. Maybe one day you´ll get to try it 🙂 I hope so!

  6. TheDorsetFinca April 11, 2012 at 10:23 #

    What fantastic pictures. It’s been a long time since I ate goat… the meal you had looked lovely. x

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 10:50 #

      Thanks, it was simple but good fun and nice to spend time in such beautiful surroundings.

  7. Val April 11, 2012 at 11:44 #

    Enjoyed the trip, thanks for sharing!

  8. promenadeplantings April 11, 2012 at 12:06 #

    Tree Hugger!!
    Seriously though it’s such a beautiful part of the world, and not one I know so thanks for taking me on your day out. I loved seeing the mini aquaduct/canal/water channels – very inventive but so simple.

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 13:58 #

      Yes, they´re clever. The troughs are called “pilas” and they´re for the animals and us humans use the top spout which they can´t reach! PS. I am in danger of becoming a serious tree hugger and growing a beard and wearing socks, sandals and baggy shorts 😉

      • promenadeplantings April 11, 2012 at 16:27 #

        Ha ha! Mind you the bearded woman look is not a look that every woman can carry off!!

      • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 16:38 #

        I´ll try most things once 😉

  9. gardenfreshtomatoes April 11, 2012 at 13:01 #

    Just gorgeous! Goat meat is a tough sell here in the states, unless you have a thriving immigrant community nearby…too bad, really. Tasty stuff!

    Those turkeys look just like the wild ones that live in my back field!

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 13:59 #

      I used to only see goat meat in the Indian and African markets in London – here it´s more common than lamb…at least, it is in rural Andalucía. The turkeys had blue skin which hung over their beaks…very weird!

  10. TBM April 11, 2012 at 13:43 #

    The landscape looks beautiful and from a different world. That’s pretty cool. Did you save any cake? This is the second blog I’ve read today with cake and now I really want some 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 14:00 #

      There might be a few crumbs left, but don´t worry, I´ll be making more!

  11. Mad Dog April 11, 2012 at 15:28 #

    Fantastic landscape and post – I bet that water system is a thousand years old too! I wonder if I could sneak into one of those abandoned Cortijos and rebuild it – wishful thinking 😉

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 16:40 #

      I know that many of the waters systems in the Alpujarra are ancient and I expect these water sources have been there for almost forever too! If you sneak into a Cortijo, we´ll come and be your labourers 😉

      • Mad Dog April 11, 2012 at 23:25 #

        The aqua ducts look like granite and it would take hundreds of years to cause that erosion – they must date back to the Moors or even the Romans…
        I’m very very tempted to sneak into a Cortijo – it’s been a daft idea in my head for some time. It’s sad to see farms and land abandoned. The trouble is I’m sure someone would tell or notice.

  12. niasunset April 11, 2012 at 15:40 #

    Wonderful post dear Chica… seems that you had a great day… I loved your photographs, ı can almost feel the ambience, the smell too 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us, Blessing and Happiness, with my love, nia

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 16:39 #

      We did Nia, we did! Hope all is well with you, sending you some Andalucían sunshine….

  13. chefconnie April 11, 2012 at 15:44 #

    Stunning. Thank you for sharing your day.

  14. Just A Smidgen April 11, 2012 at 16:36 #

    What a wonderful trip you’ve had.. I would love to have tagged along to see the scenery and especially that tree! Those goats were so cute, just imagine what you could make with that goat’s milk!!

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 16:45 #

      Glad you enjoyed it. I´ve already used my milk to make a custard, a rice pudding, yogurt and some went into ice cream!

  15. spree April 11, 2012 at 16:38 #

    Ahhh was lovely seeing your neck of the woods Tanya! Thank you SO much for the tour! (and could anything possibly be cuter than a kid goat? Other than maybe a baby elephant?…or possibly a baby orangutan?… Or possibly, and more likely, this baby I’m holding!) xoxo

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 16:46 #

      Thanks Spree so glad you enjoyed it. I agree, baby anythings are cute but real life babies are the best! Has your family recently expanded then or is the baby “on loan” from a pal?! Very jealous of you getting baby cuddles 😉

  16. Megan April 11, 2012 at 18:00 #

    Your pictures make me miss Spain more than ever! I loved that part of Spain!

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 20:45 #

      Ah, so sorry to make you nostalgic 😦 I´m pleased to hear of someone who knows this part of Spain!

  17. PendleStitches April 11, 2012 at 19:34 #

    I could weep at those abandonded properties. But I love the goats. Strangely our deeds allow us to keep goats in our garden. But not chickens. Bizarre. That said…they’d have to be pygmy goats!

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 20:46 #

      The abandoned properties are heartbreaking, they´re usually so lovely too. How strange about the chickens and goats…goats are bigger, noisier and rather smelly! Very endearing though…

  18. tobyo April 11, 2012 at 19:49 #

    such an informative post filled with fabulous pics! made for a great lunch break for me. thank you!

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 20:44 #

      Glad I was able to entertain you! Thanks for your kind comment.

  19. Purely.. Kay April 11, 2012 at 20:04 #

    I just love these photos. I love the farm and that cast iron pan definitely caugh tmy eye lol. This seems like the perfect trip 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 20:47 #

      Thanks Kay. Yes, we all have a few of those pans and a trivet thing to stand them on…well, us Cortijeros or country folk at least!

  20. Time To Be Inspired April 11, 2012 at 21:55 #

    What a fabulous weekend adventure. Makes me itchy to travel. Thanks for sharing.

    • Chica Andaluza April 11, 2012 at 23:01 #

      Thank you – I´m glad you enjoyed it. Sometimes it´s fun too to travel through the pages of other people´s blogs!

  21. zestybeandog April 11, 2012 at 23:52 #

    Lovely pictures! I love the goats so cute. About a month ago I saw some very cute 2 day old goats 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza April 12, 2012 at 09:55 #

      Hi Zesty – oh how I wish we´d taken that walk a week before then I would have seen the really baby goats too!

  22. dotdos April 11, 2012 at 23:59 #

    OH! Cómo añoro mi Andalucía! Muy bonito el post. Gracias!

    • Chica Andaluza April 12, 2012 at 10:04 #

      Lo entiendo, me siento lo mismo cuando estoy en Londres ¡aunque si es solo para una semana!

  23. Charles April 12, 2012 at 00:48 #

    What incredible scenery… thanks so much for sharing it with us. Makes me all the more determined to one day try and get out that way for a visit. It seems so charming and rustic in places.

    Is that your cake I spy in the last photo?

    • Chica Andaluza April 12, 2012 at 10:12 #

      Thanks Charles – it´s nice to show people that Andalucía isn´t just beer, sun and beaches! And yes, the last few slices of cake in the plate were the cake I made 🙂

  24. Bluejellybeans April 12, 2012 at 01:31 #

    Hola Tanya!
    Genial el paseo… me encanta poder cocnocer estos sitios gracias a ti y a tus posts 😉

    • Chica Andaluza April 12, 2012 at 10:14 #

      Hola Giovanna – es un sitio encantador, y muy diferente a donde vivimos nosotros.

  25. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide April 12, 2012 at 02:51 #

    Coke, America’s gift to the world! I love seeing your pictures and you’re so right. One minute I’ll be looking at a lush green pasture, the next a barren, rocky hill. Very cool.

    • Chica Andaluza April 12, 2012 at 10:15 #

      Those coke bottles, they get everywhere! Yes, that is a particular area of very dramatic contrasts – it´s quite extraordinary.

  26. hotlyspiced April 12, 2012 at 11:18 #

    What a wonderful and interesting traveling experience you are having. It is such a different part of the world. That goat farm looks amazing. What beautiful scenery! xx

    • Chica Andaluza April 12, 2012 at 12:17 #

      It is certainly beautiful and this was a particularly wild area we visited!

  27. Michi April 12, 2012 at 12:31 #

    What a wonderful day trip! 🙂 And yummy! Fresh goat cheese…
    It’s sad about the cortijos, isn’t it? I always feel like shouting, “Let me live there! I’ll learn to take care of it!” I actually got a summer job working at a wonderful cortijo with kids this summer – should be fun!

    • Chica Andaluza April 12, 2012 at 15:10 #

      Great news about your job – that sounds like a plan to me!!

  28. Caroline April 12, 2012 at 19:45 #

    You live in a pretty incredible place, Tanya! Too cool that that this gorgeous scenery and local farm is just slightly north of you. Love the photos. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza April 12, 2012 at 21:20 #

      Thanks Caroline – we think it´s pretty special and love exploring – there are still so many places we don´t yet know!

  29. dayphoto April 13, 2012 at 02:57 #

    I so agree…sometimes your really do need to hug a tree!


  30. idiosyncratic eye May 13, 2012 at 23:07 #

    Your landscape photos have made me homesick. It was interesting to hear that little fact too about inheritance laws too. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza May 14, 2012 at 10:06 #

      Have been on your blog but can´t work out where you´re from (am probably half asleep still!)…

      • idiosyncratic eye May 14, 2012 at 13:40 #

        Officially Somerset but with ties to an awful lot more places including Andalucía. 🙂

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