A completely different, but wonderful part of Spain

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September 27th 2010
Published: November 30th -0001
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(We are home now but this didn't stay posted for some reason so I am re-posting it, just to have it there.)

This is our third night in Hontanar and we did not make it back into Toledo. We may take the train there from Madrid for a day. We decided to just enjoy the area around here. We have taken amazing drives on mountain roads and have enjoyed being the only ones out there. When we saw something we wanted a photo of, I just stopped the car in the middle of the road and we got out and took the photo and no other cars would come by. We did a little bit of hiking but nothing like we did in the Alpujarras. We are both noticing that our clothes are tighter - the pants I threw in at the last minute just-in-case-I-needed-something-loose, are now tight…lots of eating and not enough exercise, but we are having a good time so, oh well!

We drove over the mountains and the views over the rangeland extended for miles. There are large areas of dry grasslands spotted with oak trees and then cultivated fields. Rock walls are everywhere bordering the roads and dividing the pastureland, but the fields consist of more rock than dirt. It is discouraging to see fields that have been recently plowed but all they have turned up are rocks - I am not certain what they will plant there, but clearly hope exists. Oak trees thrive here, mostly holm oak, but also cork oak and there are turpentine trees and lavender and mint…the hot fragrances that float in the car window as we drive along are wonderful. I keep thinking that I could live RIGHT HERE. The weather has been perfect - blue skies, high seventies/low eighties, no humidity and it is so peaceful. I think that today was my best day of the trip so far. While we have been travelling we have both been trying to identify what things make us deeply content. I am noticing that sunshine is always present when I catch myself thinking, “I am truly happy at this moment.” Not sure what that says for the upcoming 9 months of rain at home.

We stopped for lunch in Las Ventas con Pena Aguilera, a small town that was setting up for a large festival. I think the festival has something to do with hunting (and no doubt a Saint or the Virgin) as that is clearly a major part of the economy of the town. There are taxidermists and leather shops and we ate lunch seated below the mounted heads of 4 wild boar. Sam had venison and I had pork, of course they came with fries as the vegetable, and I have to admit, it was pretty tasty.

We have enjoyed the swimming pool here at El Refugio each afternoon. The water stays cold in spite of the warm days, but I have managed to swim laps until I stiffen up and then I go in for a very hot shower to thaw out. We have nice long evenings of reading and relaxing and enjoying the views of the sky. We appear to be under a main route for flights from Madrid to the Canary Islands and there are planes about every 10 minutes, but they are high enough that we do not hear anything, but at times there are numerous jet streams marking the sky. At night the stars are bright and the moon has been nearly full for us to enjoy as well.

Tomorrow we go on to Sotosalbos just outside of Segovia and we will enjoy several days in that area. Thanks for reading!

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27th September 2010

I am so happy you are having a wonderful and relaxing time. I agree with you that sunshine lifts the soul. Don't think about the rainy days ahead just enjoy the warm sun! Lots of love to you both, Auntie M

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