16 July 14
Posted at 3:41
Arrived in Grazalema 24 hours ago. A very nice town situated in the centre of the Sierra de Grazalema nature park.
Grazalema - this is a view I took last night on the way up a tricky path to a deserted ruin of a Hermitage overlooking the town. More or less in the centre of the photo is the main municipal building and police station (three arches).
And above is my view of that same building as I sampled the local breakfast this morning. A few things have struck me since arriving and spending time wandering the streets and sampling everything that is on offer here. What strikes straight away is how clean and orderly the town is. Although something of a tourist destinantion this time of year the tourists are relatively few and predominantly Spanish. The town has its industries, wool and leather goods, honey and a few factories. There is little evidence of Spain's infamous unemployment here but there again a complete absence of employess anywhere who are not Spanish (unlike many of our towns). Another thing is the total absence of global/American chains - not a Starbucks, McDonalds or KFC in sight - how refreshing!! There are though a wealth of traditional local foods and beverages on offer - and if you don't like that you had best go 50 or so miles East to Marbella et al where you can savour Little England, Holland and Germany serving their own favourites under in the Spanish sunshine. Personally I'd prefer to hang around here.
An old lady sweeping her step earlier today - everyone here seems to have a pride in their town.
There are plenty of pet dogs around but no evidence of them left behind on the spotless streets (again refreshing).
The town is a striking example of many white housed towns perched in the mountains in the region. They are known as Pueblos Blancos.
Grazalema is famed for a number of ancient festivals. This bronze depicts one the Fiesta Del Carmen Y Lunes Del Toro De Cuerda. Which I believe translates loosely as Bull Running Monday and is held on the third Monday in July - which happens to be in five days time. The town is preparing for it now with steel gates ready to mark off the routes for three bull runs that will be held throughout that day. I am thinking of coming back here to witness it - will have to see. Well I'm off for a siesta now before venturing up the mountains to Zahara de la Sierra where I hope to find a large colony of Griffon Vultures to get some snaps of.