Over the last couple of years, Julie and I have travelled all over Andalucia, for our enjoyment and to garner material for articles for our website and this magazine. On our journeys, we have encountered many examples of kindness, pride in their culture and the desire to trust their fellow man that are, to me, characteristics of the Spanish nature.
I am not talking about the tab system in bars and ventas; although that is endemic in all the inland areas, I am talking about something that goes much deeper, best illustrated by examples.
In Cabra, Cordoba province, we went to the Jurassic museum. It is in a municipal building and was firmly closed. However, the custodian of the building, who doubled up as a watchman and general office administrator, had a key. He unlocked the museum, gave us the key and asked us to return it to his office when we had finished.
A similar occurrence happened in Jaen province. We went to an Iberian sepulchre called Toya. It is miles away from anywhere and, when we arrived, was fenced off with pointed metal posts and a sturdy locked gate. Enquiries at the nearest town, Peal de Becerro, led us to an office of the local Police department situated at the town hall. They had a key that an officer gave to us. He explained that they would be on siesta when we returned so could we please put it through the drainpipe that feeds through the wall for just that purpose.
In Valencina de la Concepcion near Seville, we were the only visitors at the archaeological site. Our guide was arranged at a minute’s notice by a lady who ran the local museum, all free of charge.
In El Bosque, Cadiz province we stayed at a hostel. The restaurant menu included venison, wild boar and mountain goat. I was in food heaven. We had decided to stay an extra night so that we could properly sample each dish. When we settled the bill just before leaving the owner presented us with two full round goat’s cheeses, a speciality of the village to, as he explained, thank us for enjoying his food.
I have many more examples. When you penetrate areas where tourists are thin on the ground, you find hospitality that can, at times, be embarrassing.
Where is this going? Oh yes, my New Year’s Resolution – to get out and about more.
Julie and I would like to wish all our readers and clients a Very Happy New Year.
Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.
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