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.
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.