Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Two Weeks in Niguelas Part III The Beginning

An account by an anxious Australian tourist of village life in Andalucia Spain


So here we were sitting in the living space of our cottage staring at each other. The cottage itself was charming. A low set white washed Spanish villa with a kitchen well stocked with cooking implements (one of our essential requirements) and two small but beautifully appointed bedrooms. The living area opened onto a small garden and a swimming pool. Luckily the view of the abandoned development site over the road was obscured by a mature fig tree. Around the pool was a passion fruit vine, another mature fig tree laden with early fruit and a series of wire clothes lines criss-crossing the yard and covered in a creeping vine covered in young grapes. Rosemary grew wild in a sunny corner, a rose bush in full bloom shared another corner with a lavender bush. Sounds idyllic but I was still unnerved. The two weeks ahead lay stretched out before me like a highway going nowhere.

I reassured myself that my anxiety was not unusual. Change of job, change of house, change of plans – change of underwear I can cope with though I have been known to procrastinate in this area. My natural inclination was to get stressed by change and uncertainty. I identified with the author of the book I was reading as travel company. He had decided to walk the Santiago pilgrims walk from Granada and at the age of 65 and as an inexperienced walker, after two days on the trail he was wondering what had possessed him to imagine that having arrived in Spain with little local language, a 25 kilogram backpack, a map and an idea everything would fall into place. His feet were blistered,his pack was unwieldy and he was lonely.


I was not lonely or blistered, just uncertain. My challenge was to transition from tourist to traveler. To shift from observer of the exotic to participant in the ordinary. Niguelas was ordinary. Ordinary Spanish rural people living ordinary daily lives. I knew that my task was to allow this experience to unfold. I would need to be patient and allow the village to reveal itself to me. The embrace needed to be mutual.

6 comments:

sheri said...

oh, steve, your post was awesome!! i'm finally beginning to understand what it is that you are seeking, thank you for clarifying that.
what a lovely place you're staying at...it's hard to imagine that you are unsettled there but i realize it isn't 'where' you are but rather 'who' you are, and who you are striving to become. i can't wait to hear more!

Katy Noelle said...

I've come over from quoteflections - I appreciated your comment on "beets" (ahem). I've been lost reading along for a good 20 minutes or so. I've enjoyed my time immensely!

Sincerely, Katy Noelle

Jennifer said...

Walking to the rhythms of the world around us - for some of us that's daunting. I expect because in doing so we're opening up to some kind of personal change. I expect your anxiety may be signalling something really positive.

Great post Steve. (Great series)

little hat said...

Steve said:
Sheri: I was unsure whether to keep posting these stories but since you and jennifer (and others I hope) are enjoying them I'll keep posting even though I'm back in Aussie as of today.
Kathy: thanks for dropping by. Glad you enjoyed your visit. come again.
Jennifer: Funny you should say that but I'm reading a book about the Santaigo Pilgrims Walk at the moment and today he talked about that spiritual change which works on us if we allow the time. I won't say this has been a deep spiritual journey but I like to think each of these experiences changes me in some way. I get anxious about the anxieties but always look back and wonder at the Why? But also at the process of change. Writing helps.

little hat said...

Steve said:
Sheri: I was unsure whether to keep posting these stories but since you and jennifer (and others I hope) are enjoying them I'll keep posting even though I'm back in Aussie as of today.
Kathy: thanks for dropping by. Glad you enjoyed your visit. come again.
Jennifer: Funny you should say that but I'm reading a book about the Santaigo Pilgrims Walk at the moment and today he talked about that spiritual change which works on us if we allow the time. I won't say this has been a deep spiritual journey but I like to think each of these experiences changes me in some way. I get anxious about the anxieties but always look back and wonder at the Why? But also at the process of change. Writing helps.

Jennifer said...

Really, we all did enjoy them, but never mind - writing down the stories is a priceless personal document. You'll never regret it!