Morning has broken

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I’M in a land of strange noises and shapes. I can hear insects and see the dark outlines of hills through an open window. But there’s no John Humphrys or Radio 4 in the background and no familiar slamming of car doors from the street. In fact, there’s no street . . .

The sky begins to lighten at about 6.40am. By 7.10am, I am wandering down tracks that wind through groves of olives and almonds. I pause occasionally to watch the sun rise above the eastern flanks of the Sierra Nevada and flood this delightful place – the Alpujarra – with proper light.

Alpujarra is thought to stem from the Arabic al-bugsharra, which means sierra of pastures. I’ll go along with that. Sounds pretty accurate to me. There is a great deal of Moorish influence in this area. It is apparent in place names, art, architecture, agriculture and in the population and its culture.

IMG_0011 IMG_0020 IMG_0018 IMG_0017IMG_0024 IMG_0027 IMG_0029 IMG_0033I don’t walk far, perhaps two or three kilometres, to where I can see the Embalse de Rules reservoir, the A44 motorway, and, in the far distance, a smudge that is the sea. Apparently, you can see Africa on a good day. To the north stand the white walls of the spa town of Lanjaron.

IMG_0035IMG_0034And in the background, in the south, my old friend Sierra de Lujar, which I climbed one hot and dusty day about three years ago.

IMG_0037This is a land that I know but don’t know. A few familiar landmarks stand out in the overall unfamiliarity. Most of it is strange. And as I stand here on this dusty track, I feel a bit overwhelmed by the enormity of it all – the Alpujarra, then Andalucia, and then Spain itself. That’s a lot of strangeness and unfamiliarity to get used to.

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28 thoughts on “Morning has broken

  1. Hi Alen. How wonderful it looks & sounds. You are describing somewhere I have never been but have dreamt about since childhood (a very long time ago). My father used to bring home from work old copies of National Geographic magazine & every now & then a fold up map would be enclosed in its pages. I cannot now remember the detail but I used to pore over a map of Spain that one time tumbled onto the table so long ago. Keep it coming! Who knows you might just press the right button & set me off on a quest!

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    1. Hi Ash. Pressing buttons might be what it’s all about. Someone pressed mine about six years ago and I ended up here on holiday. Then we returned another four or five times (twice in one year).
      Cheers, Alen

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  2. Well, I suppose it’s all very nice living in paradise, but sooner or later you’re going to grow tired of the nectar and sunlight and long for a bit of drizzle on the M1 and another story about Chris Moyles vomitting on a stranger in the Garrick Club.

    When you do decide to come back to Britain for a couple of weeks, let me know and I’ll go over to Spain and keep an eye on the van for you.

    Chris

    ps I’m still green with envy, but I’m taking tablets for it now.

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    1. Ah, but all is not sweet and light here in the High Chaparral, Chris. Because of advanced technology, I am now obliged to watch Emmerdale and Coronation Street live on the internet. There is no escape. But I have drawn the line at Jeremy Kyle. Some things need to be left behind.
      Cheers, Alen
      PS Van-sitting sounds like a nice way to spend a couple of weeks. I might take you up on that.

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        1. We have also discovered that you can’t use BBC iPlayer (or the ITV equivalent) outside the UK, which is really irritating because we missed the final episode of The Syndicate. But we can watch anything, and on any channel, live on Filmon.com. We just have to keep nudging the mouse when the screensaver kicks in.

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          1. You need to use Get_iplayer. Once you’ve mastered the command line instruction (takes five minutes to learn) you’re away. (Ot at least I think you’re away. I’ve never used it outside the UK come to think of it.) If you can get the programme’s id number from the URL it might work.

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    1. It’s very nice, Carol. We do hear the odd car in the distance. And the neighbour has ten dogs, which cause a commotion when he feeds at them 7am every morning, but the sounds are different. The insects make the most noise.
      Cheers, Alen

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        1. A couple of hundred metres on the other side of the road. Once they’ve been fed they quieten down. We’re getting used to it. It’s like having an alarm clock.

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    1. Hi Jo. The lone tree standing next to a telegraph pole is a type of pine, though I couldn’t say which type. The rest are mostly olive and almond with a few figs thrown in. I’ll have to get to know my trees because they are the big income-providers in this area.
      Cheers, Alen

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        1. Yes. I have checked it out and there are large cones lying underneath. I’ve also read up on stone pines and they have been cultivated in Spain and Portugal for their pine nuts. So thanks for that.

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          1. Wow! Didn’t really imagine it would be! I have several cones from a stone pine that Dad planted in his garden. He was so proud of it. It blew over in a gale, shortly after he went into a care home.

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            1. That’s sad. Trees can be very personal things. We brought some conkers back from France in 1990 and they sprouted in the shed so we planted one and potted it. When we moved to North Yorkshire we planted it in the garden and it is now a mature chestnut tree. It was a wrench to leave it when we moved to Spain.

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  3. Re Iplayer for TV. Mask your IP address so the net thinks you are in the UK. Google streaming IP masking. The radio bit should work though so you can get the Today programme if you have a yen to.

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  4. Nice pics and story, Alen. The Guardian reports the PM’s spokeswoman saying he is prepared to consider making people pay into savings accounts to cover periods of illness or unemployment. I’m considering strapping myself to Eurostar, heading out.

    Keep exploring and writing, Alen. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

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